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Vangelis - Vangelis & Irene Papas: Odes CD (album) cover




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3.63 | 53 ratings

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4 stars This is really an Irene Papas album. I mean, her name is on the cover and the binding. So why do I consider it one by Vangelis? For that matter, why does the Progressive Archives consider it Vangelis'? Because he produced it, arranged it, and performed all the instruments on it. There are also a couple of instrumentals on it which he composed. Irene Papas sings. I had only known her as an actress before buying this CD, but she has a wonderful voice ? deep and throaty.

The CD opens grandly with Les 40 Braves, a theme song if I ever heard one, but I don't know if it ever was used as such. It is both a march and a chant. Think of it as a precursor to Chariots of Fire. Soft resonant tones as only Vangelis can create them introduce the next piece, Neranzoula. Irene Papas comes in, and the mood stays serene, a nice contrast to the power of the previous track. A gorgeous piece. After this comes La Danse Du Feu, the first of two instrumentals on the album. This one begins in a manner reminiscent of the more jazzy tracks from Albedo 0.39, and then moves to some of the mideasternish territory he covered in even earlier albums. Ms. Papas then provides a balance by an a cappella piece. Her voice is wonderful here, full of soul and emotion. The Vangelis soft touch returns for Le Flueve, glittering with sparkling electronics. Racines is the second instrumental and longest track, clocking in at close to nine minutes. This may perhaps be the slowest piece on the whole album. A sequence of sharp tones beats out a slow rhythm, while panpipes and oud (both really keyboards) alternate leads. The mood is that of an expectant hush, that we are moving towards something. Our travels here, of course, are through the nighted desert, our way lit only by the myriad stars above. I don't know where I'm going on this trip, but I'm definitely on the trek. Lamento follows right along, as dour as you would expect. Menousis comes in as light as Lamento was dark. It is the catchiest and brightest track on the whole album. This is not to say it is a fast track. In fact, the tempo is really no faster than any of the others. It has a folksy quality to it.

Overall, this is a slow and melodic album filled with soft textures, which ironically are stark at times. It is also filled with beautiful music all the way through. The Vangelis purist who exclusively likes instrumentals will probably not be interested in this one. Their loss. I am very glad I happened upon it.

Progosopher | 4/5 |


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