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also by Vangelis:
Vangelis's music helped to create one of the most successful cityscapes of all time in the film Blade Runner. The second studio album from his digital-synth era (after "Direct") is a dreamy reflection on a day in the life of a mellower, less rain-sodden metropolis. It's not as full-on with the production as "Direct", and there are far fewer digital and new-age cliches. This time he's relatively restrained and minimal, and lets his masterfully-designed sounds speak for themselves.
It starts with a spacious "Dawn", and some lovely gloopy sounds. This is so much like the intro to Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" that I always expect Dave Gilmour to enter with those four notes. Maybe the fat strings here are a little too heavy for that time in the morning. The brush percussion and atmospheric vibes lend a mellow, exotic feel to "Morning Papers". As the day gets moving the musical activity is increased with a bustling pair of poppier instrumentals. "Nerve Centre"'s industrial percussion is reminiscent of Jarre's "Industrial Revolution".
In the afternoon the action subsides. "Good To See You" has a pleasant tune in the rhythm of the title. The reflective harp solo on the spacious "Twilight" accompanies a lazy early evening. The Oriental vocal samples on "Red Lights" evoke sleazy beckoning girls. The broad, stately finale "Procession" is more of a traditional Vangelis symphonic wide-screen soundtrack.
Snatches of urban conversation (including director Roman Polanski) and sound effects are used as links and decoration throughout in a non-cheesy manner. Although it might be overlooked as new-age music, the imagination in these musical responses to the environment is the hallmark of Vangelis.
December 30, 2004