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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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Decca 2019
Blade Runner (Music From The Original Soundtrack)(Vinyl)Blade Runner (Music From The Original Soundtrack)(Vinyl)
Atlantic Catalog Group 2018
Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary [3 CD]Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary [3 CD]
Polydor 2008
$19.61 (used)
Light & Shadow the best of VangelisLight & Shadow the best of Vangelis
Warner Bros Uk 2013
$3.37 (used)
Decca 2016
$6.38 (used)
Atlantic Uk 2008
$1.72 (used)
Polydor 1989
$1.62 (used)
The CityThe City
Atlantic 2009
$1.57 (used)
Chariots of FireChariots of Fire
Remastered · Soundtrack
$4.32 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Vangelis - Chariots Of Fire - Vinyl Record LP Album - POLD 5160 - 1981 USD $22.59 Buy It Now
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Vangelis CHARIOTS OF FIRE soundtrack (Polydor POLS1026) 1981 British LP USD $3.99 Buy It Now
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1976 RCA Victor Records AFL1-5110 Vangelis "Heaven and Hell" USD $9.00 Buy It Now
Oceanic by Vangelis (CD, Jan-1997, Atlantic (Label)) USD $4.73 Buy It Now
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Vangelis - See You Later - CD (Polydor 821 932-2) USD $14.36 Buy It Now
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Jon And Vangelis...I'll Find My Way Home..... 7" Single.....1981 POLYDOR records USD $1.28 [0 bids]
Jon And Vangelis.....SHORT STORIES....10 Track LP...1980 POLYDOR Records USD $2.57 [0 bids]
VANGELIS 'Chariots Of Fire' (SHM 3112) Vinyl LP Album. UK 1982 - EX/VG+ USD $5.15 [0 bids]
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Jon & Vangelis - Short Stories (CD) USD $7.73 Buy It Now 38m 15s
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Jon & Vangelis - The Friends Of Mister Cairo (CD) USD $7.73 Buy It Now 38m 23s
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Vangelis - Mythodea (Music For The NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey) [New Vinyl] USD $34.66 Buy It Now 3h 14m
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VANGELIS Chariots Of Fire LP 1982 Polydor UK 2nd press NEW SEALED USD $14.99 Buy It Now 4h 40m
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VANGELIS Portraits [So Long Ago, So Clear] SOUTH AFRICA Cat# STARCD 6246 *sealed USD $16.99 Buy It Now 5h 39m
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Jon And Vangelis - Short Stories LP - 2383 565 - Yes - VG+ USD $9.67 Buy It Now 6h 11m
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Vangelis, Mask, 1985, Polydor Records, 422 825 245-1 Y-1 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 8h 28m
Jon and Vangelis Friends Of Mr Cairo Polydor POLD 5033 1981 Non-gatefold LP USD $2.57 [0 bids]
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9h 23m
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More places to buy VANGELIS music online Buy VANGELIS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

VANGELIS discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.87 | 36 ratings
Sex Power (OST)
2.42 | 31 ratings
Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit
3.67 | 94 ratings
3.74 | 118 ratings
L' Apocalypse Des Animaux (OST)
3.46 | 58 ratings
Can You Hear The Dogs Barking? [Aka: Ignacio] (OST)
3.83 | 215 ratings
Heaven And Hell
3.68 | 170 ratings
Albedo 0.39
3.20 | 49 ratings
La Fête Sauvage
3.73 | 157 ratings
2.53 | 82 ratings
3.74 | 82 ratings
The Dragon
3.25 | 74 ratings
Hypothesis [Aka: Visions Of The Future]
3.78 | 130 ratings
3.64 | 54 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Odes
3.48 | 89 ratings
Opéra Sauvage (OST)
2.55 | 70 ratings
See You Later
3.02 | 130 ratings
Chariots Of Fire (OST)
3.40 | 86 ratings
Antarctica (OST)
3.45 | 80 ratings
Soil Festivities
3.62 | 76 ratings
2.33 | 58 ratings
Invisible Connections
2.91 | 36 ratings
Vangelis & Irene Papas: Rapsodies
3.60 | 82 ratings
3.29 | 78 ratings
The City
3.95 | 143 ratings
1492 - Conquest Of Paradise (OST)
4.11 | 219 ratings
Blade Runner (OST)
3.70 | 83 ratings
3.22 | 89 ratings
3.80 | 75 ratings
El Greco
2.69 | 64 ratings
2.69 | 52 ratings
Alexander (OST)
2.89 | 27 ratings
El Greco (OST)
3.64 | 34 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
Nocturne - The Piano Album

