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DIRECT

Vangelis

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richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well here it is ..Vangelis greatest album.After splitting from Polydor and moving away from London Vangelis set up a new studio in Greece and planned to release a series of albums that would become a project in sonic and musical exploration.Alas this was the only one to get recorded.But what a mighty effort it is.The opening track 'Motion Of Stars' is classic Vangelis and reminds me of his best seventies work on Spiral before moving into 'Will Of The Wind'.The synths sound great! The second best track on the album 'Metallic Rain' then follows allowing the great man to show off his percussion talents.This is just awesome bombastic stuff.The man means business! We then get an inventive little peice 'Elsewhere' before moving into 'Dial Out'.This starts deceptively but then gathers apace and builds nicely before giving way to yet another magnificent grandiose theme.The man is on fire!! 'Glorianna' gives us some good operatic vocals..not my favourite track on the album but OK all the same.'Rotations Logic' is a bit of a change with its vaguely oriental theme and syncopated drumming.The bass is especially nice.'The Oracle Of Appollo' is one of those lovely little ditties that Vangelis comes up with on a regular basis.You get a nice electronic representation of a harp.'Message' starts with an ominous beat and a childs voice and builds up superbly to a stirring climax .Another high point of this superb album.'Ave' is another heavily percussive sounding track which features more nifty bass work..but played on a keyboard.'First Approach' is a delicate peice with a 'violin' and some beautifull flute like sounds.Lovely.But the best is saved for last.'Intergalactic Radio Station' is a stomping attitude filled track with Vangelis pretending to be a DJ ''I've seen things so many things that you can't believe.Past designs,future designs ...second hand sounds,future sounds,synthesised dialogues.Incomprehesensible softwares, hey John lets break some rules.Polyester landscapes,niolin oxygen....Oh by the way its been a beautifull morning,great morning man!!'' Echoes of Blade Runner.Great album.Vangelis one true masterpiece.
Report this review (#34892)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Well, this is really amusing.... my fellow reviewer gives "Invisible Connections" one star (my rating is four stars), and he gives this album five stars, calling it Vangelis' greatest. I'm really not able to go into detail explaining why I don't like this album, because I sold it years ago. I listened to it several times, and kept it for years after it was released, thinking that at some point I would finally appreciate it. It always seemed "uncomposed", like Vangelis thought that just trotting out one loud flourish after another would satisfy his eager fans (he was prolific in those days, and many critics accused him of releasing quickie throwaway albums in between good ones). By this time, I was getting tired of his synth sounds, too. And there just weren't any original-sounding melodies. This was the beginning of the end for me. After the dreadful "The City" and the overly-familiar themes of "1492", I became wary and listened to every new album in the record store. And I haven't bought any of them.
Report this review (#34893)
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Compared to the "Mask" album, the echoed atmospheres and some crystal clean percussive keyboards notes are still present, but the tracks are shorter, more accessible, with some programmed drums. Couples of tracks may sound like some Tangerine Dream circa "Le Parc" and "Underwater sunlight", especially "The will of the wind" and "Metallic rain", which have the identical Froese's electric guitar sound, and "Ave", having similar beat and keyboards rhythms. ALL the tracks have unforgettable melodies and beautiful celestial & dreamy arrangements. So, it makes a truly accessible pop New Age album. "Glorianna" has some moving opera-like female vocals and intense floating symphonic moods. "The Oracle of Appollo" is my favorite one: harp-like sounds through floating streams of keyboards: it seems to come down right from Heaven!! Celestial!! This album is ideal for a person who wants to know Vangelis.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#40957)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is my first aquaintance with this artist: Vangelis. First I must say that I sort of liked what I heard. Pleasent melodies and sounds. Nothing that would bother me. I kinda was looking forward to listen to this record. I have heard about Vangelis and seen that he is very productive and liked too, I guess. Me, my self, I am a bit older generation of progressive listeners who grew up with Genesis (when it was a prog band) and Yes and Moody Blues and Jethro Tull and Rare Bird and Strawbs... I felt it was a high time for me to listen to Vangelis!

As I said, the music was OK. But after a short time of listening a question raised: is this really progressive rock? I did listen the whole record before I gave me an answer: no. This most definetly is not progressive rock! The subgenre where Vangelis is placed is Progressive Electronic. Allright, I already feel more comfortable. This music don't have nothing to do with the good old progressive I used to listen. Then I compare this to Tangerine Dream and Kraftverk etc. And I ask: is this progressive? And, once again, I must answer: no. Well what is this then? I'll tell you. This is more sophisticated elevator muzic.

I should give this 3 stars but then it should read: Good, but non-progrelated. So I give 2 stars.

