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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 | 40 ratings
Sex Power (OST)
1970
2.44 | 34 ratings
Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit
1972
3.66 | 108 ratings
Earth
1973
3.77 | 139 ratings
L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST)
1973
3.46 | 63 ratings
Can You Hear The Dogs Barking? [Aka: Ignacio] (OST)
1975
3.89 | 240 ratings
Heaven and Hell
1975
3.69 | 188 ratings
Albedo 0.39
1976
3.21 | 54 ratings
La Fête Sauvage
1976
3.74 | 185 ratings
Spiral
1977
2.55 | 91 ratings
Beaubourg
1978
3.72 | 93 ratings
The Dragon
1978
3.25 | 81 ratings
Hypothesis [Aka: Visions Of The Future]
1978
3.81 | 153 ratings
China
1979
3.66 | 63 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Odes
1979
3.53 | 100 ratings
Opéra Sauvage (OST)
1979
2.61 | 81 ratings
See You Later
1980
3.08 | 144 ratings
Chariots Of Fire (OST)
1981
3.43 | 97 ratings
Antarctica (OST)
1983
3.46 | 93 ratings
Soil Festivities
1984
3.62 | 87 ratings
Mask
1985
2.35 | 62 ratings
Invisible Connections
1985
2.97 | 40 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Rapsodies
1986
3.62 | 90 ratings
Direct
1988
3.31 | 89 ratings
The City
1990
3.95 | 163 ratings
1492 - Conquest of Paradise (OST)
1992
4.12 | 241 ratings
Blade Runner (OST)
1994
3.82 | 93 ratings
Voices
1995
3.27 | 97 ratings
Oceanic
1996
3.80 | 87 ratings
El Greco
1998
2.73 | 72 ratings
Mythodea
2001
2.72 | 60 ratings
Alexander (OST)
2004
2.91 | 32 ratings
El Greco (OST)
2007
2.60 | 5 ratings
Amore (OST)
2015
3.65 | 45 ratings
Rosetta
2016
3.22 | 17 ratings
Nocturne - The Piano Album
2019
4.00 | 4 ratings
Juno to Jupiter
2020

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

3.60 | 15 ratings
Neuronium and Vangelis A Separate Affair
1996

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

3.41 | 18 ratings
Mythodea-Music for the NASA mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey
2001
3.60 | 10 ratings
Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka
2013

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

2.86 | 23 ratings
Best of Vangelis
1978
2.96 | 19 ratings
Greatest Hits
1981
3.01 | 39 ratings
Themes
1989
3.73 | 11 ratings
Best In Space
1994
3.78 | 9 ratings
Space Themes
1995
3.53 | 9 ratings
Gift: Greatest Hits
1997
3.56 | 33 ratings
Portraits
1997
2.88 | 19 ratings
Reprise 1990-1999
1999
3.83 | 6 ratings
Cosmos
2001
2.59 | 6 ratings
The Best Of Vangelis
2003
2.42 | 21 ratings
Odyssey - The Definitive Collection
2003
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Music Of Vangelis
2005
4.75 | 41 ratings
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary
2007
4.50 | 10 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
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Vangelis Radio Special
1975
3.00 | 1 ratings
So Long Ago, So Clear
1975
5.00 | 9 ratings
Pulstar / Alpha
1976
4.67 | 6 ratings
To The Unknown Man
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
Dervish D
1977
4.00 | 5 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
3.00 | 1 ratings
My Love
1980
3.25 | 5 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
3.05 | 3 ratings
Good to See You
1990
4.25 | 4 ratings
Conquest Of Paradise
1992
3.00 | 1 ratings
Voices
1995
2.10 | 2 ratings
Song of the Seas
1996
4.00 | 2 ratings
Ask the Mountains
1996
4.00 | 1 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
 Opéra Sauvage (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.53 | 100 ratings

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Opéra Sauvage (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

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

4 stars "Opera Sauvage" was released in 1979, quite a busy time for Vangelis and also during his most prolific and successful times. It falls between "China" and "See You Later", both albums being more accessible, the former being an excellent love letter to China and the latter being more focused on a "popular" sound. "Opera Sauvage" in contrast, is another soundtrack, made for a nature documentary. However, this album is more like Vangelis' signature sound and less like his other soundtracks. Many consider it one of his best and most important albums. It has a nice, warm feel to it, not cold like so many other electronic albums that were being released at the time.