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

3.50 | 14 ratings
Neuronium and Vangelis A Separate Affair

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

3.25 | 13 ratings
Mythodea-Music for the NASA mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey
3.58 | 7 ratings
Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka

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

2.83 | 22 ratings
Best of Vangelis
2.91 | 17 ratings
Greatest Hits
2.91 | 35 ratings
3.67 | 9 ratings
Best In Space
3.75 | 8 ratings
Space Themes
3.48 | 6 ratings
Gift: Greatest Hits
3.47 | 27 ratings
2.86 | 16 ratings
Reprise 1990-1999
3.75 | 4 ratings
2.52 | 4 ratings
The Best Of Vangelis
2.27 | 16 ratings
Odyssey - The Definitive Collection
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Music Of Vangelis
4.77 | 37 ratings
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary
4.67 | 3 ratings

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)
2.00 | 2 ratings
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Vangelis Radio Special
5.00 | 6 ratings
Pulstar / Alpha
4.67 | 3 ratings
To The Unknown Man
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hymne / Irlande
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Long March (Part I & II)
3.09 | 3 ratings
Not a Bit - All Of It
3.00 | 1 ratings
Chariots of Fire
3.80 | 5 ratings
Silent Portraits
3.13 | 4 ratings
The Will Of The Wind
4.17 | 6 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
Conquest Of Paradise
3.31 | 11 ratings
2002 FIFA World Cup Official Anthem
1.75 | 4 ratings
Świadectwo - Muzyka Filmowa (with Robert Janson)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blade Runner (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 219 ratings

Blade Runner (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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 | 219 ratings

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 | 170 ratings

Albedo 0.39
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Albedo 0.39 by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 170 ratings

Albedo 0.39
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars The second half of the 70s was a same fantastic and also hideous time for electronic music. It was fantastic because that was when the first modern synthesizers came to be and they opened a new world to artists like Kraftwerk and Vangelis himself. It was also hideous because suddenly everybody thought that they could make a record all by themselves, and that has resulted in much of what we have of terrible in today's music.... but this is not a time to talk abouit that!

Now, talking about Vangelis, pretty much everyone knows him, born in Greece, he was a member of Aphrodite's Child and in early 70's he was engulfed with 'keyboard music'.

'Albedo 0.39' is Vangelis' eighth album and sees the musician at a peak in his long career. Like many albums of that period in music (mid 70's) the theme of 'Albedo 0.39' revolves around the Space. Albedo, or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflection power of a surface, and in this specific case, Albedo is the power of light reflection of the Earth (which in 1976 was 0.39, hence the name of the album).

Like Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow (from the same year), 'Albedo 0.39' needs a moment of your time to be fully appreciated, it's not a record you can play and just use it as background music for wahetever you're doing. No! The floating sounds and the whole 'we're in Space' thing were made for the listener to lay down in a comfortable bed (or sofa) and imagine a movie inside its head. Let your imagination run with the music.

On these days we live in this is more than a challenge, isn't it?! Will you face it?

3,5 stars

 Chariots of Fire by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.00 | 1 ratings

Chariots of Fire
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Vangelis had made music for films before, but this Oscar-winning British film about the Parisian Olympic games in 1924 was the first one to receive international fame, and it also made Vangelis more famous; one of the Oscars was - deservedly - for the original score. [I remember when I saw the film probably in the 90's, the decade I listened to the music of Vangelis quite a lot, I thought that the music often seemed more outdated than on the album. But let's get to this single.]

