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VANGELIS

Prog Related • Greece


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Vangelis biography
Evanghelos Odysseas Papathanassiou "VANGELIS" - Born March 29, 1943 (Volos, Greece)

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 of Jacques Cousteau. In 1992, France ...
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VANGELIS discography


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

2.85 | 37 ratings
Sex Power (OST)
1970
2.42 | 31 ratings
Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit
1972
3.69 | 101 ratings
Earth
1973
3.75 | 129 ratings
L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST)
1973
3.46 | 61 ratings
Can You Hear The Dogs Barking? [Aka: Ignacio] (OST)
1975
3.84 | 234 ratings
Heaven And Hell
1975
3.68 | 184 ratings
Albedo 0.39
1976
3.21 | 53 ratings
La Fête Sauvage
1976
3.73 | 174 ratings
Spiral
1977
2.55 | 89 ratings
Beaubourg
1978
3.72 | 90 ratings
The Dragon
1978
3.24 | 79 ratings
Hypothesis [Aka: Visions Of The Future]
1978
3.79 | 146 ratings
China
1979
3.65 | 59 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Odes
1979
3.49 | 96 ratings
Opéra Sauvage (OST)
1979
2.59 | 76 ratings
See You Later
1980
3.07 | 139 ratings
Chariots Of Fire (OST)
1981
3.43 | 94 ratings
Antarctica (OST)
1983
3.47 | 91 ratings
Soil Festivities
1984
3.62 | 86 ratings
Mask
1985
2.34 | 60 ratings
Invisible Connections
1985
2.96 | 37 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Rapsodies
1986
3.62 | 88 ratings
Direct
1988
3.31 | 87 ratings
The City
1990
3.95 | 158 ratings
1492 - Conquest of Paradise (OST)
1992
4.11 | 237 ratings
Blade Runner (OST)
1994
3.82 | 91 ratings
Voices
1995
3.27 | 94 ratings
Oceanic
1996
3.81 | 83 ratings
El Greco
1998
2.71 | 68 ratings
Mythodea
2001
2.71 | 58 ratings
Alexander (OST)
2004
2.86 | 29 ratings
El Greco (OST)
2007
2.33 | 3 ratings
Amore (OST)
2015
3.66 | 41 ratings
Rosetta
2016
3.19 | 15 ratings
Nocturne - The Piano Album
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Juno to Jupiter
2020

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

3.57 | 14 ratings
Neuronium and Vangelis A Separate Affair
1996

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

3.36 | 17 ratings
Mythodea-Music for the NASA mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey
2001
3.60 | 9 ratings
Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka
2013

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

2.86 | 22 ratings
Best of Vangelis
1978
2.96 | 18 ratings
Greatest Hits
1981
3.00 | 38 ratings
Themes
1989
3.80 | 10 ratings
Best In Space
1994
3.88 | 8 ratings
Space Themes
1995
3.54 | 8 ratings
Gift: Greatest Hits
1997
3.53 | 31 ratings
Portraits
1997
2.87 | 18 ratings
Reprise 1990-1999
1999
4.00 | 5 ratings
Cosmos
2001
2.58 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Vangelis
2003
2.35 | 19 ratings
Odyssey - The Definitive Collection
2003
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Music Of Vangelis
2005
4.76 | 39 ratings
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary
2007
4.50 | 8 ratings
Delectus
2017

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

2.50 | 2 ratings
Astral Abuse/Who Killed (as Alpha Beta)
1971
3.00 | 3 ratings
Odyssey
1974
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Vangelis Radio Special
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
So Long Ago, So Clear
1975
5.00 | 8 ratings
Pulstar / Alpha
1976
4.80 | 5 ratings
To The Unknown Man
1977
3.00 | 1 ratings
Dervish D
1977
4.25 | 4 ratings
Hymne / Irlande
1979
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Long March (Part I & II)
1979
3.17 | 5 ratings
Not a Bit - All Of It
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
My Love
1980
3.22 | 4 ratings
Chariots of Fire
1981
4.00 | 6 ratings
Silent Portraits
1984
3.16 | 6 ratings
The Will Of The Wind
1988
4.14 | 7 ratings
Missing
1989
3.00 | 2 ratings
Good to See You
1990
4.33 | 3 ratings
Conquest Of Paradise
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Voices
1995
2.00 | 1 ratings
Song of the Seas
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ask the Mountains
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sauvage et Beau
1996
3.31 | 11 ratings
2002 FIFA World Cup Official Anthem
2002
1.75 | 4 ratings
Świadectwo - Muzyka Filmowa (with Robert Janson)
2008

VANGELIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dervish D by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Dervish D
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Spiral (1977) was the 3rd album that Vangelis recorded at his Nemo studio in London. It was the first album to feature the new Yamaha CS 80 synthesizer, for which Vangelis became a renowned master. Thematically Spiral moved from the astronomic worlds of Albedo 0.39 (1976) towards more philosophical ideas, being inspired especially by Chinese Lao Tse, the founder of Taoism.

Both tracks here were taken from Spiral, which as a whole is much better and has finer soundscapes than these pieces, I think. Its probably best known track, the charming 'To the Unknown Man' was also released as a single. 'Dervish D' is catchy and sort of commercial sounding (almost in the 80's style!), comparable to Jan Hammer's Miami Vice music. As a composition I find it rather dull and over-repetitive.

'3 + 3' (whatever the title is suggesting) is nearly ten minutes long on Spiral, the single edit is three minutes sharp. I'm not a great admirer of this piece either, but it's notably more interesting than 'Dervish D'. It actually reminds me of the Vangelis album China (1979), which isn't among his finest works.

Two least fascinating tracks from a classic and innovative synth album by one of the genre's greatest musicians. Three stars.

 Good to See You by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1990
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Good to See You
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars When a CD single contains only an album track and an edited version of it, it is rather useless really. I'll be quick this time. The City (1990) is not among Vangelis's very finest post-70's albums, but those who like also the poppier side of his instrumental synth-based music, such as the preceding album Direct (1988), will find The City enjoyable. With its urban themes and a cinematic atmosphere, it has some similarities to the wonderful Blade Runner soundtrack too.

'Good to See You' is a delightful piece with a laid-back groove and a sensual soundscape, and the girl talking on a phone is an interesting extra detail. For the composition itself I could give four stars (as I have given to The City), but for the reasons above that would be too generous for this single.

 Song of the Seas by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1996
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Song of the Seas
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Between Voices (1995), a pretty rewarding album featuring several guest vocalists, and the truly excellent concept album El Greco (1998) inspired by the religious Greek-born painter, the Greek synth maestro VANGELIS made Oceanic (1996), a light-hearted and romantic easy-listening synthesizer album not very far above the likes of Yanni. It's a long time since I have listened to Oceanic in its entirety -- the CD is not in my collections -- , but what I remember of it, the two tracks in this single are very representative. Hardly the best tracks, because I remember enjoying the album at the time, to a certain degree.

'Song of the Seas' is featured twice, the album version and a slightly abridged version. Frankly, listening to it even once can get frustrating unless you're just seeking relaxation, if you're any deeper into Vangelis' impressive discography. It's a soft and sugary piece with a steady, relaxed tempo. The production is super clean, and similarly romantic oceanic- holiday atmosphere is in Vangelis' theme for the Roman Polanski film Bitter Moon (which is much better). The lame soundscape lacks any edge or excitement, not to speak of progression. If I should visualize it, imagine a rich lady lying on a beach chair on a serene holiday island, under a parasol, with a handsome servant bringing her sweet drinks. This piece of music is just as clichéd and polished.

'Aquatic Dance' is a bit more interesting. The moody main melody is carried by a synth sound imitating cello. The word dance gives you false images since this is a calm, slightly dark-toned piece in a slow, steady tempo. Instead of a dance of any kind, I can imagine this piece being used in a wild nature TV programme of an underwater life: harmless fish, coral and such. Excitingly exotic but nothing very dangerous.

So, the key word here is easy-listening. Definitely not Vangelis at his best.