Hymne - This short track features quite a famous melody from Vangelis which has been rearranged several times for commercials and what-not. As the title suggests, the melody does have a hymn-like style to it. It's a short composition which repeats the melody a few times and becomes more dramatic and regal as it goes with orchestral-style percussion.

Rêve - A much longer track at over 12 minutes. It is more atmospheric, but also features a lovely, slow melody that is less reliant on a repeating theme that has a celestial feel to it. Vangelis utilizes the electric piano quite extensively here which gives it the bright and airy texture. The notes are sustained to give a semblance of infinity, or a slow passage of time with a nice, dreamy sound. There is a quiet, thumping feeling pushed far back in the mix and some nice, fluttering effects from the synths surrounding the main melody played by the electric piano. There is an occasional shot of jazz sensibility throughout and a marching beat comes in towards the end.

L'Enfant - At this point, the album moves back to a more melodic-based track were the theme is presented and then later developed as it continues. This is another fairly recognizable theme presented with the piano, with brass synth effects taking over as the music slowly intensifies.

Mouettes - Another short track that also works on the theme and variation style. Instead of the classical-based feel of the previous tracks, this one has a romantic-era feel to it. It's also quite ambient.

Chromatique - Less melodic and based on a chromatic line as the title suggests. An acoustic guitar is added to help support the descending melody and is used throughout. It's got an interesting feel, almost more cinematic and some really nice effects and synth textures, also harsh at times, so the guitar helps to warm it up a bit.

Irlande - Another theme and variation style piece. Again, the title hints at the style, which is definitely Celtic sounding and quite serene.

Flamants Roses - Another long track that approaches 12 minutes. The track actually goes through several styles, tempos and dynamics and it features a harp played by Jon Anderson, the only instrument on the album not played by Vangelis. The first section is fairly ambient, but it moves to a more dynamic section in the 2nd section where it builds with a nice crescendo and dramatic feel and percussion bringing it to a climax. The 3rd section utilizes some bluesy flourishes and such which makes it even more interesting.

There are many that consider this album one of his best, if not his best. For me, it's a pleasant listen, but I don't quite hold it in the high esteem as most as it is a bit too predictable in many places, the exceptions being the two longer tracks and "Chromatique". Some of the melodies are a bit overplayed, and that probably factors into the slightly lower rating for me. However, I feel it is good enough to be 4 stars because the best tracks take up the most time on the album, but it doesn't quite get the stellar review from me as "Heaven and Hell" and a few of Vangelis' other albums. Still pretty good, but not the masterpiece that others might claim it is, especially in a progressive sense.

 China by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.81 | 153 ratings

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China
Vangelis Prog Related

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

4 stars In 1978, Vangelis released his last album recorded for RCA called "Beaubourg". Everything up to that point had been rather accessible in comparison, however, that album was quite experimental. Instead of being based on melody as his previous albums, this one was based on tones, textures and sounds and many of his fans were turned off by it not expecting to hear something so different from the norm. Even though there were a few albums released after this album ("The Dragon" and "Hypotesis"), these records consisted of earlier music which was improvised and were unofficial, not approved by Vangelis, and as a result, were pulled from the market. His next official non-soundtrack album "China" was released in 1979, and his fans breathed a collective sigh of relief at his return to a more accessible style.

Except for a violin solo on the song "The Plum Blossom" and a recitation on "The Little Fete", Vangelis performs all instruments on this album. Vangelis had never been to China, yet was still impressed with the music and culture for it to have an influence on the entire album, which is a concept album based on China as he envisioned it. The music is made up of shorter tracks this time around and consist of simple melodies influenced by Chinese music.

After a sudden noisy beginning that sounds like a steam locomotive barreling out of your speakers, we are transported to the track "Chung Kuo" which is a lovely melody over the top of lush synths and repeating tones that enhance the melody, which the listener will immediately associate with China. The ending of the track is peacefully taken over by a piano playing an embellishment of the melody which makes up "The Long March". "The Dragon" is much more electronic with cool effects and percussion. "The Plum Blossom" is a bit more organic with a bit of piano supporting a violin solo performed by Michel Ripoche. The violin part is quite playful swinging around the simple foundation provided by the piano, but soon the synths join in providing more sounds and textures. "The Tao of Love" uses an electric keyboard underneath a lovely plucked sting instrument that has a nice oriental flavor to it. Very romantic sound. "The Little Fete" uses woodwinds with an echo effect. Yeung Hak-Fun and Koon Fook Man provide narration for a recitative section on this track which is quite atmospheric. Vibes and keys provide more atmosphere when the recitation starts, which is based on poetry from around the 8th century by Li Bai