Report this review (#62190)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is by far Vangelis at his most controversial. Where clealry this genius was at work based on ammassing various layers of keyboards at maximised improvisation levels to reach enormous effects, sadly this either won over multitudes or did the opposite, pushed many of them away. So therefore we have luke warm reviews when actually the music itself is very good! ' The Motion Of Stars', ' Dial Out' and ' Intergalactic Radio Station' are just three examples as to how good Direct really is. I recommend you push all reviews aside and go out and buy Direct, clearly his strongest effort in the 80's.
Report this review (#108924)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars well.talking about a genius in all the music...is rare and dificult cover all the aspects of this great musician...but this album in thee. is a masterpiece of this genre...the system is allways the same,and when one band break that system..they start in a diferent way of creation and imagination..this albums contains that.(.imagination,fantasy,epic music...and a relation bewteen emotion and a dark feeling with a search of knowledge )...believe or not listening to this album your be involve in a mysterious way of a kind of feeling that makes you realized that what you are listen is in thee a perfect choice of your soul..the tranquility,the sense of nature and a kind of that in thee you are alive with your ears off...all of that is what makes this album great...the serenity of the songs,and a creation very very dinamic for the ear...the question of the mind behind this album...the will of the wind.the questions and confusions ,the proyect of the enemies that maybe will be loved or not..the dinamic of the society ...and the freedom of the humans..the musics of Vangelis on this album involves you in that aspect..the question...a masterpiece of a good listener...4.4 stars at the moment....almost a masterpiece..

keep on the good work..

Report this review (#127133)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In my earlier days of being a dedicated listener of VANGELIS (that was in the early 90's), this one was a key album for me, still bringing memories of the time of my first love whose favourite artists included Vangelis. If I listened to it now for the first time, it probably wouldn't make as deep impression, because he's done so much better albums since. This is, as the title says, very direct music. Direct in the sense that the beat can be upfront and that he's not ashamed of being very romantic on the more sensual tracks. Direct is hi-tech (at times almost mechanically calculated) and relatively tight instrumental electronic pop music, and also quite plainly from the eighties. But as such, it is IMHO the best Vangelis album of the eighties at least if some strong film soundtracks are not counted. Better than the more 'artistic' Mask, and definitely dozen times better than the collaboration albums with Jon Anderson. There is a lot of sweetness here too, but it's not too dominant. There is also a prog sensibility present.

It's hard to pick up the best tracks because there aren't very weak ones at all among the 12 tracks. But it's easier for me to pick up the ones with the stongest personal memories: first the most romantic ones, 'Elsewhere' and 'Glorianna' (the latter with beautiful wordless female vocals), then the sharp and dramatic ones 'Motion of Stars' and 'Metallic Rain', and finally the long closing track 'Intergalactic Radio Station' with the nearly-fanatic male voice at the end. "...Oh, by the way, it's been a great morning... It's a great morning now..."

Report this review (#139460)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Direct metallic!

Among all of his many film soundtracks and New-Age albums, Direct stands out in Vangelis' vast discography. As implied by its title, this is indeed one of the most direct albums he has ever done (and by "direct" here, I do not mean simple or commercial). While still being largely electronic, and still occasionally of a somewhat relaxing nature, this album is more up tempo, melodic and some moments are almost even rocking! For me this makes one of Vangelis' best ever efforts, and definitely his best since Spiral from 1977.

As on most of his albums Vangelis plays most (all?) the instruments himself, but it is not clear which instruments are involved exactly. The drums are clearly not "real", but this time around they seem to at least mimic real drums and they are thus not far away from the drum sound many Rock bands adopted during the 80's. On some tracks, like Metallic Rain for example, there is something that could be an electric guitar, but it might be a synthesizer-generated electric guitar. Regardless, it creates a Rock feel rarely present in Vangelis' music. Several passages are very symphonic and the female choirs as well as the harp sound like the genuine article as opposed to the synthesizer-generated equivalent.

Prog Rock fans who are not normally into New-Age or electronic music (myself included) might like Direct more than most albums by this Greek musical individualist.

Recommended!

Report this review (#257281)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A return to form after the minimalism of Invisible Connections, Direct has one of the worst covers I've ever seen, but the music inside is good. The electronics are still prominent, but the mood is clearly more rocking.

The Motion of Stars starts the album with a techno pattern, which is almost immediately ripped by a burst of staccato sound. The music kicks up a notch and stays with that general pattern. Will of the Wind follows with its heavy beat. Metallic Rain is dynamic, and is as close to heavy metal as Vangelis ever gets. This one definitely rocks. The remainder of the album goes through a number of moods in similar patterns, except that there are a few pieces that are lighter, particularly The Oracle of Apollo and First Approach. The sci-fi theme is strong here with tacks title along the lines of Intergalactic Radio Station and Rotation's Logic. The former features a solid heavy beat, a basic melody that leads up to an extended climax, and a voice over. This piece also ends the album on an upbeat note ? it is a galactic sunrise; a new day in the cosmos dawns as the music fades out, leaving a bright absence in its wake. Glorianna (Hymn A La Femme) features an operatic soprano, synthesized of course.

