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VANGELIS

Prog Related • Greece


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Vangelis biography
Evanghelos Odysseas Papathanassiou "VANGELIS" - Born March 29, 1943 (Volos, Greece) - died May 17, 2022 (Paris, France)

VANGELIS (the "g" is pronounced as a hard "g", as in "get") is a world-renowned new age and electronic musician. His best known compositions are the Academy Award-winning 1981 theme to the movie "Chariots of Fire" and the entire score to "Blade Runner". He also composed the anthem of Football World Cup 2002.

Early life and work
VANGELIS began composing when he was 4 years old, and is largely a self-taught musician. He refused to take traditional piano lessons, and throughout his career he did not have substantial knowledge of reading or writing musical notation. He studied classical music, painting and film direction at the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens.

In the early 1960s he formed the pop group FORMINX (sometimes spelled "FORMYNX"), which became very popular in Greece. During the student riots in 1968 he moved to Paris and formed progressive rock band APHRODITE'S CHILD with Demis Roussos and Loukas Sideras. They had a hit single in Europe called "Rain and Tears." The group was disbanded in 1972, although Roussos made several appearances on VANGELIS' later work.

Beginning of solo career
VANGELIS began his solo work by writing scores to two films by French filmmaker Frederic Rossif in 1973. His first official solo album was 1974's "Earth". At about the same time, he rehearsed for a couple of weeks with another prog-rock band, YES. Although he never joined the band, he became friends with singer Jon Anderson, with whom he later worked on many occasions.

After moving to London, VANGELIS signed a deal with RCA Records, set up his own studio (Nemo Studios) and began recording a string of well-regarded electronic albums. Music from the acclaimed 1975 album "Heaven and Hell" was later used as the theme to the PBS television series Cosmos.

Work in film and commercial success
He and Jon Anderson released several albums together in the 1980s and '90s as JON & VANGELIS. In 1982 VANGELIS won the Academy Award for Original Music Score for "Chariots of Fire". The theme song topped the US Billboard charts for one week after climbing steadily for one year.

That year he also began working with director Ridley Scott; VANGELIS scored his films "Blade Runner" and "1492: Conquest of Paradise". He also scored many of the undersea documentaries o...
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VANGELIS discography


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VANGELIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.88 | 44 ratings
Sex Power (OST)
1970
2.47 | 38 ratings
Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit
1972
3.66 | 116 ratings
Earth
1973
3.78 | 149 ratings
L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST)
1973
3.47 | 68 ratings
Can You Hear The Dogs Barking? [Aka: Ignacio] (OST)
1975
3.90 | 254 ratings
Heaven and Hell
1975
3.70 | 203 ratings
Albedo 0.39
1976
3.22 | 58 ratings
La Fête Sauvage
1976
3.76 | 201 ratings
Spiral
1977
2.56 | 101 ratings
Beaubourg
1978
3.75 | 101 ratings
The Dragon
1978
3.27 | 87 ratings
Hypothesis [Aka: Visions Of The Future]
1978
3.81 | 167 ratings
China
1979
3.65 | 70 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Odes
1979
3.54 | 110 ratings
Opéra Sauvage (OST)
1979
2.59 | 91 ratings
See You Later
1980
3.08 | 153 ratings
Chariots of Fire (OST)
1981
3.45 | 104 ratings
Antarctica (OST)
1983
3.51 | 100 ratings
Soil Festivities
1984
3.58 | 94 ratings
Mask
1985
2.37 | 69 ratings
Invisible Connections
1985
3.03 | 43 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Rapsodies
1986
3.65 | 99 ratings
Direct
1988
3.32 | 93 ratings
The City
1990
3.96 | 171 ratings
1492 - Conquest of Paradise (OST)
1992
4.11 | 260 ratings
Blade Runner (OST)
1994
3.84 | 98 ratings
Voices
1995
3.29 | 102 ratings
Oceanic
1996
3.81 | 92 ratings
El Greco
1998
2.75 | 75 ratings
Mythodea
2001
2.77 | 63 ratings
Alexander (OST)
2004
2.97 | 35 ratings
El Greco (OST)
2007
3.00 | 8 ratings
Amore (OST)
2015
3.67 | 50 ratings
Rosetta
2016
3.30 | 23 ratings
Nocturne - The Piano Album
2019
3.15 | 24 ratings
Juno to Jupiter
2020

VANGELIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 17 ratings
Neuronium and Vangelis A Separate Affair
1996

VANGELIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.46 | 20 ratings
Mythodea-Music for the NASA mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey
2001
3.63 | 11 ratings
Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka
2013

VANGELIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 24 ratings
Best of Vangelis
1978
3.00 | 20 ratings
Greatest Hits
1981
3.04 | 42 ratings
Themes
1989
3.83 | 12 ratings
Best In Space
1994
3.90 | 10 ratings
Space Themes
1995
3.56 | 10 ratings
Gift: Greatest Hits
1997
3.59 | 36 ratings
Portraits
1997
2.90 | 20 ratings
Reprise 1990-1999
1999
4.00 | 9 ratings
Cosmos
2001
2.63 | 8 ratings
The Best Of Vangelis
2003
2.49 | 23 ratings
Odyssey - The Definitive Collection
2003
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Music Of Vangelis
2005
4.76 | 44 ratings
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary
2007
4.55 | 11 ratings
Delectus
2017

VANGELIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.67 | 3 ratings
Astral Abuse/Who Killed (as Alpha Beta)
1971
3.00 | 4 ratings
Odyssey
1974
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Vangelis Radio Special
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
So Long Ago, So Clear
1975
5.00 | 9 ratings
Pulstar / Alpha
1976
4.67 | 6 ratings
To The Unknown Man
1977
3.05 | 3 ratings
Dervish D
1977
4.00 | 6 ratings
Hymne / Irlande
1979
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Long March (Part I & II)
1979
3.16 | 6 ratings
Not a Bit - All Of It
1980
3.50 | 2 ratings
My Love
1980
3.31 | 7 ratings
Chariots of Fire
1981
4.00 | 7 ratings
Silent Portraits
1984
3.19 | 7 ratings
The Will Of The Wind
1988
4.00 | 8 ratings
Missing
1989
3.13 | 4 ratings
Good to See You
1990
4.40 | 5 ratings
Conquest Of Paradise
1992
3.50 | 2 ratings
Voices
1995
2.18 | 3 ratings
Song of the Seas
1996
4.33 | 3 ratings
Ask the Mountains
1996
4.50 | 2 ratings
Sauvage et Beau
1996
3.30 | 12 ratings
2002 FIFA World Cup Official Anthem
2002
1.80 | 5 ratings
Świadectwo - Muzyka Filmowa (with Robert Janson)
2008

VANGELIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Dragon by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 101 ratings

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The Dragon
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Alongside its companion piece Hypothesis, The Dragon is one of the most controversial releases in Vangelis's discography. Of course it doesn't speak in their favour that both these albums were released nearly a decade after being recorded without authorization and against the wishes of the artist who subsequently disowned them, and the fact that they bear little resemblance to most of Vangelis's output presumably doesn't help for most people either. This album, containing a trio of extended krautrock and jazz fusion improvisations, indeed would be unlikely to please anyone expecting to hear the music that Vangelis had become known for by 1978, but personally, this makes me appreciate it all the more: it makes me feel like I'm getting a sneak peek into a completely different side to this clearly multi-talented musician.

But of course that would only be worth so much if the actual music wasn't also very good, although it's a bit slow to start, admittedly. Vangelis does not play keyboards (or if he does, they're unrecognizably distorted) on the lengthy title track that opens the album, an oppressive, 15-minute long psychedelic jam which is mostly a showcase for violinist Michel Ripoche and guitarist Anargyros Koulouris, Vangelis's bandmate in Aphrodite's Child who allows himself that get much more fuzzed-up and atonal than he could ever be in that band up until then.

The second side is where the album's beauty really comes to fruition, however: "Stuffed Aubergine" is probably the closest that this album comes to resembling Vangelis's more famous works, being a mellow, new age-ish minimalist sequence with plenty of keyboard soloing, but it sounds much more like Popol Vuh than Spiral. Vangelis only uses a synthesizer to add some background chords but for the most part relies on a clavinet, electric piano and even a mellotron, while Koulouris gets a chance to show off his more sensitive side near the end. "Stuffed Tomato" throws the album on its head again, starting out with an unaccompanied guitar improvisation before launching into a furious speedy jazz-rock jam. Vangelis is indeed playing jazz on his piano here and he does it excellently, all the while accompanied by some quality drum-pounding and bass-walking.

Vangelis fans aren't guaranteed to enjoy this album but they owe it to themselves to at least give it a chance.

 Blade Runner (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 260 ratings

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Blade Runner (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by WJA-K

3 stars This music is iconic. Just as the movie is. The movie and the music are one. As a soundtrack, it is one of the best ever.

