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Vangelis - The City CD (album) cover




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3.31 | 95 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The concept of this album is very "Terrestrial": a day in a city, starting from the dawn but the music is very spacey, as in some of Vangelis' first and most progressive albums. Many people speaks of "New Age", maybe because of the lack of rhythm and percussions in some parts of the album even though it's not surely the first time that Vangelis makes music like this, since his first works for Frederic Rossif.

"Dawn" is a typical Vangelis' instrumental, very chill-out with the melody carried on by a sound similar to that on "Blade Runner Blues". (well, the Blade Runner OST will be released later, but the movie gave Vangelis a big popularity since from the 80s). This track recreates effectively the athmosphere of a city dawn. This, and the following "Morning Paper" remind me of very clear sensations, like walking in an airport at the dawn after a trans- continental flight, a bit stoned by the jet-lag while the shops around are opening and the voices from the speakers are like a soft wake-up call. Listen to those two jazzy/chill-out tracks. This is what I call "evocative".

"Nerve Centre" is everything but newage: percussions and a (virtual) distorted guitar for a melody that seems taken from Heaven and Hell. I can imagine the distorted voice of Senmuth over this base even if Vangelis will never be so hard, effectively.

"Side Streets" is opened by a motor. Then a bass line quite similar to "Another brick in the wall" is the base for a cello and a flute (all virtual of course). I don't like the orchestral accents but the track is not bad.

"Good To See You" has some noises from a city street. It's another chill-out track. It should be lunchtime or just after work. It's another relaxing track. The chill-out effect is provided of the regular tempo and the repetitive bass line. All the sounds are carefully chosen. The asian girl's voice above the music, regardless what she says, fits well into the track.

"Twilight" starts with winds and a voice speaking probably Japanese (I'm not sure). The music which follows is slow and the minor chords give it a sad flavour. It may represent tiredness after a working day, or a moment of rest when one has time to think more deeply.

"Red Lights" seems to be about night life. Women speaking over a rhythmic bass line. Orchestral accents and not a clear melody as in the previous tracks. I see a bit of funk here.

"Procession" is the longest track of the album (below 10 minutes). I don't know what's the meaning of this title. The music is slow and based on minor chords. The melody is played by the cello and has a folk (Greek) influence. Later the cello is replaced by a concertina but the music doesn't change. There's a crescendo. It's like this track has been added to the album without being part of the concept. It's a solid track on which the repetitions are varied by the crescendo like in Ravel's bolero. When the music ends a military drum is what remains until the end. The last minute is a coda of voices and noises. Bells, sirens, speakers, like in a movie soundtrack, then steps going away and the album is over.

It's the best Vangelis' album of the decade. The 80s were opened by the very poor "See You Later" that I consider his worst album ever. The 90s start with this excellent album that I rate with 4 stars.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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