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The Best of Vangelis

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Album Review

Taking eight of Vangelis' most ambient and electronically melodic tracks from his mid-'70s albums, The Best of Vangelis may be somewhat of a misleading title, but it's still a justifiable excursion into his sweeping use of the synthesizer and his more elegant type of keyboard journeys. With cuts from 1976's Albedo.39, 1977's Spiral, and 1978's Beaubourg, among others, this period of Vangelis' music represents his bare and simplistic utilization of the synthesizer. "Spiral," "Aries," and "To the Unknown Man" are time-tunnel voyages of softened keyboard washes and rhythm-absent clouds of uncluttered synth. It was during this period that Vangelis crossed the border into new age territory, emerging from his roots with the progressively doused Aphrodite's Child six or seven years before. The last track, entitled "So Long Ago, So Clear," features Yes' Jon Anderson on vocals, ending the album on a high note. Brief, but to the point, The Best of Vangelis carries out its task of grouping some of Evangelos Papathanassiou's most extravagant keyboard pieces.


Born: 29 March 1943 in Volos, Greece

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known for his lush, Oscar-winning score to the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, Vangelis was among the most successful and admired electronic composers of his era. Born Evangelos Odyssey Papathanassiou in Volos, Greece on March 29, 1943, his nascent musical talent was recognized at an early age, but he refused to take piano lessons, instead teaching himself. After high school he formed the early-'60s pop group Formynx, soon the most popular act in Greece. After achieving stardom at home, Vangelis...
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