 1492 - Conquest of Paradise (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.95 | 158 ratings

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1492 - Conquest of Paradise (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Mark-P

4 stars Movie soundtrack is not an easy genre. One of the challenges for the composer is to strengthen the soul of the movie, and in the other way around, the song itself should be able to present the soul of the story. This is what I think the beauty of this album. The film is about a thrilling journey, ambition, fear and hope, that are well captured by the composition. Vangelis wrote several wonderful music scores for film. Conquest of Paradise and Chariot of Fire are among my favorites.

The title track 'Conquest of Paradise' is a beautiful track. Hearing this track make it is easy to visualize the scene of ships in the ocean, sailing ambitiously but worryingly. It starts with choir with a bit dark sound and gradually turns to a more optimistic mood and then ended gloriously, just like a hope that ends with fulfillment.

There are other great tracks like 'Light and Shadow', with predominant haunting choir and great theme, 'Deliverance' that has a nice flamenco guitar playing in both intro and outro (and also another great short choir part in the middle) and 'Twenty Eight Parallel' has a lot of Vangelis signature movement. This track uses the main theme of the title track but in a simpler and lighter arrangement and calmer mood.

Overall a very good soundtrack album, even the progressive elements are not very strong. The theme is very catchy and well-orchestrated. A soundtrack that really well suited to the story. Get the excitement of sailing away to the sea while spinning this album.

 Nocturne - The Piano Album by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.19 | 15 ratings

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Nocturne - The Piano Album
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I had the idea of an all solo piano performances release as this Nocturne´s cover art suggests and kind of thought that this approach will simplify Vangelis usually intricate and sugarly powered arrangements to a more even ground but no and no.

This work is, to call it somehow, like a Vangelis semi-unplugged studio project. Yes the piano almost always leads and the modified or new "symphonic" and "electronic" arrangement revolve around it. But do they work as to become a memorable reinterpretations of a selected number of already published pieces (6 tracks) ? Are the new tracks (11) really newflanged in these kind of piano fields? Not really and worse than that few pieces achieve what I thought beforehand and more than once the music writing scratches deep into Vangelis´ultra-corny side which is just like saying too much.

But even if it is not my cup of tea, Vangelis sure has a quiet recognizable self constructed musical language (maybe too much, but all his and that is worth its weight in stars in my book), therefore above the only fan´s and collector´s stars, but really not as good (except for a couple of tracks) as to buy as many 3 stars only albums are.

***3 minus PA´s stars.

 Nocturne - The Piano Album by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.19 | 15 ratings

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Nocturne - The Piano Album
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Vangelis, one of the pioneers of progressive electronic music, has been putting out albums for quite some time and has a large discography that focuses on varied types of electronic music. There is the straightforward electronic music, some avant garde experimental music, minimalistic, classically influenced, pop, and soundtracks. Among his discography, there is something for everyone.

'Nocturne' is an album released in early 2019 that focuses on the sound of the piano, however, it isn't exactly a solo piano album. The piano is the lead instrument, but it is supported by a lot of lush synthesizers that are also there for support and variety. This is a welcome addition to this album and helps with a fuller feel to the tracks supporting the piano throughout. The tracks are made up of a combination of new material (11 tracks) and new arrangements of past material (6 tracks). In these tracks, we get the first recordings on a studio album of Vangelis on a grand piano. The synths are tastefully done and not overly dramatic, but act as the support. There are also times when effects are used with the piano to create echo effects and changes in timbre.

'Nocturnal Promenade' was the first track released several weeks ago to help announce the new album. It is a nice opener and is a good example of what you will find on this albums. 'To the Unknown Man' is a re-arrangement of the track from the previous album 'Spiral'. This one is even more beautiful and if you are familiar with his past works, you should recognize it easily. 'Movement Nine' is another new arrangement of the track from the album 'Mythodia' and it features a center section where the electronics take over for a short time.

Three tracks original to this album follow. 'Moonlight Reflections' is a very pensive and lovely track, with very minimal support (if any) from electronics in the lower end and some harp effects at the end. 'Through the Night Mist' uses an echo and other effects to help sustain the piano melody and the effects are well used to help create an emotional and lovely piece. 'Early Years' uses more electronics on the melody this time and as it continues it turns into more of a symphonic affair, while the piano plays a supporting role this time and it sounds like one of his older compositions from around the 'Chariots of Fire' stage of his career.