But does it hold up to its own? Frankly, I can't tell. Because I am a fan of the movie. So I will always have the movie in mind when listening to this album. Or reading the track titles. I'm spoiled by the movie when listening to this music.

As an experience of reliving the movie, I highly recommend this soundtrack. The music is of high quality and engaging to set the right scene. As a music piece, it is good. But nothing extraordinary in my book.

Reviewing this as a piece of music, I can't push it above 3 stars. It is good, but certainly not essential for prog fans. And this is a prog site after all.

 Heaven and Hell by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.90 | 254 ratings

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Heaven and Hell
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by WJA-K

4 stars This is one of the earlier works of Vangelis before he became a superstar. It is an interesting album on many fronts.

It shows us a progression of Vangelis from his work with Aphrodites Child to his staple work. It has a palette of sounds, making it very varied. We hear some glimpses of where he eventually would go. It even has an appearance of Jon Anderson!

For me, this album marks the moment of the perfect storm. I believe this is the Vangelis that appeals to me most. It's not only dreamy musical landscapes. There's more, it's punchier.

Heaven and hell is a great album. I give it 4 stars.

 Hymne / Irlande by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Hymne / Irlande
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the fond memory of VANGELIS, 29 March 1943 -- 17 May 2022. The yesterday's news of Vangelis having passed away at the age of 79 really made me sad. A great deal of his output definitely belongs to the soundtrack of my personal history, or the emotional landscapes of my soul itself.

I have reviewed the album that these two instrumental pieces were taken from and rated it with three stars only (in the Vangelis scale). Opera Sauvage, the score for the nature documentary of the same title by French filmmaker Frédéric Rossif, is one of his most succesful albums, but it isn't among my biggest favourites personally. That certainly doesn't mean I wouldn't highly appreciate it as a beautiful work, and recommendable especially for those newcomers who seek for accessible and soothing instrumental music. Ok, we could use the term New Age although I have certain reservations against it.

'Hymne' is well known and it has also been used on TV ads. The short piece is carried from start to end by a serene theme with some delicate progress in the delivery. At the time Vangelis used mainly Yamaha CS-80 to orchestrate his warm melodies.

'Irlande' has rather similar calm atmosphere. It's slighly more introspective, played in a slower tempo. The sounds are a bit more varied on top of the silky synth layers, including details reminiscent of bells, harp and flute. I like this one even more than 'Hymne', so my rating for this single is one star better than for the main album.

 Juno to Jupiter by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.15 | 24 ratings

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Juno to Jupiter
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Listening to Juno To Jupiter after hearing only the most iconic Vangelis releases such as Heaven & Earth, Chariots Of Fire and the Blade Runner soundtrack and nothing from recent times, you might be forgiven for thinking "Yes, he's still got it!" after arriving at the second track, "Inside Our Perspectives", a mighty synth anthem that just refuses to leave my head and hearkens back to the most imposing, anthemic pieces of Vangelis's past. The praise for this track is well-deserved (in fact, after listening to Juno To Jupiter the first time, despite not having a clear opinion about its quality yet, I recommended this album on the forums based on the strength of track two alone; that should tell you something), but I was sadly mistaken in believing that it sets the tone for the rest of the album because pretty much everything from this point onward falls hopelessly flat.

This is an album that's built upon quite an ambitious concept: An instrumental suite depicting the Juno space mission to the planet Jupiter, drawing parallels to their Hellenic counterparts, comprising a musical synthesis of late-Romantic classical music and Vangelis's old-school progressive electronic music from the 70s and early 80s. What does it end up sounding like? A load of painfully mediocre new age muzak that's fit for the background score of a cheap pop-scientific documentary series on the National Geographic channel. Some chimey celestial ambience to emphasize the beauty of space, some vaguely threatening synth drones to accompany an asteroid racing towards earth or something, you get the idea. The electronic tracks are generic and forgettable, and the lengthy classical passages are just muddy, nondescript filler occupying a void where inspired, intricately written music should exist but plainly refuses to: pure ostentation with no substance. Alright, some of the wordless vocal tracks featuring opera singer Angela Gheorghiu such as "Juno's Tender Call" and "Juno's Accomplishments" (love songs from the satellite to the gas giant it orbits?) are of a bit more merit but offer only a small respite on an album that drags on for over 70 minutes. You won't miss anything important by forgoing a physical release and listening to this on a streaming service so you can just turn it off after the second track.

 Direct by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.65 | 99 ratings

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Direct
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

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.

