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Numero Group Uncovers The Pioneering Electronic Soundscapes of Iasos’ “Celestial Soul Portrait”

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NUM049CoverThe expert crate-diggers at Numero Group have recently offered up one of its most adventurous releases – the Celestial Soul of the single-named musician Iasos (pronounced ya’ sos).  Before the genres of ambient and New Age were classified as such, the Greek-born musician was experimenting with electronic instruments to create the “Paradise Music” now being reissued by Numero in the anthology Celestial Soul Portrait.

Born in Greece in 1947 but a U.S. resident since 1951, Iasos moved to California in 1968 upon his graduation from Cornell University where he had concentrated on anthropology.  Trained on piano since childhood, Iasos brought his singular, spiritual musical visions to life in 1975 with the release of Inter-Dimensional Music Through Iasos.  His musical journeys were inspired, according to Numero, by “the infinitely numbered harmonies transmitted by Vista, a benevolent being from a distant dimension.”  Working from his houseboat, Iasos utilized some of the first commercially-available synthesizers and created an aural equivalent to the colorfully kaleidoscopic lightshows that accompanied many psychedelic-era concerts.  His cosmic sounds also featured guitar, amplified flute, and various tape and studio effects.

After the jump: more on the transcendent sounds of Iasos, including a full track listing and order link for the new compilation!

Inter-Dimensional Music arrived the same year that Steven Halpern, a friend of Iasos, released his own Spectrum Suite, another major touchstone for the New Age movement.  Within a few years of those 1975 landmarks, the genre was expanding, and it’s reported that Mountain View, California’s Tower Records location was one of the first to add a New Age section in 1981.  The following year, Iasos produced one of the earliest New Age videos, entitled Crystal Vista.  His soul-searching, convention-defying soundscapes were later identified by psychology researchers at New Hampshire’s Plymouth State College as similar to the tones supposedly heard by humans between life and death.  One needn’t be experiencing a near-death experience to find solace in Iasos’ compositions, however.  Guitarist Lee Underwood said his Angelic Music album exemplified “the best this genre [New Age] has to offer,” and Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts commented that “Iasos is doing the classical music of the New Age.”  Companies and organizations from NASA to Hewlett-Packard have made use of the music of Iasos.

Numero Group’s Celestial Soul Portrait compendium includes 13 tracks originally released on various albums between 1975 and 1985.  During that period, the enigmatic composer was particularly prolific, releasing LPs including Inter-Dimensional Music, Angelic Music, Crystal Love, Jeweled Space and Essence of SpringPortrait was assembled by Carlos Nino with the team at Numero, and includes a booklet with rare photographs and annotation.

It’s available as a single CD, a double-vinyl LP set, and as a digital download, and can be ordered at the link below!  You can hear samples here at Numero’s website.

Iasos, Celestial Soul Portrait (Numero Group 49, 2013)

  1. I Promise You a Leap of Love-Flame
  2. Rainbow Canyon
  3. The Angels of Comfort
  4. Blue Fire Realms
  5. Siren Shallows
  6. Crystal Petals
  7. Procession on the Horizon
  8. The Royal Court of the Goddess Vesta
  9. The Winds of Olympus
  10. The Descent of Spring
  11. Cloud Prayer
  12. Spring Temple Forest
  13. Crystal-White-Fire-Light

All tracks originally released between 1975 and 1985.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 25, 2013 at 10:34

Posted in Compilations, Iasos, News

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