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Vangelis - Delectus - The Polydor & Vertigo Recordings 1973-1985 CD (album) cover



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3 stars This 13-disc box set contains 13 remastered studio albums of Vangelis, three of them actually by JON + VANGELIS. The only Vertigo release is "Earth" (1973), which happened to be the only one I hadn't listened to before. Actually a group effort with vocals of Robert Fitoussi, it has some faint resemblence with the Aphrodite's Child classic 666 (released in 1972), although obviously a minor and less exciting work in comparison. All the other albums in this set were originally released by Polydor, thus it won't include some classic albums from the 70's, ie. Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39 and Spiral, from the RCA label. Several of the albums here are music composed for films: L'Apocalypse des Animaux, Opera Sauvage, Chariots of Fire and Antarctica. These are among the best known Vangelis albums except perhaps Antarctica (1983), which is a very fine work. The rest of the Vangelis albums are: China, See You Later, Soil Festivities, Mask and Invisible Connections. The set is finished with the three JON + VANGELIS albums from the early 80's: Short Stories, The Friends of Mr. Cairo and Private Collection.

I'm surprised by the numerous five-star ratings without reviews, because I have major complaints about the box and the representation. The physical size of the box is massive, big enough for vinyls. The discs are plainly placed in two gatefold sleeves. All the album information and other textual contents are in the large hard-cover book of 96 pages, and judged against the size the actual contents are rather disappointing. I expected much more of the liner notes when I borrowed the box from library. For the most part, it's a picture book. It's not handy at all that you have to hold that clumsy big book open to see the albums' track lists while listening. I truly prefer smaller and thus more user-friendly sizes for CD box sets. That said, I'd be satisfied with the rather brief liner notes too, if the box and the book/booklet had been smaller: come on, almost a hundred vinyl size pages for contents that would nicely fit into a 40-page CD size booklet!

The bonus material on the discs remains rather minimal. The fifth disc containing See You Later (1980) features three bonus tracks in the style of the album, hardly worth a second listening. The third and the best Jon + Vangelis album Private Collection is accompanied by a fairly good B-sider 'Song Is'. And that's more or less all. Considering the salty price of this box set, I frankly don't see it very recommendable. I'd rather spend the money on individual albums of your own choice.

One thing is sure. There's a wide musical variety among these thirteen albums. From the earthy art-rock of "Earth" to the avant-garde minimalism of Invisible Connections (1985 - originally released in the classical music label Deutsche Grammophon, so I'm wondering of its inclusion here), from the organic melancholy of L'Apocalypse des Animaux (1973) to the Oscar winning athletic themes of Chariots of Fire (1981), and from the fascinating microcosmos interpreted in Soil Festivities (1984) to the choral approach of the mythologically inspired Mask (1985). I personally also enjoyed the opportunity to (re)visit the Jon + Vangelis albums at the same time, despite a little reservation for them not being actual Vangelis solo albums.

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Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2022 | Review Permalink

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