The 2nd side starts off with "Yin & Yang" which uses synths and string instruments. It starts off quite distinct and playful, but eventually moves to a more atmospheric feel with a more meandering feel. Then a throbbing synth and percussion gives the track more movement as it goes along. It's quite an exciting track as it incorporates more of a progressive sense to it. "Himalaya" is the longest track of the album at almost 11 minutes in length. This one uses synth effects to paint the picture of lofty peaks and windy snowfields. A dynamic drone in the background conjures up large expanses of land. Percussion marks the passage of time with steady sleigh bell-like beat constant throughout. Improvised piano plays lightly around the louder synth melody lines. "Summit" segues from the previous track and is a more dramatic and darker track than any of the previous ones. It's a nice way to end the album in a pensive mood.

Even though this one is more on the accessible side, this is a lovely album that some may wonder if it is early new age. It isn't that at all. These are beautifully constructed tracks inspired by the music and culture of China, staying surprisingly true to the country's sounds and styles, more along the classical traditions than the modern ones. It is one of my favorites in Vangelis' discography and well worth 4 stars.

 Spiral by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 185 ratings

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Spiral
Vangelis Prog Related

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

4 stars In 1977, Vangelis was already amassing a pretty impressive discography as a solo artist and was at a high point in his creative output, gaining impressive critical and popular acclaim after releasing 'Heaven and Hell' in 1975 and 'Albedo 0.39' in 1976, two of his most acclaimed albums. These, among with his numerous soundtrack albums, were proving to give him a great following and he wasn't quite at the point where he was going to change that yet.

So, for 1977, he released another conceptual album with 'Spiral', an album that would be based on the themes inspired by Tao beliefs of the nature of the universe moving in spirals. His album cover was simple, a spiraled stereo headphone chord suspended in air with a blue sky as the background, quite a fitting picture of music meeting with space and philosophy. The album isn't quite as well known as the preceding albums, even though it is based more on simplistic melodies meant to reflect the simplicity of the spiral philosophy. It would also consist of distinct tracks more than most of his preceding albums.

This also marks the first time that Vangelis would use what would become his instrument of choice for a while, the Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer, thus giving us the sound that he would be famous for. The first side consists of 3 tracks. 'Spiral' is based off of an arpeggio which varies throughout the track, broken up to create a melodic feel with a throbbing percussive feel deep in the background. Dynamics are used quite effectively to go from a dreamy to a stately feel with an organ style sound providing a regal melody. The music later boasts multiple layers teasing each other, the sounds and textures making this a nice kaleidoscope of sound even becoming busy at times. 'Ballad' is the only track that consists of any vocals, and they are processed wordless vocals sung by Vangelis which provides an understated melody. It features an electric organ and harmonica, builds to a percussive climax with timpani and brass instruments and then quiets down being led out with a beautiful harmonica melody. 'Dervish D' is explained in the program notes as having been 'inspired by the Dervish Dancer who by his whirling realizes the spiraling of the universe'. It acts in contrast to the previous more pensive track with its funky foundation created by a sequencer making it quite accessible and creating an infectious hook for the album along with a catchy synth melody.

Side two consists of two tracks each in the 9 minute range. 'To the Unknown Man' is probably the most memorable track of the album. There are three main sections to the song. The first part moves along pushed by a moderately slow pulse and melody. The 2nd time through the melody, processed strings join in giving it a smoother and lusher feeling. A marching rhythm begins as the dynamics build up in the 3rd go round and brass embellishments are added in. You can hear some foretelling of 'Chariots of Fire' and other well-known Vangelis tracks in this track. After a while, the beat turns into a more rock-oriented style and the synths give up melody for a more improvised style based on that original melody. The last track is '3+3' which reflects the 6/8 meter that comes along later in the track. It all starts out with a fast running arpeggio-based line that sounds a bit complex even with a synth motif played almost in counterpoint. It sound a bit off-kilter until the percussion comes in and starts to divide everything up into a more accessible rhythm. The fast moving sequence that remains as a foundation gives this track the most futuristic sound of all of the tracks on the album. The music shifts from straight melody to a more improvised feel as it moves along and it is also the most progressive of the tracks.

