also by Vangelis:
Vangelis's first solo album from the new age of digital synths in the late 1980s isn't quite as clinical as the work of some of his contemporaries like Tangerine Dream. While it's an ultra-clean production, polished to a digital sparkle, he retains a lot of his warm romanticism and musicality. At the very beginning, the rapid figure whirling through the digital instruments is not too far removed from "Spiral" from eleven years earlier.
He seems to develop some favourite instrumental sounds here, like that chattering fretless bass thing and glistening orchestra-hits, but takes care to vary the palette. I sense that tracks like "Metallic Rain" are named after the synth sound featured in the solo, rather than the title coming first. He can be forgiven the odd new-age cliche slipping in such as the notorious pan-pipe on "The Will of the Wind".
Poppier theme-style tunes ("Will of the Wind", "Ave") are mixed with sugary instrumental ballads ("The Oracle of Apollo", "First Approach"). The ponderous spacey tracks like "Message" and "Intergalactic Radio Station" are deftly done, despite the annoying voiceover near the end of the latter. Although the podginess sometimes becomes routine. For example on "Glorianna" with its wordless female operatic solo, he presses the drum-roll-and-cymbal flourish button a few too many times. The best is probably "Dial Out", mingling a contemporary-sounding digital bassline with big old Rachmaninov-style piano sweeps.
December 21, 2004