Next is a new arrangement of 'Love Theme (from 'Blade Runner)', one of Vangelis' most popular themes. It is as lovely as you would expect, almost sounding hymn-like, as the piano takes back the lead. 'Sweet Nostalgia' is another original song. This one does seem to fall into the nostalgia trap (to match the title?) in that it seems to be a bit schmaltzy for my taste, but I expected a bit of that. After that, we get the only track on the album that is all electronically produced strings without any piano whatsoever in 'Intermezzo'. It acts simply as the type of track it is named to be, a track placed in the program to bridge the first and second parts of the album.

'To a Friend' starts off the 2nd half of the album with an original track. This has a beautiful and emotional melody, which is all nice, but about now, something with a different tempo would have been nice and it wouldn't take away from the album if done right. However, I would imagine someone interested in this album probably would expect the same romanticism through the album. Next, a new arrangement of a very old Vangelis track follows. This time it is 'La Petite Fille de la Mer' from the album 'L'Apocalypse Des Animaux'. It helps to drive the album along with these new arrangements by inserting more familiar tracks that are more than just unknown sentimental new songs which, without the anchor of familiarity, can start to sound the same especially with initial listens. This is a lovely arrangement in a nice pensive mode. An original track follows with 'Longing'. The effects used on the piano here give it a different and slightly subdued tone.

The one that most people will be looking for as far as a re-arrangement would of course be the 'Chariots of Fire (Main Theme)' and that is what follows. The theme is played by the piano with synth effects following. The performance of the theme is quite pensive and lush, almost making it unfamiliar, but you will pick out the theme. I like the arrangement because it makes it brand new, but familiar. It even takes the melody to a minor key for a short time at one point, which was a nice touch.

Two original tracks follow this. 'Unfulfilled Desire' is very slow and pensive, less melodic and more minimal which would almost become ambient if not for the string effects, which are more dynamic this time. 'Lonesome' has more movement, but remains somewhat pensive. This one seems somewhat inspired by 'Moonlight Sonata' (first movement of course), by Beethoven. The last re-arrangement on the album is another famous work from a soundtrack, '1492: Conquest of Paradise'. Starting out a bit hesitantly, the melody and background develops into a beautiful and rhapsodic song with a lot of emotion. This one is the best of the re-arranged tracks. We finish with an original called 'Pour Melia'. This track is short and acts as a lullaby with the string effects and a music-box style effect carrying the melody.

No doubt this is a beautiful album full of lush and lovely songs inspired by the night. The overall peaceful feeling doesn't change much throughout the album, but there is a nice use of dynamics that lend to creating some emotional passages. There really isn't much here that lends itself to being progressive, but you can't deny that the production and sound is amazing. I would have liked to have heard a few changes in tempo here, and it could have been done without really making it feel out of place, but don't expect to hear anything groundbreaking or with much variation over the spirit of the album. It was a good addition to include the new arrangements here for the sake of familiarity, and they are all done very tastefully. As nice as it all is, though, it doesn't lend itself to being progressive, so only for that reason I have to consider it a good album, but not necessarily excellent. However, Vangelis fans like myself will enjoy it and will be excited about the new material on here.

 Blade Runner (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 237 ratings

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Blade Runner (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Even though the movie 'Blade Runner' was released in 1982, the official score for the movie by Vangelis was not released until 1994. There was an orchestral version released much earlier, but it wasn't the actual score, and, even though the music by Vangelis was loved by the critics and the fans, it wasn't available, except for a few tracks on collection albums, until much later.

The music, as far as electronic music is concerned, is considered very influential. Some of the music is taken from the score, but not all of it. Some of it is also inspired by the film but not used in the film itself. Either way, it does flow quite smoothly and is hard to tell which music was on the score and which was left off.

There is some film dialogue on this soundtrack, but it is only on tracks 1, 2 and 12. It isn't overbearing, except maybe on the 2nd track, and is mostly done tastefully so as to almost seem like an electronic field recording. It doesn't seem to be dubbed in like it does on other soundtracks.

The music also flows from one track to the other, except for tracks 5, 6, and 7, which has silence after each track. This works well for continuity.