This album is definitely one of the more structured albums from Vangelis, though it's not necessarily radio friendly so to speak as the tracks are all fairly long for radio play. However, it is more accessible than some of his previous albums. Even with this move towards the easier listening style, it is still one of his lesser acknowledged albums, though it is one that I feel is worthwhile with plenty in it to make it interesting and fun to listen to. It retains it's appeal much better than some of Vangelis' extremely accessible albums which were blatant attempts to steal some radio air play time. He doesn't resort to that quite yet, so this one is still great and interesting at the same time, though a slight step down from the last two non-soundtrack albums.

 Heaven and Hell by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 240 ratings

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Heaven and Hell
Vangelis Prog Related

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

5 stars If you don't count soundtracks, "Heaven and Hell" is Vangelis' 2nd solo album after his breakup of the progressive band "Aphrodite's Child". Vangelis held on, at least to some extent, to his progressive roots from that band for the previous album "Earth", but for this album, released in 1975, he moves to a more classical approach with his use of synthesizers and keyboards. The album is considered one of his most important albums, and it is one where he performs everything except for the vocals that appear on the album.

Even though most labels list only two tracks, part 1 and part 2, these parts are actually divided up into separate sub- tracks, so it works more like a suite than a long-form composition. The album also features the first collaboration with Jon Anderson, which would eventually morph into a few albums by Jon & Vangelis. Some of the tracks are more of an avant-garde, experimental style (representing Hell) and more melodic and tranquil style (representing Heaven). However, instead of separating them out as taking up an album side each, the styles are mixed resulting in a nice feel of variety.

Side 1 of the album contains all of part 1 of the suite, beginning with "Bacchanale". Sounding like a dark and complex fanfare, the basic motif is a three-note riff with wide and varying intervals. After playing through a sequence of riffs on synth, the 2nd time through, it is played again joined by the vocal chorus, then it develops off of this in a frantic exchange between the vocals and synth, then repeating that pattern. It's quite a rousing beginning and promises an exciting album. The next subsections combine 3 movements of what is called "Symphony to the Powers B", the 3 movements make up over 13 minutes of this side. It has quite a cinematic feel with synths, piano and vocals, almost sounding like the famous composition by Orff, somewhat dark, yet also exalting. Some might recognize the theme of the 3rd movement as it was used as the theme to the PBS series "Cosmos" and was released as a single in 1981. It's a very impressive and symphonic track (meaning all three movements), one of Vagelis' best ever. This amazing work is followed by the debut of Vangelis & Jon Anderson performing together with the section titled "So Long Ago, So Clear". The song was written when Vangelis sat down and played the melody and Jon immediately wrote the words. Hymn- like and stately, it signaled the beginning of what would result in 3 albums of the duo working together.

The 2nd side is made up of 5 subsections of the 2nd part of the suite. Starting with a spooky and minimal track "Intestinal Bat" which definitely conjures up some eerie sentiments with its strange effects and noises, it shows the experimental side of Vangelis. "Needles & Bones" is more percussive and sounds like a dance of bones, interesting and even a bit of sinister playfulness. "12 o'Clock" is supposedly divided up into 2 parts totaling over 8 minutes. Subdued vocals and percussion sound as if it's coming from afar, but the percussion and synth effects wash out the choir vocals with a tense and dark mood. Suddenly, it's not so playful anymore. Treated vocal noises along with synth effects swirl around as heavy percussion continues and sudden jolts of synthesized chords signify some unpleasant surprises. Then some bells and wordless choir vocals take the place of the noises. Another guest vocalist (Vana Verouti) takes the lead from the choir with continued passionate wordless vocals and the synths follow along with chimes playing lightly behind it all. "Aries" has a lively march beat with another fanfare style melody with synths. The last section "A Way" cools things down quite quickly with a lovely, lullaby-like melody, pensive and more ambient.

There is a lot of emotion and dynamic in this album and the two sides are portrayed quite well. It's easy to see why this album was so appealing to those that were wishing to explore electronic music of that time as it is one of the most powerful and dynamic albums of its type. It's melodic and experimental, the best of both worlds. Even though Vangelis takes a more classical approach in his style on this album, it is still quite appealing and, for the most part, accessible, yet it is interesting and mesmerizing too. It is without question one of his most important albums and should be heard by all lovers of the electronic style.

