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4 stars Even though this is more commercial than most Vangelis albums, I liked this right from the first listen in '95 and still do. There are three songs with lyrics (two of them so ethereal that the voices of Stina N. and Caroline L. are more like instruments; Paul Young is the one from Mike + the Mechanics) and in the first two tracks appears a male choir. And some additional voices here and there in the background. Yes, it's very romantic, tender and melodic album, but extremely enjoyable. Maybe the word commercial only raises your prejudices, so let's just say it's easy to enjoy (whether a fan of Vangelis or not). And nothing wrong with that as long as the music is good enough not to get worn-out with few listenings. A safe choice in order to get laid, too! Its follower Oceanic is more cheerful, sunny album with quite similar overall style to this one. There COULD be more of the power of the opening track, I mean perhaps a bit too soft and edgeless work, but I personally enjoy it for 4 stars anyway. Less favourable reviews are likely to follow...
Report this review (#34916)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I hate to be predictable but here is one of those less favourable reviews! Vangelis can churn this sort of stuff out in his sleep.Starts strongly and has all the trademark Vangelis touches..and therin lies the problem.It's is all too familiar even with the additions of some nice vocals.Admittedly there is nothing here to turn you off but then neither is there anything to get excited about.OK middling Vangelis album.
Report this review (#34917)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Vangelis has allways been an authentic artist who never used wonr out formules in his works. I consider him one of the most prolific and marvellous composers of the last 40 years. His music has no stile and knows no bundaries; this is the reason why he appears in this page and shall appear anywhere that serious music is been considered. Been always personal and intimate in his compositions, he canīt be compared with others and his music must be analysed under its own light. I insist on this point because itīs the thirst thing of this true artist one must understand before speaking of him. Few artists crosses this invisible frontier wich converts them into an authentic vehicule of expression without a trace of self indulgence and egocentric intentions; and those who live in this small, yet vast sphere, have their own personal paths. Vangelis, beign one of them, has his own way. His music crosses frontiers, languages, ideas, thoughts, history, science, and goes beyond music itself. Voices, a 1995 original work consists in a series of very intimate songs, giving vocals and lyrics a special place in them, convined with beautiful instrumental solo parts. The first songīs theme is based on a melody of male choir, a very simple but powerful melody wich is repeated through the song with more energy each time, accompained and imitated with synth instruments and drums. The result is a very intense, energic and powerful song, wich sounds like a hymn that gathers all mankind, beyond colour, language and religion, with a message of hope and joy that is reprised in the song called "Messages". The rest of the disc is full of beautiful harmonies and simple melodies that go straight to the heart. I think this disc cannot be ignored, regardeless the "music style" you prefeer to listen to, or the ideas about music that you have. Buy it, listen to it, let it speak to you; feel something different, something new.
Report this review (#34919)
Posted Saturday, May 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Aw, in my opinion this album is really the most poorest of this musician's 90's records which I have yet heard. These songs have been crafted in a very commercial way, but which yet troubles me even more is the too sweet and sissy approach of melodies and themes in the music, making up a listening experience which is very easy (and obligatory) to be forgotten. Only thing what's interesting in this album, is the presence of many singers, a phenomena referred in the album title. If you like modern airy-fairy angelic synthesizer music or you are a die-hard fan of VANGELIS, you may want to check this record out, I personally sold this album away after giving it some dissapointed listenings.
Report this review (#47681)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This has a truly distinct sound and cannot be dismissed as mere Vangelis " New Age Filler" It builds on thematic structures most often punctuated by Voice hence the conceptual topic.Voice can distinguish between retoric and failure and Vangelis knows this building audio sculptures from the " siren" like calls of his voicelike angels to beautiful climaxes as the voices remind us of repetition ebbing in and out, back and forth. Nostalgic reminders of subliminal wonders. Vangelis is seducing with Voices and succeeds very well in his missive. The opener is almost majestic in its choral stamp of prescence, demanding an audience but supportive in nature, nurturing as ever.The vocal tracks always come off best and " ask the mountains' and " come to me" endorse the point of communication and security, almost protective by nature." Losing Sleep" is also equally as beautiful and I can't help wondering why this album has not conjured up more opinions from fellow progressive enthusiasts. A rare treat and thoroughly solid. Three and a half stars.
Report this review (#83788)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second original release of the decade, and the third winner in a row (the other two being 1492 and Blade Runner).

I have dubbed the opening and title piece 'Chariots of Fire, Part Two.' It's not the same music, but it conveys the same tone of power and overcoming obstacles. It is a powerful piece that starts with a long buildup, which morphs into a heavy rhythm backing a male chorus. About 2/3 of the way through there is a really cool drum break. After reaching a climax, Voices blends into Echoes, which is a variation of the same melody only done more spacey. The pulsing rhythm is augmented by synth embellishments. The third track, Come to Me shows another side of the title for this album ? it is a song. Slow, dense and dreamy. P.S. is a reprise of the original theme. Ask the Mountain is another song, here more minimalist than dreamy, a space all its own. Prelude serves as an instrumental lead-in to Losing Sleep (Still, My Heart), the best song here. Again, dreamy and lush, but with a slow power inexhorable as a rising tide. This segues to the climax of the album, Messages, which was meant to convey extraterrestrial voices over the radio but reminds me of hiking in the Alps due to the rhythm, which is not unlike Everest from China. The main melody is presented as a grand humm and vocalizing that reaches its own climax. The bubbly voices, which serve as the background for this piece, continue on and fade out. All the voices on this piece sound synthesized to me. From this emanates Dream in An Open Place, one of Vangelis' most haunting closing pieces. Almost cloying, it tugs on the heartstrings and creates a sense of cosmic longing. Throughout, a strong sense of melody and rhythm pleases the ears. The music is sophisticated, mature, and inspired.