The main theme 'Chariots of Fire' might have been the first Vangelis tune I ever heard. If I had to choose just one word to describe the tune, it would be "fresh". No need for more detailed descriptions, as I believe most of you are familiar with it. The B-side contains 'Eric's Theme' which is pretty good too, but not as delightful as the main theme. Typically soft electronic sounds of Vangelis of the time, with a rather slow tempo and not much progress. This can safely be labelled as Easy Listening instrumental music. The source album in its entirety is more recommendable than this single.

 Rosetta by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 34 ratings

Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars `Rosetta' is a very unexpected but welcome return album from legendary Greek composer Vangelis, his first non-soundtrack work in over fifteen years, and an intelligent, exquisite and atmospheric work it proves to be. Space travel has been a recurring motif in some of the keyboardist's earlier back-catalogue, including 1976's experimental space physics-themed electronic work `Albedo 0.39' and the divisive neo-classical `Mythodea' in 2001, and the artist here offers a fully instrumental collection of elegant ambient/electronic compositions dedicated to the Rosetta space probe mission and its team.

Opener ` Origins (Arrival)' is a widescreen cinematic-flavoured synth overture with trickles of electronic loops dancing majestically in the classic Vangelis manner, regal organ piercing the black space canvass, drifting seamlessly into the sprinkling of chimes and low-key ebbing hum that infuses `Starstuff's gentle ambient caress and its lightest of rising/falling oscillations. Mystery permeates `Infinitude's classical sweep of synth choirs and emulated orchestration, tasteful romantic themes suddenly rising up between the glorious twinkling piano and ringing crystalline slivers of `Exo Genesis' that could have easily appeared on many of the artist's Seventies works, and the brief `Celestial Whispers' is a cooing synth lullaby. Gurgling break-neck sequencer patterns bounce over brooding darker soundtrack-like veils and tense rumbling drums throughout `Albedo 0.06', and the contemplative synth rumination of `Sunlight' rises with joyful grandeur in its uplifting second half.

The title track `Rosetta' is a strange's a welcome change from what's been presented on the first half of the disc, but it implements guitars, trumpet and orchestration (hard to tell if they're all emulated on the keyboard or the real deal here, as no firm instrument list is provided in the CD booklet) to present a slightly syrupy romantic theme that would call to mind the pristine fragility of `La Petite Fille de la mer' off his wondrous early 1970 soundtrack `L'Apocalypse des Animaux' if it was much more restrained. `Philae's Descent' is another of those frantic and busy electronic- symphonic scores fraught with tension that popped up on his `Albedo 0.39' and `Heaven and Hell' LP's, while `Mission Accomplie (Rosetta's Waltz)' is a victorious synth fanfare that may remind some of his `Chariots of Fire' soundtrack.

`Perihelion' is far more intriguing, an electronic nightmare of bombastic orchestral-like blasts and wild distortion, but it oddly mines slight elements of well-known Pink Floyd pieces, mostly the darker synths of `Welcome to the Machine' and pulsing breathless beats of `On the Run', but there's also lovely light fizzing washes and electric piano tiptoes in the softly gliding outro. `Elegy' is one last sumptuous classical piece, and closer `Return To The Void' is a final spacey soundscape of liquid trickles and deep-space immersion teeming with life in the manner of early Tangerine Dream just as they were switching to more electronic dominated pieces. It's a beautifully surreal and trippy finish, and it's just a little bit of a shame that this set hold more of these sparse and dreamy pieces.

Although `Rosetta' doesn't quite recapture that schizophrenic, anything goes from album to album creativity and freedom of his first two decades (and nor should it have been expected to!), there's so many nods and instantly identifiable qualities to a wealth of past Vangelis works throughout it that fans of this master composer will lap up. Tasteful and sophisticated, yet certainly not commercial or anything close to something that could be dismissed merely as `New Age' music, `Rosetta' is a dignified and eloquent work from a master composter of intelligent music that progressive-electronic and eclectic keyboard works fans should highly appreciate.

Four stars.

 Rosetta by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 34 ratings

Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first Vangelis album in fifteen years not affiliated with a movie soundtrack doesn't fully rekindle the same creative spark as his best work from the 1970s, but it likely won't disappoint fans. The origin of the album and its connection to the European Space Agency Rosetta mission, which in 2014 successfully landed the first probe on the surface of a comet, is detailed elsewhere in these Archives. But the music stands well enough on its own without the ESA endorsement, as an extension of its author's fascination with astronomy: always a reliable taproot for Progressive Electronic music.