 Mask by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.58 | 94 ratings

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Mask
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars This is the 2nd in the series of Vangelis albums released in the 80's. With the previous album "Soil Festivities", he concentrated on an improvisational style, but this time, he returns to a more structured feel. However, "Mask" is a much darker affair than what we are used to with increased use of percussion to help heighten the dramatic and majestic atmosphere that is the most prevalent on this album. Vangelis also brings back the same choir that he used on the "Heaven and Hell" album which is one of his most successful (and rightfully so) albums.

Movement 1 - A fast moving background serves as the foundation for a stately sounding melody, all done by synths. The choir comes in quickly, and this immediately brings to mind the "Heaven and Hell" album, one of Vangelis' masterpieces. Heavy and dramatic, this is very cinematic and expansive and it will grab your attention immediately. After several minutes, the music calms to a pensive and almost hymn-like section with a female soloist which later gets joined by the choir. The vocals are all wordless or in a made-up language. This part is quite lovely. The main theme returns later with the same flair as before.

Movement 2 - A waltz pattern is established and sustained chords play over the top of this. The choir is used later on mostly for atmosphere this time.

Movement 3 - A much darker feel is obvious here with this menacing sounding track. Rolling, loud percussion speaks of impending danger and the choir sings in a mysterious manner. The thumping drums and bass might bring a feeling of an approaching threat and this feeling continues through the movement.

Movement 4 - This is where the real tribal feel comes in. After a brighter tonal percussive pattern created by what sounds like marimba starts this off, a male soloist sings the melody using the imaginary language that is used on the album. Later, as the tribal sounding pattern continues, the soloist and choir trade off in a sort of "call and response" style. Everything is much lighter in tone on this track and nicely melodic. This track seems very unlike the typical Vangelis sound in a surprisingly good way. Minimal synth sounds do come in later, but are not heavily present.

Movement 5 - As in the first track, this movement begins with a sharp, quick arpeggio sequence that establishes the foundation for the entire movement. This one is less melodic except for the singing by the choir, which seems to be pushed further back into the mix here, making the non-melodic accompaniment seem more up front. This is a long 10 minute movement and to me, it gets a bit redundant. It seems to build, but never reaches any satisfactory pay off. The album definitely loses a lot of steam on this track which is too bad since up to this point, it is quite good.

Movement 6 - Sustained notes make this sort of airy and atmospheric. Overall, it's quite minimal, even with the occasional understated choir passages. Nothing really happens here though and it is sadly a let down to what starts out as a great album.

No doubt that this album is quite dynamic and dramatic, at least at first. The first four movements are quite good, but the last two don't really add anything to the entire experience. With the dark and tense feel of the first three movements and the release from tension in the fourth movement, you would hope that the last two movements would deliver much more that they do, but it ends up dragging the entire album down. Since this is how the album ends, the listener is left feeling unfulfilled, which, if we are to compare this to the masterpiece "Heaven and Hell", I always wish for a more satisfying conclusion to the album. It's the last thing you remember of the album, and that unfortunately, brings the overall attitude down quite a bit. What starts out as a possible 5-star affair ends up just becoming something mediocre.

So, it's a very strong beginning , but the last (almost) half of the album does not remain on the pinnacle that it started out on leaving this as a 3 star album.

 Soil Festivities by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.51 | 100 ratings

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Soil Festivities
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars After Vangelis had finished his foray into a more popular and accessible style through the early 80's, he came to the conclusion that he didn't have to necessarily always make his albums accessible. His output during this time included the "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack, work with Jon Anderson (as Jon & Vangelis) and a few more accessible solo albums. However, this wasn't giving him the satisfaction he needed as far as his compositional and improvisational style called for. So, in 1984, he returned to his more experimental style and he started this new phase with the album "Soil Festivities".

This album is probably one of his most progressive albums in quite a while, and it is a pleasure to hear him return to this form. Vangelis moves away from his most recognizable style of melodic tracks to a more improvisational style based upon nature, specifically as seen through the eyes of "life in miniature". Before you think that this seems like a new age type of recording, think again. This one is much more hypnotic and experimental in nature, the first side being jubilant and the second side much darker and sinister sounding. But overall, he leaves behind structure for the most part and becomes more experimental and going wherever the music takes him, but based upon a concept.