As far as listen-ability, the 'Main Titles' track is good, but it isn't the full track, which is only available on bootlegs as far as I know. 'Blush Response' has too much dialog and takes a while to get moving because of that, but the 2nd half is better. However, the music really gets better on 'Wait for Me' which features a nice, soft jazz feel and includes sax from Dick Morrissey, who is a well-known British jazz artist. The sound is not new age, as would be the fear of most, but is much better.

'Rachel's Song' features wordless vocals surrounded by peaceful effects, some choir effects, and a rather ambient tone. Other than the vocals, which I find a bit distracting, this is a nice track. 'Love Theme' is a lush and romantic feeling track, which seems to be aimed a little more towards a radio-friendly sound. This one was previously available on the 'Themes' collection.

'One More Kiss Dear' features processed vocals made to sound like an old lounge-jazz recording. Vocals are by Demis Roussos who was Vangelis' bandmate from 'Aphrodite's Child'. 'Blade Runner Blues' follows this and is the longest track on the album at almost 9 minutes. It is a slow, blue-sy, yet ambient track, all electronic, but the main melody has the sound of a muted brass or sax.

'Memories of Green' was previously available on the album 'See You Later' released in 1980, so is not original to this soundtrack. It was also available on the 'Themes' collection. This also has a slight jazz feel to it, led by an electronic simulated piano melody with ambient electronic effects surrounding it. 'Tales of the Future' is another supplemental track inspired by the film. It features a more electronic feel, with mid-eastern sounding vocals with an echo effect. It has a more intense and unsettling feel than the previous tracks.

The mid-eastern feel continues with simulated violin on 'Damask Rose', this time with no vocals. Again, suspense builds with a minor key and darker effects. The 'End Credits' follows. This is the one that most will recognize. It is one of the few tracks on the album with a faster rhythm, which is more paced by the music than by percussion, even though there is some there, more as an orchestral effect. The music is dramatic and exciting, which contrasts with the feeling of most of the rest of the album, but is very effective for soundtrack music, and one of Vangelis' more famous themes. It all ends off with 'Tears in Rain' which starts with dialog surrounded by peaceful effects. Ambient music with effects continue after the dialogue ends.

Being a fan of the film, I appreciate the music as the soundtrack as it all fits well, mysterious yet not overpowering. Some of the additional music tends to distract a bit, and I prefer the music itself over the added dialog and vocal sections, but it is not used to an overabundance. As far as albums, I don't consider it one of his best or most enjoyable, but as far as a soundtrack, I can't see how any other style of music would have been this effective for the film. By itself it is nice, but not exceptional, and because of that and it's influence on ambient and electronic music, it gets 4 stars.

 Blade Runner (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 237 ratings

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Blade Runner (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is my 1000th review; I wished to spot an album personally dear to me (and, as always, preferably without a huge amount of preceding reviews) which I haven't yet reviewed in all these years. This soundtrack album is exactly such case. Vangelis has been one of my favourite artists since the early 90's. Speaking of film music in general, it's not a field I would actively listen to -- other than as the integral part of the movie experience itself, of course. My two favourite film composers are Vangelis and Ennio Morricone; their music have the ability to move me emotionally also without the film context. What makes this very album even more special to me is the fact that I love it much more than the Ridley Scott movie from 1982, no matter how legendary classic of the SciFi genre it is. Besides, the music heard in the movie is notably inferior compared to the album, which was finished over a decade later.

The music is seducingly sensual, indeed electronic music at its most elegant. The production is head and shoulders above the average of the time, and it still feels fresh, not outdated. Well, perhaps the saxophone in 'Love Theme' is a bit cheesy. The music on the album paints very vividly the dystopian world somewhere in the future, not to mention the emotional content of the film, especially what happens between Deckard, the hunter of "replicants", human-like androids, and Rachael, the woman who painfully learns to be an artefact with planted memories instead of human being. Vangelis has edited some of the film dialogue into the music. This feature is simply fantastic in the case of Blade Runner. I got shivers down my spine hearing Rachael's frail words to Deckard, or the famous dying monologue from Roy Batty, the leader of dangerous replicants, in 'Tears in Rain'. Apart from those film dialogues/monologues, the album features the voices of Mary Hopkin (the one who had a hit in 'Those Were the Days') and Demis Roussos, Vangelis' bandmate from Aphrodite's Child.