It had been three years between albums, and I myself was starting to worry about his lack of output. I needed my fix, and I needed it soon. Vangelis had not been idle during this time, however. He had been developing techniques to perform as much music virtually live as he could with a minimum of overdubs. Massive amounts of programming and sequencing seems to be the method. The result was this album, Direct, as in direct performance and recording. I doubt if any amplification was used. The whole thing sounds internal. Lush orchestrations have been abandoned for the sake of this more raucous electronica. Vangelis is letting his hair down and kickin' it. An unusual mood for the old boy but when the listener is in the right mood it works really well. Not one for your late night meditations. Play this one in the bright daylight. One feature definitely dates the album ? inclusion of a couple of bonus tracks not available on the vinyl version.

Report this review (#293701)
Posted Saturday, August 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This Vangelis album is not so different in essence when compared to some of his earlier releases. Although he wanted to make a break with his prior soundtrack schemes; he only prolonged the mood as far as I am concerned.

Same sort of bombastic feeling while listening to each of the tracks, but most of the time it sounds even more than bombastic: pompous and pretentious would be more adequate to define the music that is played on this "Direct" album.

There are no flaws recorded on this album; but it is just a succession of average tracks with little grandeur. Some songs are pleasant and on the ambient side ("First Approach") but the whole affair is not quite sexy, I am afraid.

The closing and repetitive "Intergalactic Radio Station" is the best example to confirm this theory. This album is not a great one. Just average to tell the truth. I upgrade it to three stars. By an inch?

Report this review (#306823)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars The 80s are finally close to finish. They were started with the worst techno-pop work for Vangelis, the very poor "See You Later". And effectively eight years later we have another high level work. There have been two "artsy" acts in the meantime. The barely listenable "Invisible Connection" and the unusual "Rapsodies", but now Vangelis is back.

I find the orchestral accents a bit excessive, sometimes disturbing, specially when the track title speaks of "The Motion Of Stars". Vangelis has composed excellent space rock in the past, but unfortunaltely this track is more similar to the first movement of "The Mask" than to Albedo 0.39.

"The Will Of The Wind" is great, instead. The pan flute (electronic as usual) reminds to the times of China, the rhythm is captivating and the melody is nice. The sound is unfortunately dated in the 80s. The opening track of Pete Bardens' "Seen One Earth" is very similar.

"Metallic Rain" is spacey and melodic. There are no experimentalisms in this album. Also this track is easy and captivating. I don't see anything wrong in being easy when the result is so good. The drumming that opens the rocky interlude of the track is not artsy or experimental, just good.

"Elsewhere" is the usual Vangelis. No influences from the 80s, this track may come from L'Apocalypse Des Animaux, only there are some spacey sounds behind the melody, Relax and enjoy.

The bass notes at the base of "Dial Out" are floydian. The melody is folky Greek first, celtic later during the orchestral interlude. Unfortunately it turns to electropop in the second half, but not too bad. We are still in the 80s.

A seashore for a soprano duo (keyboards?). "Glorianna" is orchestral and operistic. It has the usual orchestral accents that I dislike, but it can evocate the deep space or a starry night. This is a track that requires the right moment.

"Rotation's Logic" makes me think again to Pete Bardens and his "Seen One Earth". It's an easy track made of three chords. Radio friendly but very nice.

"The Oracle Of Apollo" with that sound of harp is one of the best moments of the album. Somewhere between Delphi and Dublin with a touch of classical.

"Message" contains elements useable to make a synthesis of Vangelis' music. The melody with classical influences, the voice at the beginning, the tempo very similar to "Alpha" (a track on Albedo 0.39), the maestosity of the orchestral final as in Chariots of Fire...

Deep in the 80s with "Ave". Does anybody know Rick Wright's Zee? That's the sound.

Another slow and quiet interlude: "First Approach" that leads to the closer. "Intergalactic Radio Station" is far from the space rock that the title let's suppose, but it's again in the spatial vein of the mentioned Pete Bardens' contemporary work. 3 solid stars. It would probably deserve the fourth, but "essential" for Vangelis means something more than this good album.

Report this review (#368774)
Posted Friday, December 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars The year 1988 rolls around and Vangelis had explored several styles during the decade, but really only released 4 major albums since 1983. I suppose that's not too bad, but the ground that he covered in those albums is quite impressive. In "Soil Festivities" he explored improvisation while remaining fairly close to his basic style, in "Mask" he utilized tribal rhythms, percussion, choir and pretty much started moving away from his style, in "Invisible Connections" he explored minimal music and impressionistic style and he also released an album with a vocal soloist (which, unfortunately, I have not heard yet).

