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ANTARCTICA

Vangelis

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rhaydon@ntlwo
3 stars Definetly one of Vangelis most beautifull albums.The synths are as lush as ever and the melodiies are full of richness.You get the atmospehere of Antartica perfectly.Every single peice of music here is a gem.As a synth album it would rate 5 stars but in truth it will get labelled 'New Age' although it is a fantastic instrumental work that should be admired.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34967)
Posted Sunday, May 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Certainly one of his best later albums, not unlike "Chariots of Fire" sonically. Go ahead and lump him in with other New Age artists if you must. Personally, I think that stuff like this gives New Age music some credibility.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#34968)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the hit "Titles" on "Chariots of fire", Vangelis proceeded in a similar way to produce another great radio friendly hit: "Theme from Antarctica": very floating, symphonic, ethereal, majestic & emotional, the sound is absolutely crystal clean. The VERY sophisticated & refined overall sound is a bit like the "Soil Festivities" and "Blade Runner" albums. Along with the "Blade Runner" album, it is the beginning of his best created atmospheric soundscapes: the deeply floating, echoed & sustained keyboards sounds occur, like on the "Mask" album. The weak point is the repetitive parts in the compositions: despite the involved tracks do not use the same keyboards sounds, one may consider some of them as catchy variations on a same theme, i.e. variations on the first track "Theme from Antarctica". I find that the album has a rather dynamic & cold atmosphere, absolutely not as warm as "Mask". Nevertheless, it is an excellent album from Vangelis.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#40959)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Definitely a step up from the previous Chariots Of Fire. This soundtrack has all the cold, lonesome, vast qualities of a massive ice shelf drifting aimlessley around the South Pole.Musically much stronger and the themes blend well in depicting the solitude of the Antarctica. Highlights would have to be ' Anarctica Echoes', ' Song Of White' and the sombre ' Other Side of Antarctica'. A good piece of work from that genius composer Vangelis.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#108923)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
2 stars The music on this soundtrack is very well produced, and musically it can be compared to the Oscar-winning Chariots Of Fire soundtrack, which is a good album. But still, I must say I wasn't very impressed when I listened this album completely, knowing three - probably best - tracks in advance. I'll round my 2 stars down even if it's clearly better than 'collectors/fans only'.

So what's wrong? Is it perhaps as the review on allmusic.com says, that the music fails to capture the iciness of Antarctica? No, actually I disagree on that. The music is atmospheric all right. I haven't seen the Japanese film, but I can imagine Vangelis' music works pretty well on it. Instead, it's the usual fault of the film music: as the main theme, wonderfully introduced in the bright opening track 'Theme From Antarctica', is being repeated in various ways throughout the album, the listener gets frustrated and bored before the end. The second track 'Antarctica Echoes' is however another highlight even if it's just a meditative, slowed down version of the opener.

The rest of the album has a couple of fine tracks that easily fill up the quality standards of Vangelis though not anyhow spectacular, but as a whole, to me this album per se is a bit boring. It's miles from the greatness of Blade Runner or 1492 - The Conquest of Paradise, both of which are among my all-time favourites of soundtrack albums. But their secret lies in the way they were further worked out to function perfectly as individual albums. And this is true about Chariots Of Fire also: if you watch these films and listen to the music on them, those brief music passages have quite a little to do with the album. Now if Vangelis had had the same goal with Antarctica, he could have ended up with another strong soundtrack album.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#182568)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't see the film... But I 'see' its 'O.S.T.'!

I have the perception that this O.S.T. be a great album also if independent respect to the film. Furthermore Vangelis don't do anything to look like a great composer but manages to convey very well the atmosphere of the film in music. I have also received the atmospheres depsite I don't see the film!

It is true that I have a limit if I seek to judge this O.S.T., but I think that this O.S.T. not present Prog music but a sort of Symphonic New Age in Prog field! And sure I have the perception that this O.S.T. be an immortal O.S.T.!

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#223677)
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is much better, a true return to form. Lush and melodic, the bright tones and dramatics reflect the cold, hard Antarctic environment. And yes, it is another soundtrack, this time for a Japanese documentary on an Antarctic expedition, which was apparently one of the most popular films in Japanese history. I must watch it sometime if I can find it. The opening Theme From Antarctica is a Vangelis classic, reminiscent of Chung Kuo from China. Antarctic Echoes is the piece, however, that sets the mood for the rest of the album. Kinematic is the weakest track here, but is a hard driving albeit repetitive piece. Song of White has two sections, the first of which features a synthesized flute-like sound that is one of the most moving pieces of music Vangelis has ever done. Even after listening to it for 20 years, it still captures me and sends me off to another dimension, much like certain sections of Heaven and Hell do. This short section, too short in my opinion, segues into a reprise of the theme melody. On special mixes in the past I used to combine this with the actual title piece to render a ten-minute edit. Can't do that anymore with my CD burning software. The next three pieces, Life of Antarctica, Memory of Antarctica, and Other Side of Antarctica perpetuate and amplify the tone of icy isolation. The finale, Deliverance, provides a beautiful haunting melody to cap off the album. This type of piece becomes a formula for many of his later albums. On the cusp between excellent and classic Vangelis, I have to give this one a high recommendation and really consider an essential component of a good Vangelis collection.

