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Vangelis is no longer among us

by Giovanni Profeta about a month ago in celebrities
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A glimpse into his career.

This morning I received the sad news about Vangelis passing. Due to a difference is time zones, I got the message around 4am and it was near 8am when I saw it. Since I was 12 years-old I began to collect his records. To all the people I hanged out with it was odd, how can a kid that listens to Kiss or Poison can be so enthralled by this slow building tunes that keeps going and going in this (according to them) shapeless boring meander.

My first Vangelis record was bought by me on the “On Sale” section of my favorite record store. I bought “Spiral,” to me it was like an electronic extravaganza at full blossom. The amount of textures was simply mesmerizing, I loved to hear it with the light out, all alone, watching at the level meter go up and down in the solitude of my parents living room. Soon, many more followed in rapid succession, being 1492 “Conquest of Paradise” the one I played with devotion for years. This was the soundtrack of Ridley’s Scott 1992 film under the same name. Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by Columbus and his discoveries. You don’t know how many times the melody of “Conquest of Paradise” played in my head white going to the beach with my family. It still brings a lot of emotions; the way it was masterfully orchestrated is simply sublime, love the movie, love the soundtrack.

Sure, "Blade Runner" is surely among my favorites, his Oscar winning “Chariots of fire” is up there too, no wonder why, that haunting melody still resonates in the ears of many. There’s so much music under his name that I could keep on writing for hours. His collaboration with Jon Anderson which I own each one of their records is up to par with his music. “Short Stories” is a wonderful compendium of songs, being Vangelis the one that played almost all the instruments leaving Jon only on voice and Harp. That album starts with a song called “Curious electric.” What a great tune, it moves, it flows, it showcase his mastery at the keyboards and Jon’s unique tone of voice, a voice so distinguished, so delicate, a real treat.

His psychedelic adventure with Demis Roussos on Aphrodite’s Child was his first successful endeavor during the late 60s’, topping the charts in many European Countries such as Italy, Belgium, France with the single “Rain and Tears.” Pitifully the band could not stay together for longer and they split while finishing the groundbreaking “666” album. This double album is a tour de force if you’re into psychedelic music in general. They managed to put together one of the most bizarre piece of work you might ever encounter. The final product and the way it was conceived deserves a post of its own. I am seriously thinking about writing it during the weekend, I’ll give it a spin tonight to get some inspiration.

Aphrodite's Child

After Aphrodite’s Child he became a solo artist and film composer. Many of his 70s sound scores are available on record, being “L”apocalypse des animaux” one of his most celebrated. This is a unique score for a French documentary about the animal kingdom. If you got the time, look for “La petite fille de la mer” and let your mind wonder freely for a while.

Another favorite of mine is the one from the late 80s called “The Bounty.” A political drama starring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins, lovely film, haunting music, it pairs so good with the theme and tone of the film. Being as prolific and diverse as he was, his mastery was even needed in documentaries by Jacques Cousteau, lush synthwaves and underwater images, does it get better than this? Believe me, it does.

Vangelis was also commissioned to score mayor sporting events. 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, 2004 Olympics in Athens plus some ventures into ballet scores, music for stage productions of Medea and The tempest among others.

Vangelis used to have a deep fascination for Outer Space, his record “Rosetta” was dedicated to the Space probe under the same name. His “Mythodea” became the official music of the Mars Odyssey Mission of 2001. His last record “Juno to Jupiter” was inspired by the NASA probe Juno and featured soundbites of the probe itself while performing work in outer space.

Vangelis

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassious recorded near 50 records, he ventured into uncharted musical territories since his humble beginnings playing Beatles’ covers in The Forminx, his first band behind the organ. When the psychedelic effervescence reached its peak, he was there raising the bar with a deeply artistic piece of work. Progressive Rock dominated the early 70s, he delivered some of his most groundbreaking music and again, changed the scene. Electronic music, orchestral, ambient, music scores, soundtracks. You name it, he left his indelible mark on each one of them. If you dare to listen to him, he will change the way you listen to music.

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About the author

Giovanni Profeta

Enjoy my daily rant.

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