This album was his first of original music in three years and it is clear that he had once again been developing new techniques of composing, orchestrating and performing. The choir has become a mainstay and that is a good thing. The vocal songs may turn off purists, but that's their loss. Voices is more eclectic than most Vangelis releases, but the man is a master of many styles. From the rousing to the dreamy, this album delivers in every way.

Report this review (#294742)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Reprising ideas from "Conquest of Paradise" (1492) and "Chariots Of Fire", this album's title track is paying a tribute to both. This is the "final" sound of Vangelis. After the jazzy period immediately following the end of Aphrodite's Child, the clearly progressive electronic period of the late 70s and after being survived to the 80s, Vangelis quits with the experimentalisms. That's why now his ethereal music, often based on major chords, is perceived as newage. The classical influences in the orchestral arrangements and the lyrical choirs can look pretentious, but they are the consequence of years spent experimenting sounds and sequencers.

After the pompous beginning "Echoes" opens much relaxed. The main theme is reprised but it's a complete different interpretation. The same melody of the first track is now spacey or "liquid". It's played by a subtle keyboard, the choir sings low and something totally different. Just a bit less melodic and it could been exchanged for a Tangerine Dream's work. Effectively also they moved to realm closer to the newage in the 90s. This track too reminds to the two albums mentioned before, but from a different angle.

"Come To Me" is the first real highlight. The "Flute and Harp" create a mix of Celtic and Far Eastern mood. "China" and "Ireland" plus the amazing voice of Caroline Lavelle. In this song she's between Annie Haslam and Maire Brennan. It was since So Long Ago So Clear that a song like this was missing from Vangelis' solo discography. A 5-stars song.

"P.S." is a short filler which reprises the main theme after a short excursion into the medieval mood of early Clannad. Then it comes another great track: "Ask The Mountains" with the dreaming voice of Stina Nordenstam is a travel into ice and cold, and really better than Antarctica. I had similar sensations from Kate Havnevik (give her "Melankton" a try). It's a great song.

Calling "Prelude" the sixth track is quite strange. It starts with a minor chord and a singer that reminds to what Demis did on Blade Runner, only with a lower pitch. Then the piano plays a melody with echoes of Greece. Who considers Vangelis a newage artist could mention this track as example. Listening to it I can imagine Greek islands in the Mediterranean sea.

"Losing Sleep" comes from the 80s. It's probably the voice of Paul Young or the fretless (electronic) bass. There are self-references to the title track but played here and there behind a minor chords melody. It makes me think to "This is Not America" (Metheny/Bowie), a 80s hit, but the tempo is slower and some passages are too typical of Vangelis.

"Messages" opens ethnic. Seashore, birds and percussions. The melody is similar to the main theme of Antarctica but the total effect is similar to Mike Oldfield's "Song Of Distant Earth". Aborigens on an outer planet. Very melodic and spacey at the same time. It goes in crescendo until the final fade-out and the return of the seashore.

"Dream In An Open Place" gives what the title promises. Put your headphones on and let your mind travel in the space-time.

A great album. I don't like the title track and it's follow-up too much, but they are not really bad. Some excellent songs and the peaceful mood that permeates the whole album make it one of the best releases of this period.

If you need relax and appreciate melodic music this is for you, otherwise stay away. This would mean 3 stars as it not for "any" collection, but it's good music and also metal fans need relax sometimes, so I give it 4.

Report this review (#373027)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A refreshing favorite of mine from the somewhat bleak (in terms of progressive rock music) 1990s. Some of the songs here are rather overtly simple, ranging between shoegaze pop and New Age, but the result is a an eminently pleasing half Blade Runner-ish, half Chariots of Fire listening experience, start to finish, with uniquely crafted and flowing songs. From the surprising militaristic-turning-monastic chant Chariots of Fire-like opener to the X-Files-like "Echoes" (8:26) (17.5/20), the Caroline Lavelle-graced Irish love song, "Come to Me" (4:34) (9.5/10), the Stina Nordenstam-blessed "Ask The Mountains" (4:27) (10/10), and the gorgeous instrumental piano melody line of "Prelude" (4:25) (9.5/10), and the evocative ALAN PARSONS PROJECT-like "Losing Sleep (Still My Heart)" 6:43) (8.75/10) (despite a rather lackluster vocal performance by Paul Young), the ENYA-like "Messages" (7:41) (12/15), and the very-Blade Runner-esque bed-time finale, "Dream in an Open Place" (5:53) (9/10).

This album managed to provide me with two songs that have forever remained on regular rotation in "Prelude" and "Ask The Moutnains" but every song on the album is close behind those two. Hauntingly beautiful!

Report this review (#1909602)
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2018 | Review Permalink

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