The new album works best when exploring the ambiance of infinity, as heard in the opening tracks after with the robust "Origins" fanfare: quintessential Vangelis, grandiose and elegant. His vision of the cosmos is both awe-inspiring and yet totally benign, always able to locate a beautiful melody in the vacuum of outer space, unlike the intimidating voids conjured by early Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze.

But even on an interplanetary trajectory the album never achieves the escape velocity needed to outpace its earthbound neo-symphonic synth arrangements. The music of Vangelis is always less interesting when the composer indulges his middlebrow classical instincts (think "Chariots of Fire"), and with all his state-of-the-art digital equipment the results here are too often indistinguishable from a genuine orchestra in search of another movie to score. Listen to "Sunlight" for proof, as it approaches the romantic majesty and bombast of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack to an imaginary Sergio Leone sci-fi epic: "Once Upon a Time in the Asteroid Belt".

More compelling (if equally melodramatic) is the "Rubycon"-era Berlin School sequencing at the start of "Perihelion", which I like to think was an homage to the memory of Edgar Froese, sadly relocated to a new Cosmic Address while this album was being recorded. And the late Carl Sagan is likewise indirectly honored in the title ballad: an updated echo of the stately Vangelis classic "Alpha", famously used in the original PBS TV series "Cosmos". Note too the track named "Albedo 0.06", presumably identifying the reflective coefficient of comet 67P/C-G: less than one sixth of Earth's Albedo 0.39, for new music not quite diminished to an equal degree from the celebrated 1976 album of the same title.

"Rosetta" was nominated for Best New Age Album at the 59th Grammy Awards, a double insult to an artist of any integrity (the first affront being the nomination itself; the second was the lame-ass category). The album is in fact a respectable and at times even persuasive accomplishment, from an internationally-honored composer who at age 73 no longer needs to prove himself, and certainly not to the corporate bean-counters of the U.S. Recording Academy at their annual back-patting ritual.

 Rosetta by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 34 ratings

Vangelis Prog Related

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars It's incredible! 15 years after his last proper release if we dont' consider Alexander's soundtrack, Vangelis is back with an amazing space-rock opera. As well as Mythodea released 15 years before, the idea is about making a soundtrack to a space mission, but while the previous didn't work very well, as it was a bit too pretentious and effectively closer to neo-classical music than to prog, this time he is back with a surprising album.

Rosetta is a probe launched by the Euroepean Space Agency which landed on a comet, the "67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko". It takes its name from the famous "Rosetta stone" which permitted the translation of the ancient Egyptian scripts into Greek.

Now, if you can imagine travelling in the outer space, in apparent absence of motion, with the light of the stars constantly breaking the darkness, the silence of a solitary starship. How do you think a soundtrack should be like?

Exactly like this, I say. Vangelis alternates low volume melodies, orchestral grandiosity, sadness, electronics in a mixture able to evoke all the sensations possibly related to the space travel. Only the title track is an exception. The same sounds used for his famous "Alpha" in a canon made of minor chords, like he did unite the mentioned "Alpha" with "Hymn" from Opera Sauvage. Honestly it sounds a bit "recycled material", but I'm a Vangelis fan and I think I know his tracks enough to notice the similarities. Not a bad track, but I put it on a lower level respect to the rest of the album.

Said so, everything else is excellent. "Philae's Descent" which follows the title track, restores the level. It's undoubtely Vangelis' stuff of the best category. Since now, the tracks fade one into the other following the concept like it was really a soundtrack to the mission.

The square waves of "Perihelion", reminding of the Virgin period of Tangerine Dream, the classical mood of "Elegy" that Gustav Mahler would have liked, lead to the excellent closure which has some similarities with Hans Zimmer's sountrack of "Interstellar" (not strange, of course).

An unexpected masterpiece of Progressive Electronic with a little flaw in the title track preventing me from rating it with 5 stars.

