Friday 20 May 2022


I've been trying to come up with something to say here about Vangelis after hearing of his passing last night, I'm going to defer to this comment here that summarises my thoughts better than I could:

He could not only compose in the style of vastly different historical periods and cultures, but he could seamlessly blend them... An impossible phenomenon, yet he existed... Everything from Middle-Eastern rhythms to space ambient, prog rock to jazz, early Medieval polyphony to avantgarde, Celtic ballads to Far Eastern ceremonial music, African tribal music to piano etudes... there were no limits. All from one man who never trained formally, never read or wrote music...

Beyond just that though, the man's influence cannot be overstated - the Blade Runner soundtrack being the most obvious point to start with. Laden with beautiful ambient and dripping with atmosphere, its an incredible listen and one that's gone on to influence electronic musicians of all genres, cropping up as samples in Drum & Bass tracks and appearing on compilations - you'll have no doubt heard Blade Runner Blues before, its an icon. The soundtrack surprisingly took a good 10+ years to come out after the movie, and there has been an expanded re-release since with even more extra tracks that are lovely too.

I've picked another of my favourites in Wait For Me - at the risk of repeating myself the same applies here, gorgeous atmosphere and all in all just interesting soundtrack work. The electronics on Blade Runner not only fit the setting but do so much to create that neo-noir feel. I don't want to harp on it too much as the man has a vast body of work beyond just Blade Runner, but at the same time it'd be a mistake to not mention it - the soundtrack has earned its reputation and is a great stepping in point if you're unfamiliar.

And then just a random smattering of selections, there's not as much here as I'd like but as I mentioned I've probably only explored a fraction of the man's releases. I had a quick look at the opinion on this one just as a frame of reference and I found a mixed bag. One complaint that stood out was that this album was loaded with 80's cliches which I kind of get, but it was released in 1988 after all - plus if you're like me then you don't mind too much. The intro of Intergalactic Radio Station is lovely, the kind of song a very young me would have marvelled at, the kind that got me interested in electronic music in the first place.

And a little bit of something a bit more Ambient to play us out, for me this kind of sound is when Vangelis really shines, a real talent for these sparse and delicate pieces are lovely - enter Rêve. It's been a long time since I got back into the world of this style of 70's electronic, but in sampling them for this post I think it might be time for me to take a look at them again. Its definitely an under-represented part of my collection and there is a load of it out there to explore. Perhaps a summer project for me.

And that'll be all for today, first time I've had to use Spotify players for a while, I know they aren't great so I've also included official YT uploads as links in the text as well. I hope you enjoy some of these tracks as much as I do, and maybe even take this opportunity to explore Vangelis' discography in more detail, I certainly will. And of course, as always, stay safe an enjoy the music.


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