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Vangelis - China CD (album) cover




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3.78 | 129 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars The first "New-Age" album ever?

Having just heard Vangelis' previous album, Beaubourg, hearing China is truly a relief for the ears. In sharp contrast to Beaubourg, China is harmonic and melodious (though not melodic). This might perhaps be called New-Age music and if so it must be one of the earliest examples of that genre (maybe the first such album ever?). It is thus not a Prog Rock album by any means, but it might perhaps be called "progressive" in some other sense?

Mixed in with Vangelis' electronic synthesisers, we have some "natural" instruments this time; the most prominent being violin but there are also grand piano and some flutes. Also, in line with the title of the album (and the inspiration behind it?), there are some Asian sounding instruments and harmonies. These are very pleasant to listen to, but the music never rises above mere background music, for me anyway. This is not to say that there are no things happening in the music, there is. But it is not interesting enough to warrant repeated listens; hearings maybe, but not listens.

While China is great when you compare it with the abomination of sound that was Beaubourg, it is hardly a great piece of work in its own right. I think it is fair to say that Vangelis' relation to Prog (if there ever was one!) was over by the time of this release in 1979.

Since I was generous when I gave a couple of his earlier album Heaven And Hell and Spiral three stars (each!), and Beaubourg I "generously" gave one star (wishing I could give it zero stars!), I will be similarly generous here in giving China two stars.

For Prog fans who are newcomers to Vangelis, I would recommend to start with Heaven And Hell and Spiral which are his best albums. Albedo 0.39 has some weak parts but it too is preferable over China.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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