The tracks flow seamlessly in a beautiful manner. This is music to float in, to listen to in a certain mood, not as a meaningless background music. Hats off also to Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982) whose original novel to which Blade Runner is based on is titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (1968). It would be far-fetched to say this was a masterpiece of progressive rock, as it isn't progressive rock, but in my opinion it is a masterpiece of electronic music and film music. Five stars.

 Albedo 0.39 by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 184 ratings

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Albedo 0.39
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Albedo 0.39 is the rating of the sun's light reflected off of the planet Earth. That means it reflects 39% of the sunlight it receives back into space. This is based off of a scale that an albedo of 1.00 (or 100%) means that all of the light received from the sun is reflected back into space. This concept of space physics provides the title of Vangelis' follow up album ('Albedo 0.39') to his highly lauded 'Heaven and Hell' album. Where the previous album was classically inspired, this album is more inspired by modern music, thus it gives it a different feel. The album just feels more like an electronic album, which is what the intent was. The concept of this album are all based around science, more specifically, space physics. All of the instruments are played by Vangelis, both electronics and acoustics including drums.

'Pulstar' is a very upbeat track which centers around a pulsing synthesizer. A melody is introduced and the music builds upon that with other synthesized sounds. The melody is catchy and easy to remember, and drives the song all the way through. The clearness of the chimes is very nice as it builds, giving things a nice sparkly sound, and the hard synthesizer hits throughout create tension and the short counter melodies keep things interesting. Layers ebb and flow creating some very cool sounds. This track ends abruptly and goes into the next track 'Freefall' with a recording of a speaking clock. A Gamelan creates the main melody here along with a synth that accompanies the melody note for note. Other counter melodies are created with other synths. This track is much more pensive and quiet than the previous one with subdued percussive sounds, and has an oriental sound to it. 'Mare Tranquillitatis' is the next track inspired by the lunar formation. It is a short track with spacey sounds and moon landing transmissions.

'Main Sequence' has a fast pulsing synth as the base with a very non-typical percussion pattern. This one is probably the most progressive track on the album. What sounds like improvisation comes from one synth while jazz chord progressions go on with another. This all finally ends about 2 minutes before the track is over and the remaining time is rather ambient, but eventually ends with a major chord progression. 'Sword of Orion' is another short track just over two minutes. It's a nice melody over the top of a broken chord, but it kind of meanders around. 'Alpha' takes a beautiful simple melody and simply builds layer upon layer adding different sounds and instruments. This will later become Vangelis' trademark sound, and is probably one of the styles he is best at. It is the same style that you hear in his most popular music including 'Chariots of Fire'. Very nice track, and a nice break from the dischord and dissonance that have appeared in other tracks on this album, and well placed in the track order.

I like the fact that Vangelis used both synthesizer and standard instruments on this album, it really gives this electronic music a lot of depth. This is very apparent in the two parts of 'Nucleogenesis' as he utilizes an organ to start things off, then adds in synths, drums and other instruments throughout. This suite is also very progressive and dramatic, with tricky rhythms and interesting melodies. Very well orchestrated throughout both parts, but Part 2 is a more structured sound, more predictable, and more repetitive, so I find Part 1 to be the better of the two because it is more progressive. However, Part 2 does take a strange turn towards the last part of the track and then returns to form before the end. 'Albedo 0.39' the title track, is a reading of Earth facts. Synths ebb and swirl around the narration. Then 'Albedo 0.39' is repeated over and over until the voice fades and the synths continue. It might be interesting, but not so much in a musical sense. Kind of a flat way to end what is otherwise a good album.

Kudos to Vangelis for exploring different musical avenues and ideas and not resting on his successful 'Heaven and Hell' classical style. He would continue to explore new ideas, and also expanding on the sound that made him popular. He would also author many soundtracks, some of them being 5 star recordings. This album is not his best, but it is still excellent, even with a few weak moments. The good points definitely outweigh the bad on this one.

 Voices by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.82 | 91 ratings

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Voices
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator 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!

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

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