For who likes being lost in space for about 1 hour

 Invisible Connections by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.33 | 58 ratings

Invisible Connections
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The other unlistenable Vangelis album. That's the usual knee-jerk gloss on this 1985 oddity: one of only a few truly challenging efforts by the otherwise easy-on-the-ears Greek keyboard artist. Comparisons are typically made to his amorphous "Beaubourg" album (1978), but this equally enigmatic lab-test is miles ahead of the random tonalities of that earlier journey, and light-years removed from the middlebrow classical-synth soundtracks that made his fortune.

The difference between the two albums is obvious in the wider diversity of instruments: acoustic piano, percussive allsorts, and a variety of atmospheric synthesizers. You can likewise hear it in the more generous production, given incredible spatial depth by a heavy application of studio reverb. The end result is an unsettling 40-minute evocation of the empty space between distant stars, at times recalling the minimalism of Brian Eno, minus the soothing pre-natal calm of Eno's better ambient doodles.

But the album can also be occasionally playful, in a deadpan art-installation sort of way. After the awesome space-drift of the 18-plus minute title track, the balance of the album (Side Two of the original LP) descends to the extraterrestrial landscapes of "Atom Blaster" and "Thermo Vision", without actually touching solid ground. Both tracks call to mind the efforts of a nerdy alien repairman testing old TV vacuum tubes: bleep......blorp......bloink......etc, with the silences between each random note even more compelling than the notes themselves. The famed Vangelis soundtrack for the movie "Blade Runner" might have sounded a lot like this, if the film had been a Jacques Tati comedy set on a space station slowly orbiting the planet Neptune.

In retrospect it makes sense that the LP first appeared under the bright yellow logo of the Deutsche Grammophon classical music label. The album should rightfully be segregated from the main sequence of other Vangelis recordings, sharing more common ground with the cosmic-Teutonic soundscapes of early Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese, or the primitive electronics of Karlheinz Stockhausen: a DG label-mate, briefly. But even lacking the usual melodic crutches the sound is still pure Vangelis, worth a listen when in a receptive (i.e. patient) frame of mind.

 Beaubourg by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.53 | 82 ratings

Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It's still the most controversial entry in the greater Vangelis catalogue: a notoriously free-form electronic interpretation of the unsightly Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The album "created a scandal" when first released in 1978 (quoting an interview with the composer, transcribed shortly afterward), at least among disappointed fans expecting another "Spiral" or "Albedo 0.39".

It's nice in retrospect to hear what such a famously romantic keyboard artist does in his spare time, when no one is looking. But he might have thought twice before trying to market the results to unwary audiences under the spell of his otherwise lush but undemanding synth-rock soundtracks. I confess to finding it a fascinating experience, but only up to a point, and that point usually arrives long before the album's full thirty-nine minutes expire.

Heck, thirty-nine seconds might be enough for most people, and with good reason. There aren't any accessible crutches here to steady the uneasy listener, and whenever the music approaches something resembling an actual melodic phrase it invariably beats a hasty retreat toward the relative freedom of uncharted atonal territory.

Well, not exactly uncharted: Musique Concète had been around a long time by 1978. Maybe Vangelis was simply trying to emulate the innovations of pioneers like Pierre Schaeffer et al. On the other hand, he might have just unwrapped another new studio toy (a Yamaha CS-80) and decided to record his self-tutorial, while blindly twisting knobs and punching buttons.

I'm usually a loud defender of the two-star rating in these Archives, as a mark of hidden quality: the fans-only treasure unfit for general consumption. But in this case the judgment is more subjective, reflecting a conspicuous lack of genuine experimentation. In the same interview quoted above Vangelis claimed he made the album "very quickly, spontaneously", but then added: "it took me a little less than a month." A month-long session...for this? That's hardly a measure of impulsive creativity.

Maybe the solitary (and now dated) keyboard sounds are the primary culprit. If Frank Zappa had arranged the same music for a small orchestra (see "The Yellow Shark", 1993) the album might be hailed today as a post-modern masterpiece. "I needed courage to release this record", said its author at the time. And you might need a little nerve yourself (or at least a wide open pair of forgiving ears) to properly hear it. Two stars...for true fans of inscrutable abstract noodling.

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

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