General Music Stuff · Soundtracks

Vangelis

When I first heard them:
They were one of the groups I heard on Sunday nights, late as I listened to Hearts of Space on my trusty little radio. The internet being rather limited I wasn't able to find out much again until high school when I watched Bladerunner for the first time. This music was everything I loved about science fiction–it was expansive as the universe but intricate. It had traditional orchestral sounds mixed with bizarre synthesizer that can only be categorized as 80's synthesizer. It was a meeting of "real" music and technology in sound form.

Information about the group:
Vangelis, in actuality, isn't a band per day but a single man: Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou. I admit that I just found this out by researching him for this very post. His music is so complex and layered I just assumed it was multiple people–that will teach me!

I'm not going to give a detailed biography since if you are reading this you too have internet and can look him up. Here are the things I find interesting: he started his music career in several different bands throughout the 60's and 70's as well as composing scores for several French animal documentaries but it wasn't until 1981 that he really became well known. He composed the score for Chariots of Fire and its main theme* won an Academy Award as well as topping the American Billboard chart for one week after climbing steadily for five months. This was followed in 1982 with his soundtrack to Bladerunner which is a marvelous blend of science fiction noir and melodic beauty.

He is mostly self taught having started composing as early as the age of three and with a career spanning 70 years and over 50 albums he is considered one of the most influential figures in electronic music. He does not read music but instead works from memory. He's written music for stage plays and ballets. Most notable ballets being in 1985 and 1986: "Frankenstein – Modern Prometheus" and "The Beauty and the Beast".

Personally, not much is known about him–he is very private and he has no children stating:

"Because of the amount of travelling I do and the nonsense of the music business, I couldn't take care of a child in the way I think it should be taken care of."

I appreciate his honesty and dedication to his art form.

quote-we-are-living-in-a-cultural-dark-age-of-musical-pollution-you-put-the-radio-on-and-five-vangelis-121-20-30

What I enjoy about his music:
Wow. This is the hard part of the review–how do you take something that is meant to be heard and felt emotionally and is different for everyone into mere words. His music is expansive and at the same time intensely personal and melodic. It is aurally luminous and transcendent–but then has that classic 80's saxophone. His music reminds me of space and that is probably mostly why I like it.
Favorite tracks:

Obviously if you've lived under a rock all your life you should check out Chariots of Fire.  All parodies aside, it is a beautifully rousing piece of music that makes me want to go conquer the world–when I can stop giggling and pretend running in slow motion.

The entire album of Voices is epic and very ethereal.

Bladerunner is dark and brooding with a neo noir cyberpunk weird synthesized 80's saxophone thing**

 

* You know what song I'm talking about–the one everyone uses for slow motion parodies.

**I should just write a post on my love of 80's saxophone and be done with it!

Advertisements