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Send comments to Progosopher (BETA) | Report this review (#292770)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After the award claiming Chariots Of Fire , here goes Vangelis with another album containing another of his best known theme: "Antartica".

This opening song is quite delightful, very well known: spacey, atmospheric, and ambient. You name it! It holds a superb and repetitive melody but it is never boring during these seven minutes and a half. Great stuff for sure, it is.

The theme is recurrent and comes back at some other points later in the album ("Song Of White"). I must say that I quite like this (same during "Memory Of Antarctica" but in a much slower mood).

The well named "Antarctic Echoes" is another fine track. It is even more spacey than the opener and should please any fan of electronic prog. So far, this album is quite good and it should reconcile a lot of fans who might have been disappointed by the artist lately.

This album is fully embracing the electronic prog genre; but on the melodic side. It is accessible, beautiful and quite well achieved. Ambient and spacey atmosphere is also on the list ("Other Side Of Antarctica"). What else do we need? Another great melody I guess? You'll get it as well under the form of the fine closing track "Deliverance". It is a great ending for this fine album. As a whole, it is one of my Vangelis favourite album.

Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#305343)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars Max result with the lesser effort. This time, instead of writing five tracks for the side A and repeating them together for the side B, he writes a single track good for a 3 minutes radio edit and extends it to cover 45 minutes of the same soup with different sauces.

The main theme is not bad, able to capture the icy ambient of the movie. The music was great in commenting the speachless story of a dozen of dogs abandoned in the frozen antarctic winter, but that's all.

A simple and captivating melody based on four chords can't be repeated for 45 minutes just increasing or decreasing the tempo. It can work fine for the movie, by taking different pitches and tempos when they are most appropriate, but not for a whole album.

As Chariots of Fire, this doesn't deserve more than two stars.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#366219)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a great Vangelis fan. I would say that there are only few albums from Vangelis that I like, China, Heaven and Hell and of course Antarctica. Bladerunner and Chariots of Fire are hugely overrated as are 1492 and El Greco. But one of his soundtracks/albums rises above them. Antarctica is without a thought Vangelis's best album. It takes the music, we usually think of as background music and turns it into a piece of art. Just Excellent. Ive just bought the album, but the first time I heard it was on Spotify, and the Spotify review said that: It doesn't convey the iciness that the listeners would expect and doesn't feel like the Antarctic at all. I'm totally opposed to that review, I think that there's no other piece of music that would convey the feel of surrounding ice and snow and just total isolation. Musically Antarctica is maybe not the most complex piece of music but the atmosphere it contains is just something extraordinary. Altho the music gets, well, boring, especially on "Antarctica Echoes", the minute it gets boring the musical structures change and a new melody or rhytmus starts luring itself out of the shadows.

This album truly deserves a solid 5 stars.

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Send comments to BrainStillLife (BETA) | Report this review (#395561)
Posted Sunday, February 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars One for listeners who enjoy the more approachable and melodic end of progressive electronic music, Vangelis' 1983 work `Antarctica' is the soundtrack to a movie on the same topic. While it's not going to gain the same status or level of attention as his pioneering `Blade Runner' soundtrack, it's certainly not deserving of being completely dismissed or ignored either. Perfectly enjoyable purely as its own work, this is the artist at his most warm and easy listening, with the music, although soft and gentle, never simply becoming bland new-age muzak, and some darker flavours here and there are welcome as well.

The main `Theme from `Antarctica' has soothing washes of synths that lap at the background over unobtrusive programmed percussion, quickly taking on symphonic and victorious themes. Synths rise and fall in a delicate manner throughout the pretty and dream-like `Antarctic Echoes', with the tiniest little electric piano tip-toes. The dramatic `Kinematic' has a skittering frantic programmed beat over imposing electronics, and `Song of White' floats wistfully on ambient flute-like synths before a reprise of the main theme. The synths glisten as if brilliant crystal-like shards on `Life of Antarctica', some darker tones almost resembling Tangerine Dream in parts, and it's one of the more memorable moments on the album. `Memory of Antarctica' is a low key and placid alternate take on the main theme with brief cinematic-like touches. `Other Side of Antarctica' (another refreshingly darker highlight) has a slightly eerie, foreboding, even alien quality, and `Deliverance' closes the album with spiralling synth loops and soothing victorious strains.

Over his career, Vangelis has tackled many different genres and styles, especially fascinating is his early to late 70's period that is full of scattered experimental gems, each more baffling and unique than the last, but all well worth discovering. `Antarctica' is not exactly cutting edge or as genre-bending as those works, but it is evidence of this sort of an artist having completely honed his electronic skills. This is an often hypnotic work, full of movement and variety, making it perfect for newcomers to the progressive electronic genres.

Three stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1290393)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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