Movement 1 - Opens with a thunder crash and the sound of rain. In the background, we hear a single repeated note that sounds like it could signify a steady drip, drip, drip that continues while improvised synths play over the top with some nice harmonies. The overall feeling of the track is playful and joyous, a celebration of life in the world. Though there doesn't seem to be a strong melody in this very long track (over 18 minutes), the synths are still song-like and almost seem like short structured passages at times. The percussion is sometimes complex, never really following a pattern and the bass is quite captivating and really stands out at times. There are many sounds and timbres going on throughout the track. Surprisingly enough, it never gets dull, but instead, with the steady "dripping" tone in the background, can be quite hypnotizing. The last part of the track is calmer surrounded by thunder crashes and sparkling keys.

Movement 2 - This one is more tranquil feeling with a two tone, repeating motif in the background that changes with the chord/key changes that are directed by a lovely synth. This time, the music is more melodic, though the melody is probably improvised. The first part is accented by high notes which later is replaced by lower string effects later, almost feeling like the action from the first movement is coming to rest and dusk is approaching.

Movement 3 - In contrast to the first 2 movements, this one is quite a bit darker and seemingly discordant, probably representing the harshness of nature. There is quite a bit of chaos and menacing sounds making the scene seem violent and unpredictable. Once again, there is no real melody here as there has been in the more accessible Vangelis albums. Instead it is dramatic, a bit noisy and dissonant at times, though it also resolves for short spaces only to turn sinister again. The end of the movement does have a feeling of victory, however.

Movement 4 - Slow and pensive, this one rolls along based off of a three note cadence that persists throughout the track while a minimal synth plays over the top and occasional thumping percussion rumbles sounding like far off explosions. This keeps the overall dark timbre of the previous track, but much less chaotic, however there is still a sense of danger in the air with the suspense generated from the synths and keys.

Movement 5 - This track is probably the most improvisational of the album as tempos are always shifting, the percussion is more unpredictable (almost symphonic in style), and styles and moods constantly shift from happy to dark, melodic to chaotic. This is one of his most progressive tracks in his discography.

I really find this album to be one of my favorites in Vangelis' works. It seems that he has a lot more say in where he wanted this album to go, and since it is mostly improvised, it seems like it is more from the heart and less like the formulaic albums that he had been producing previous to this. I have always liked his style but there have been some weak albums in his past. This is not one of them. If you aren't familiar with the improvisational Vangelis, then you should probably give this album a chance. I think "Soil Festivities" is one that is meant more for the music lovers that like their music unpredictable and complex, not based off of melodies.

 Chariots of Fire (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.08 | 153 ratings

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Chariots of Fire (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Greek maestro VANGELIS has a special place in my heart when I look back at my entire music listening history. Quite rare for a basically instrumental output, his synth-based and often pretty romantic music has sort of walked by my side since adolescence; in the emotional sense it has often stored my inner feelings. The settings of my Vangelis-related memories may be seemingly as simple as having a desolate stroll in a lakeside park in a beautiful summer evening, but nevertheless they're dear to me, and the music still manages to touch me. Now, due to my sentimental intro you probably presume Chariots of Fire is among my most cherished Vangelis albums. Actually, it doesn't have that status. But re-listening to it now, I realize it comes very close to having it, at least partially if not for the album whole.

This soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film about two British runners participating in the Paris Olympics in 1924 brought Vangelis more fame. I finally saw the movie at the age of 22 or so. I liked it, but just like with Blade Runner, I felt slightly disappointed here and there of the way the music was used. The album itself had already been familiar to me as my first love had it. Needless to say, the famous main theme (commonly known as 'Chariots of Fire' instead of 'Titles') works brilliantly in the opening scene with a bunch of men running on the sea shore. One of the best known Vangelis tunes it has remained ever since, for a good reason. It is fresh, compact, uplifting, accessible, and unlike much of synth music -- or any popular music -- of the early 80's, it still sounds fresh.

The vinyl has six pieces on its first side. Next comes 'Five Circles' which I also enjoy a lot for the romantically soft and yet majestic soundscape. 'Abraham's Theme' is a reserved and introvert piece which hides most of the passion under the quiet surface. 'Eric's Theme' is my least fave track on this album. It feels overlong and therefor a bit hollow to me. '100 Metres' is a very reserved, tension-building intro to the powerful bliss of the famous Anglican hymn 'Jerusalem' composed to the poem of William Blake. BTW, I adore also ELP's version of it. Vangelis's version featuring a choir and church organ is very orthodox unlike ELP's, but it's gorgeous anyway.

The entire second vinyl side is a near 21-minute piece confusingly titled as 'Chariots of Fire' which circulates some themes. Imagine slow movements of romantic piano concertos, with synths taking place of an orchestra. Well, I'm not a great fan of this over-extended and rather vaguely wandering epic. Admittedly there's a lot of sensitive emotions in the piano melodies; I clearly prefer the more delicate sections over the more bombastic ones.

