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Vangelis: Delectus (13 CD box-set)

Gathering together all of his output through Vertigo and Polydor, Delectus is a 13 CD box set showcasing the unforgettable work of Greek composer Vangelis. The man himself also oversaw the remastering of everything you'll hear in this set, a process he enjoyed hugely due to being able to bring the sound of his music bang up to date and because it allowed him to relive the memories of creating these albums all those years ago.

Even with two previous label's worth of material on display Delectus is far from comprehensive, but for those who shelled out on the 2013 remasters of Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral, Beaubourg, Direct and the Jon & Vangelis release Page Of Life, it's pleasing to note that none of those appear here. If you didn't however, there's little doubt that you'll lament at the absence of at least two (H&H and 0.39) of this prolific artist's best works, while it also should be noted that another of his most celebrated recordings, the soundtrack to Bladerunner, isn't included either.

So it's to Vangelis's huge credit that not having those higher profile releases included actually highlights the strength and depth of his catalogue, not one missed step in a collection that spans from his 1973 outing Earth, right through to 1985's Invisible Connections. Yes that's 13 albums in twelve years and don't forget, there were a good few others that aren't included here. Such a deluge of material in such a short space of time also means that this is a surprisingly cohesive collection, even given that it mixes soundtracks with bespoke albums. Earth, however, is initially a surprise for those who haven't delved so deep into the Vangelis catalogue, due to the heavy involvement of vocalist Robert Fitoussi (who went on to have the hit "Words" under the name F.R. David), who also provided bass, while Anargyros Koulouris provided guitar, backing vocals and lute. However this album certainly helped lay out the progressive, electronic frameworks that would become the Vangelis trademark, something expanded upon on the soundtrack album L'Apocalypse Des Animaux, where he worked alone.

Always able to convey the place in which his music is set like few others can, China and Antarctica prove wonderful examples of this skill, the grandness of the former and isolation of the latter all the more impressive when you consider that when listened to back to back you can hear the occasional link in theme. By this time Vangelis had seeped into popular culture, scoring two top forty albums, while separate pieces of music began to crop up as TV or sports themes and the like. However it was the film Chariots Of Fire that would catapult the composer into super stardom, the soundtrack album, which is included here, reaching top ten status in charts around the world and like "Titles", the single from the soundtrack, hit the top spot in the Billboard charts. It's also arguable that "Titles" is not only one of the most recognisable track ever from Vangelis, but also one of the 80s best known pieces in general.

Possibly the furthest removed in style in this set is also its most recent, Invisible Connections experimental in its electronic attack and almost ambient sound structure. Very little on show readily falling into the category of 'song', even by the standard of a largely instrumental collection. However its enigmatic, challenging nature makes it a highlight.

Also included are three of the four Jon & Vangelis albums, Short Stories, Private Collection and The Friends Of Mr. Cairo; the Jon being a certain Jon Anderson, the then vocalist in Yes. In truth the first of these is still possibly the weakest of the albums on show here, a seeming lack of cohesion still evident, although it's still more enjoyable than some of the scathing reviews from its time of release would suggest. While the latter two are, if you're a fan of Anderson's voice, among the best. It's also undoubtedly interesting to hear Vangelis attempt to balance out and out songs against his natural instincts for soundscapes and atmosphere.

Across the 13 discs, only 4 bonus tracks appear, three of which feature on See You Later, with the interesting "Neighbours Above" the only previously unreleased cut. "My Love" and "Domestic Logic 1" making their first appearance on CD, which is also the case for the Jon & Vangelis bonus "Song Is", which is added to Private Collection. All of which is 'Presented in a lavish box with an essay and a plethora of rare photographs, the discs housed in two die-cut, gatefold disc holders within a rigid 242mm square slipcase and accompanied by a 64 page booklet illustrating a prolific period of the career of this iconic maestro'.

For Vangelis fans young and old, there's no doubt this is a wonderful set. The remastering is excellent and the music makes for a wonderful, detailed, varied and yet cohesive journey. Amazingly it's also just the tip of the iceberg in a catalogue positively crammed with landmark releases.


Track Listing
EARTH
1. Come On 2. We Are All Uprooted 3. Sunny Earth 4. He-O 5. Ritual 6. Let It Happen 7. The City 8. My Face In The Rain 9. We Are All Uprooted 10. A Song

L'APOCALYPSE DES ANIMAUX
1. Apocalypse des animaux - Générique 2. La petite fille de la mer 3. Le singe bleu 4. La mort du loup 5. L'ours musicien 6. Création du monde 7. La mer recommence

CHINA
1. Chung Kuo 2. The Long March 3. The Dragon 4. The Plum Blossom 5. The Tao Of Love 6. The Little Fete 7. Yin & Yang 8. Himalaya 9. Summit

SEE YOU LATER
1. I Can't Take It Anymore 2. Multi-Track Suggestion 3. Memories Of Green 4. Not A Bit - All Of It 5. Suffocation 6. See You Later 7. Neighbours Above 8. My Love 9. Domestic Logic 1

ANTARCTICA
1. Theme From Antarctica 2. Antarctica Echoes 3. Kinematic 4. Song Of White 5. Life Of Antarctica 6. Memory Of Antarctica 7. Other Side Of Antarctica 8. Deliverance

MASK
1. Mask: Movement 1 2. Mask: Movement 2 3. Mask: Movement 3 4. Mask: Movement 4 5. Mask: Movement 5 6. Mask: Movement 6

OPERA SAUVAGE
1. Hymne 2. Rêve 3. L'enfant 4. Mouettes 5. Chromatique 6. Irlande 7. Flamants roses

CHARIOTS OF FIRE
1. Titles 2. Five Circles 3. Abraham's Theme 4. Eric's Theme 5. 100 Metres 6. Jerusalem 7. Chariots Of Fire

SOIL FESTIVITIES
1. Soil Festivities: Movement 1 2. Soil Festivities: Movement 2 3. Soil Festivities: Movement 3 4. Soil Festivities: Movement 4 5. Soil Festivities: Movement 5

INVISIBLE CONNECTIONS
1. Invisible Connections 2. Atom Blaster 3. Thermo Vision

SHORT STORIES 
1. Curious Electric 2. Each And Every Day 3. Bird Song 4. I Hear You Now 5. The Road 6. Far Away In Baagad 7. Love Is 8. One More Time 9. Thunder 10. Play Within A Play

PRIVATE COLLECTION
1. Italian Song 2. And When The Night Comes 3. Deborah 4. Polonaise 5. He Is Sailing 6. Horizon 7. Song Is

THE FRIENDS OF MR. CAIRO
1. I'll Find My Way Home 2. State of Independence 3. Beside 4. The Mayflower 5. The Friends of Mr. Cairo 6. Back To School 7. Outside Of This (Inside of That) 8. One More Time 9. Thunder 10. Play Within A Play

Added: January 29th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Vangelis official Facebook
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Language: english

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