 L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.77 | 139 ratings

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L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

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

4 stars Even though this album, which is officially Vangelis' 2nd album after leaving Aphrodite's Child, was released in 1973, the same year as "Earth", the music was actually recorded in 1970, the same year that he recorded the music for "Sex Power" (another soundtrack), "Hypothesis" and "The Dragon" (the latter two released without his approval and later withdrawn). During this time, Vangelis was in an experimental mode, searching for his signature sound by trying out different technology and playing around with musical styles. All of the above mentioned albums (except for "Earth") were recorded while he was still a part of Aphrodite's Child, meaning that he was quite prolific at the time.

As far as "L'Apocalypse des animaux", the music for this album was specifically written as another soundtrack, this time for a French TV series, a documentary about animals. There was quite a bit of music written for this series, much of which does not appear on the album, but is still in the documentary. Usually, when Vangelis writes music for a soundtrack, he does it after watching the film and composing for it. This time, however, he simply wrote music based on the fact that it was an animal documentary and then left it up to the showrunners to use what they needed.

The album consists of 7 tracks with the shortest being just over a minute and the longest at over 10 minutes. The overall album is quite short at about 33 minutes, so there was obviously more room to include more of the music he composed. Why this was left off is anyone's guess.

The first side of the album concentrates on simple melodic music, lovely, expansive and indicative of the style that Vangelis would become famous for. Starting with a short, upbeat track that has a nice tropical feel, the listener's attention is grabbed right away. The short track is named after the TV series. After this, "La Petite Fille de la Mer" (The LIttle Girl of the Sea - 5:54) is a delicate and beautiful waltz-like melody, reminding one of the music from "Chariots of Fire". It's airy and light with soft layers flowing around the melody played by the treated electric piano. "Le Singe bleu" (The Blue Monkey - 7:39) sees the light keys with a slow vibrato added but soon a very realistic trumpet effect takes the melody which is surprisingly pensive for a track representing a monkey. I'm thinking it's indicative of a sad monkey, not a monkey of the color blue, which would fit the bluesy feel of the music. On my edition, the next track is the short "L'Ours musician" (The Musician Bear - 1:03) which is a short, playful and lumbering track accented with loping drums and effects. On my edition, strangely enough, is the track "Mort du Loop" (The Death of the Wolf - 3:03), which all other track lists show these two tracks in reversed order from my album. This track has a nice piano and acoustic guitar effect, very spacious and lovely, similar to a European ballad.

While the first side of the album centered more on melody, the 2nd side concentrates on atmosphere and ambient style. "Creation du monde" (Creation of the World - ?) is the longest track on the album. However, the exact length is up for question as different sources show different timings. The album jacket claims it is 11:25, while the label says it is 17:45 (which this is an obvious misprint), Wikipedia says it is 10:03, and Discogs says it is 9:51. Either way, the timing on this one allows it to ebb and flow, being experimental and atmospheric with a lot of spacial feel. There is definitely no melody to worry about here or on the next track "La Mer Recommencee" (The Sea Again - 5:30). Continuing with ambience and atmosphere, there is also a clanging effect that randomly sounds out. Rolling drums and cymbals symbolize the waves and percussive noises will remind you of chattering seagulls.

This album was the impetus for Jon Anderson to contact Vangelis which led to a meeting of the two, and the beginning of the eventually resulting Jon & Vangelis albums. It definitely foreshadows the style Vangelis became famous for, thus making it a worthwhile album for almost anyone, though it's not his best, it's still very nice and relaxing and you don't need to see the visuals that go along with the music to enjoy it. The songs stand alone quite well. While the previous album "Earth" centered more on a popular, song-oriented style, this one works more for atmosphere, and it is a much better album because of that.

 Earth by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.66 | 108 ratings

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Earth
Vangelis Prog Related

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

3 stars Even though "Earth" is the first official album that Vangelis recorded after the breakup of Aphrodite's Child, Vangelis had recorded a few other albums that were more like soundtracks that comes closer to the sound he would become famous for as an artist than this album. That would explain why many consider this album the logical follow-up to the classic Aphrodite's Child album "666" and claim that it sound more like their next album would sound. Around this time, he also rehearsed with Yes, but never became an official member.