So, as I said, this album hasn't been among my dearest from Vangelis, but for the best moments it's absolutely first class Vangelis in the romantic end of his spectre. In fact, it surprises me how many two-star reviews it has here. My rating is 3½ stars rounded down.

 See You Later by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.59 | 91 ratings

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See You Later
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars "See You Later" is a Vangelis album that comes along right when Vangelis was in the middle of several different projects which included the soundtrack to "Chariots of Fire" and the beginning of his series of albums with Jon Anderson (known as "Jon & Vangelis"). This album moves away from his usual style and focuses on tracks with lyrics, vocalizations and narratives in both Italian and French. We hear Vangelis experimenting with some interesting styles and instrumental sounds on this album, and the main style of the album seems to suffer from the lack of melodic passages and ends up sounding more clinical than anything. In my opinion, this is one of Vangelis' weakest albums because of this. At least his more avant-style albums were interesting. This one is just not very consistent and tends to wander between styles a bit too much for it's own good. In other words, there just isn't a lot of focus here. Even the tracks where Jon Anderson helps out are weak and uninteresting.

I Can't Take it Anymore - Vocal effects by Peter Marsh and a vocoder, and some dark undertones with nice percussion. The melody is a bit slight and uninteresting though, and lyrics are just a repeat of the title and some wordless sounds from a synth chorus. You can tell Vangelis was experimenting with his style making this dark, moody track.

Multi-track Suggestion - More manipulated vocals from Marsh and a consistent beat makes this one sound like something more from Kraftwerk than it does Vangelis. Even the synth hooks have that robotic style. There are some spoken word vocals that give a feeling of PA announcements. Again, there's not much in the way of melody or any real high points anywhere on this track.

Memories of Green - This is the original version of a track that would later be used for the "Blade Runner" soundtrack. A flanger pedal creates a very cool, warped effect manipulating sounds from a Steinway grand piano. This one is quite minimal, yet quite beautiful, and as such, is probably the best track on the album. The little synth effects that swirl around at will give it all a neat atmosphere.

Not a Bit-All of It - The shortest track on the album, thank goodness. Cherry Vanilla provides the vocals supplemented by some vocalese provided by Vangelis himself. The track starts with a violin passage, which is provided by guest Michel Ripoche. The music is quite Musak sounding with the lyrics being spoken work, which has a very sarcastic feel to it as it satirizes commercialism and consumerism. Sort of funny the first time around, but annoying everytime after that.

The 2nd side of the album consists of two longer tracks, both of them featuring Jon Anderson doing vocals.

Suffocation - This 9 minute track has two main sections. The first part has a solid beat and synths playing a warbly melody. After a few minutes, the beat fades off as the synths continue and some Italian announcements over a megaphone sound out. The beat returns again, a bit more solid this time with the melody more pronounced and a fuller background. Not bad, but it really doesn't develop into much. Some tricky drum machine percussion ends this section and a slower, more pensive section starts. Soon Anderson's vocals finally come in. As is the case with this album, the lyrics are quite slight. Soon, this all drops off as a more minimal section comes in with the members of "Krisma" read an Italian narrative. All together, it's quite a big letdown.

See You Later - As with the last track, this one has multiple sections and exceeds the 10 minute mark. The first part of the track features the electric piano. The beginning is soft and quiet, but it builds as a little synth action comes in, then the tempo picks up with a synth loop that sounds like something that would be used in "Chariots of Fire". A male chorus give some spoken word commands that sounds like a language lesson of some sort. After this, a French spoken word section comes in over the synth atmospherics and off-beat percussion. Things try to be progressive here, but it ends up sounding more disjointed than anything. There is a bit of a jazzy section, then the percussion drops out as a child sings "Lalalala" and speaks in French. The male chorus comes in again with some dramatic, but repetitive singing, then everything drops off except for some minimal synth. Some processed vocalizations come in and some meandering around with the synth as the music builds and brings Anderson's vocals in for the last part of the track.

Fortunately, the other albums that would come out in the next few years wouldn't follow in this one's footsteps as it would include some of his most famous and important work. This one was not released in North America for several years, and it never really has come across as an important album. It didn't help that it was overshadowed by "Chariots of Fire" and the Jon & Vangelis albums. But then, it never really deserved to stand out that much anyway. This album is best left to the completists and is not really a typical sounding Vangelis album, so newcomers should stay away.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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