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Esoteric to Release Six Vangelis Remasters

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Vangelis Heaven and HellCelebrated Greek electronic composer Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou – or, as he’s known to music lovers the world over, Vangelis – is partnering with the Cherry Red label Esoteric to remaster and reissue six of his albums originally released on the RCA and Arista labels.

By the time Vangelis signed to RCA and released Heaven and Hell in 1975, he’d already traveled quite extensively in the European music scene. From a turn in Greek pop band The Forminx, he’d formed a prog band, Aphrodite’s Child, enjoying success across the continent. He’d also taken on a lot of session and soundtrack work, and was even a candidate to step in to the lineup of Yes after Rick Wakeman’s departure. Ultimately, he forged on as a solo artist, opening his own Nemo Studios in London and recording many of his greatest works from there.

Vangelis’ RCA albums are diverse and experimental, drawing from classical traditions (Heaven and Hell, a two-sided suite that features his first of many collaborations with Yes frontman Jon Anderson on “So Long Ago, So Clear”), pulsing jazz and blues (Albedo 0.39), intricate sequencer-driven melodies (Spirit, the first LP on which Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80, a cornerstone of his later work) and experimental improvisations (Beaubourg, based on a Parisian district in which Vangelis lived in the earlier part of the 1970s).

After a decade in which Vangelis’ star was driven largely by soundtrack work (namely the iconic crossover hit Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner) and three official collaborations with Jon Anderson, 1988 saw the release of Direct, a more pop-influenced, less eclectic album on Arista Records. Three years later, Page of Life was the final album credited to Jon & Vangelis, also released on Arista.

These six albums have been supervised for Esoteric, with approved remastering and redesigned artwork by the composer himself. (These redesigned digipaks greatly resemble the artwork for Universal’s 2007 remasters of two albums by Vangelis with vocals by Irene Papas: Odes (1979) and Rapsodies (1986).) Additionally, two of the discs are expanded: Spiral includes a non-LP B-side, “To the Unknown Man (Part II),” as does Page of Life, which features a CD single-only track called “Sing with Your Eyes.”

All of these titles will hit U.K. shops on November 25. The full track-by-track breakdowns and Amazon U.K. links are after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 9, 2013 at 14:10

In Case You Missed It: Rhino U.K. Goes the Distance for Vangelis

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At this summer’s Olympic Games in London, if there was going to be any film score coming through the speakers, it would be the theme to Chariots of Fire. Vangelis’ synthesizer-based piece has resounded in the popular consciousness for more than 30 years. Running along a beach or looking for energy to complete a task? That piano riff – which helped the film win one of four Academy Awards and topped the Billboard charts for a week in 1982 – will likely play in your head until you finish the task.

Inspired by the Olympic fervor of the past season, Rhino U.K. recently released a double-disc set, simply titled The Collection, in honor of the Greek composer. The man born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou has been at the forefront of electronic, New Age and European popular music for decades, as well as in high demand for film scoring, including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), chronicling Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World.

The set includes a healthy amount of soundtrack material, as well as some of Vangelis’ more pop-oriented work. This includes four tracks in collaboration with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. (The pair had met when Vangelis was considered to replace Rick Wakeman in Yes in 1974; Anderson sang on several Vangelis LPs afterward, and four official collaboration albums were released between 1980 and 1991.) The 31-track set also includes one new track, “Remembering.”

The Collection is available as an import title and can be ordered after the jump. (Thanks to super reader Ludo for the tip!)

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 10, 2012 at 10:34