"Direct" would be his last album in the 80's. At the time of it's release, the new age movement was getting a lot of attention, and Vangelis could have been in danger of falling into that movement. Though, he does dabble with the sound a few times in this album ("The Will of the Wind", "Metallic Rain"), he pretty much keeps himself from becoming one of its victims. This time around, he moves back to his older style, with melodic and beautiful pieces that also contain a lot of variety from one track to the next. There are some nice hints of electronic progressive sound in this album and some surprises that you almost wouldn't expect from him.

The Motion of Stars - Sparkling synth layers set this one off with another layer acting as a melody with sustained notes. Then we get a flashing sound running around across the speakers and it's almost like traveling through space. The melody gets more enhanced and brighter later on as the sparkling star sound plays on. The sound is crisp and clean. The movement soon stops and the mood becomes more sustained for a while before the synth loops start up again.

The Will of the Wind - This one has a bit of a Native American feel to it, probably from the flutes. It is also more melodic and accessible, but unfortunately, verges on becoming a bit too new age-y sounding. Not as intriguing or original as the first track.

Metallic Rain - This sort of follows easily in the previous track's style, but without the rhythm. It is more understated, but still continues with that new age style. Halfway through, a heavier sound and strong drum beat kicks in for the middle section, but it soon returns to the original style and then moves back and forth between styles.

Elsewhere ? This one is more along the lines of classic Vangelis style, a simple and lovely melody against a quieter background. Less of the new age feel and more like the Vangelis we love to hear with beautiful effects and trading off the melodic part of the track with different synth tones and colors.

Dial Out - This one does not appear on the vinyl version probably for space reasons. It has a steady beat and a nice melodic line that has a more Berlin School feel to it. The piano parts are nice as it moves to a symphonic style later on and then it continues to move back and forth between styles with some variation in the instrumentation effects.

Glorianna (Hymn à la Femme) - Wind effects bring in an operatic female vocalists. The synths are used to dramatize the vocals and rolling drums and crashing cymbals make it even more dramatic. The melody is wordless as the voices carry the melody which is quite lifting and lovely. It's nice to hear Vangelis borrow more from the classical style than trying to follow the new age style that was so prevalent at the time.

Rotation's Logic - This is a pop-electronica song and was probably considered as a single, I would imagine. It's a nice track, but follows a repetitive melodic riff with a catchy beat and tempting bass pattern.

The Oracle of Apollo - The harp is the main instrument in this lovely piece with synth bass and strings supporting it. Very nice and simple.

Message - This one is in a different track sequence on the vinyl version as it appears as the last track. A fast pitched voice speaks in indecipherable language as synth strings and a thumping drum builds a calm intensity. The track than takes on a symphonic feel as an organ appears with the strings which are in turn surrounded by nice arpeggio effects. This is a very cinematic track with a constant build throughout.

Ave - The rhythm is a bit more progressive and the style is more rock-oriented. There is an echo of 80's style keyboards in the supporting synth, but the synth-bass and the choir give it a nice tribal-lite feel. If the beat wasn't so heavy, it could almost pass off as a new-age track, but it isn't quite so obvious and still passes as a pretty good track, just a bit too commercial sounding though.

First Approach - A slowly sparkling synth line is established and eventually brings in a synthesized cello and, later on, flute. There is a synth-choir added too giving it a nice, celestial feel. Beautiful piece.

Intergalactic Radio Station - Again, this one is also missing from the vinyl version because of space issues. This also has the Berlin school/progressive rock style to it with a constant heavy beat and various synth layers playing key changes, background and melody, almost with a Kraftwerk feel to it. Later on, it becomes heavier as it takes on a thumping rock style before the harp takes over again and then a synth guitar comes in and the music becomes a slow- blues swing style with synth-brass which is a nice surprise. A spoken word vocal comes in at the last minute as the music plays to carry it to the end.

Overall, this is a very entertaining and interesting set of tracks from the master. He returns to his form on this one and that made many fans happy. But he does it without moving backwards. Instead he incorporates his style in mostly relevant sounding music that should appeal to many. Vangelis had a desire to create a series of direct to disc music and this was to be the first album of that series. In this series, Vangelis was to use his technique of shortening the distance between inspiration and realization by composing, arranging and recording simultaneously without any computer pre-programming. I don't know if this series of albums was ever realized, but Vangelis pretty much considered that his usual style anyway. Either way, this album still functions well on it's own and is a testament to Vangelis' versatility. If you can ignore the similarity of the two above mentioned songs that teeter on the edge of being new age music, this should stand up there with some of his best especially showing his versatility.

Report this review (#2602030)
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | Review Permalink

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