"Earth" is more of a hodgepodge of styles and sound with Vangelis playing most of the instruments. He also brought along his ex-bandmate Anargyros Koulouris to play guitar, provide background vocals and to help his endeavor to tie in better to the defunct band. Also along for this album is bassist and lead singer Robert Fitoussi (also known as F.R. David) who would add his contributions and vocals on 4 of the tracks. A fellow known as Warren Shapovitch also provides narration on "We Were All Uprooted" and the album closer "A Song".

Come On - a guitar led opener driven by a riff and lyrics that repeat the words "Come on" over and over, but the heavier guitar sound is something you don't expect on a Vangelis album. Thankfully, this underwhelming track is short. We Are All Uprooted - crash of thunder, click of percussion and a mysterious sounding synth bring in spoken word poetry giving it a sort of native-american feel with psychedelic leanings as the guitar meanders along. It's actually quite nice, especially when the synths bring in some orchestral flavor. Sunny Earth - Continuing in a world music style, this one brings in tribal wordless vocals in a more African flair. A steady beating drum and minimalistic plucked tabla give it all an ethnic and wandering sound. Halfway through, more percussion comes in and the plucked strings get more playful, but it remains surprisingly minimal, even when the swirling synth comes in. He-O - A bit more intensity here, but the ethnic flair continues. The vocals are more interesting here than they were for the opener. Nice piano and keyboard flourishes add some needed embellishments to help bring this track out. High and low vocals sing the same notes in contrasting registers.

Ritual - Wordless vocals in a chant-like singing style at first, then a thumping drums increases the intensity a bit and then the singing comes back with the keys following the melody. This could have developed a bit more, but is short. Let it Happen - The tempo is a bit faster with the continued ethnic sound, a bit less obvious here, and with a nice vocal melody. A synth-led instrumental carries the middle bridge as we get a more familiar sounding Vangelis interlude before returning to the vocal melody. The City - a short bit with sounds of a city with thumping tribal drums beat loudly along and a bell chimes. My Face in the Rain - Pensive and lovely with vocals accompanied by atmospheric synths. You can almost hear the future here as it has the feel of the Jon and Vangelis songs. Watch Out - Dark drones and a few sudden dynamic outbursts start this out, then a beating drum brings in a rhythm as intensity increases with the psychedelic/world music feel. A sudden change in style breaks the build as things turn more progressive with interesting rhythm patterns and keyboard sounds. A Song - Carrying the mysterious sense of the last track, wordless, treated with tremolo vocals from Robert bring in another spoken word section recalling the poetic feel of the 2nd track. Nice atmospheric synths close it out with a minimal melody again reminding one of Vangelis' future style.

For the most part, this is not much like many of Vangelis' albums that would come out later. However, the fact that there are some passages that reflect that sound let you know that he was searching for his niche at the time. The album might seem a little disjointed because of that, but in reality, the only track that doesn't feel like it belongs is the awful opening track "Come On". Other than that, there is the tribal/ethnic flair of the songs that actually do tie things together better than might not be noticed on the first few plays. The actual disjointed feel comes from some somewhat underdeveloped ideas, as if Vangelis wanted to display his entire palette on one short album. Throughout the album, I get the feeling that things are a bit too restrained, and it doesn't feel as if the power wasn't really released here like it should have been. The album is not bad though, and should be one that is searched out by Vangelis fans, but don't expect it to be his best either. There are some nice passages throughout though and you can definitely hear the future of Vangelis' music in many places. It does work well, however, as a minimalistic-ethnic music album, if you can ignore the first track.

 Juno to Jupiter by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Juno to Jupiter
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars Vangelis continues his collaboration with space agencies, depicting in this occasion the flight of the space probe Juno to the giant planet Jupiter. Then, one would have all the right to expect the customary space sounds collage, but this time one would also be wrong.

The orchestration wisely added to the wide keyboards array really pays off, setting the emotional frame for the trip, just as if the listener was aboard and confronting the loneliness and empty vastness of outer space. A particularly fortunate feature of the orchestral arrangement is to be found in the pulsating sound of the timpani, underpinning the synths & strings textures, and creating a great association between human pulse and magnetic fields perturbations.

Of course, the mythological element couldn't be absent, as well as the seizing of Juno & Jupiter in the roles of the female and male character respectively. Precisely at this point comes into place the collaboration of the soprano, which is a sort of aquired taste, but here works really nice.

 Dervish D by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Dervish D
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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
3.05 | 3 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
2.10 | 2 ratings

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Song of the Seas
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

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

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