It is the strongest oxygen; it speaks directly to the soul.
May 19, 2022 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Greek composer Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, noted for the soundtracks of Blade Runner and Chariots Of Fire, and compositions honoring the NASA's 2001 Mars Orbiter mission and the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission among many, many others, and better known as Vangelis, has died.

Documentaries about his life and work include The Unknown Man, The Journey To Ithaca and The Man And His Music, and there are to recordings, soundtracks (including the unreleased Alexander) as well as
improvised performances and various collections of his rare interviews.
posted by mhoye (83 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by ltl at 11:04 AM on May 19


oh man

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posted by jquinby at 11:05 AM on May 19


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posted by Dr. Twist at 11:07 AM on May 19



posted by Gelatin at 11:09 AM on May 19


I finally saw Blade Runner 2049 last week and was thinking of Vangelis as I listened to the soundtrack.

One of my favorite albums is The Friends of Mr Cairo by Jon & Vangelis, a collaboration with former Yes singer Jon Anderson.


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posted by eye of newt at 11:09 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]


One of those folks who just seemed to be ageless concepts rather than flesh and blood. Such a loss.

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posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:10 AM on May 19 [13 favorites]


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posted by JohnFromGR at 11:12 AM on May 19


Designed by Sid Mead, Soundtrack by Vangelis will never not be the future I want.
posted by mhoye at 11:17 AM on May 19 [22 favorites]


For those that haven't kept up with his later stage career, be sure to check out Juno to Jupiter (2021), which was very good if you want that distinctive synthy Vangelis sound. If you aren't so into that kind of old school synth sound then go listen to Nocturne (2019), which is kind of a tour through his entire career via piano and very light touches of synthesizer.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 11:18 AM on May 19 [8 favorites]


I first heard his work on Cosmos. Fucking transporting. Just like the series itself. But Heaven and Hell and Alpha remain my key bits of electronic optimism, for music that points towards something that isn't really of this world.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:32 AM on May 19 [8 favorites]


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posted by Foosnark at 11:33 AM on May 19


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posted by The Bellman at 11:34 AM on May 19


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posted by slater at 11:35 AM on May 19


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posted by mstokes650 at 11:36 AM on May 19


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posted by myopicman at 11:40 AM on May 19


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posted by giltay at 11:44 AM on May 19


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posted by Windopaene at 11:47 AM on May 19


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posted by skycrashesdown at 11:54 AM on May 19


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posted by 20 year lurk at 11:54 AM on May 19


What a career. He could pivot from album-length epics to pop masterpieces.
posted by YoungStencil at 11:57 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


As mentioned above, I was also obsessed with The Friends of Mister Cairo and used to blast the Chariots of Fire track in my car. It made me weep, the grandness of it. The bigness of the emotion.

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posted by profreader at 12:00 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


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posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:04 PM on May 19


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Thank you, sir, for elevating me. Rest in sound; rest in song.
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:11 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


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posted by May Kasahara at 12:13 PM on May 19


One of my favorite albums is The Friends of Mr Cairo by Jon & Vangelis, a collaboration with former Yes singer Jon Anderson.

This was the first recording I ever bought, well before adolescence. Years would pass before I laid out the cash for another. Don't remember why I had to have it — or how I even knew it existed? It doesn't seem to have been used as a soundtrack. Perhaps a bit of it got played on the classic radio station due to the Yes connection.

I listened to the title track an awful lot. Local fan club of one
posted by to wound the autumnal city at 12:19 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by JoeZydeco at 12:19 PM on May 19


For me, it's this excerpt from Heaven and Hell, which became the theme music for Carl Sagan's TV series Cosmos. So simple, not much more than a couple piano cords that flow back and forth, yet the whole thing builds layer after layer. I remember playing this on my Walkman headphones looking out the car window at night on road trips. Vangelis is one of the reasons I ever learned to play piano.

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posted by dnash at 12:23 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by wanderingmind at 12:24 PM on May 19


𝄐
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:25 PM on May 19


Immense musician. Great loss.
Few people are aware of Papathanasiou's "symphonic poem", "Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit" (part 2) [YT], an early overlooked masterpiece consisting of an etheral musical soundtrack overlain on sounds from the May 1968 student revolt in Paris, and released only in France and Greece. Wiki:
...Recorded in 1971 and released in 1972 with the subtitle Poeme Symphonique, the entire theme of the record focuses on May 1968 in France and the student riots taking place there at the time. The album consists of a sound collage of music, field recordings, news snippets, protest songs and paroles. One of the choruses was later reworked as "Athenes Ma Ville" on Melina Mercouri's 1974 album Si Melina m'Etait Contée. Translated the title reads, "Make your dream outlast the night...
posted by talos at 12:27 PM on May 19 [7 favorites]


oh no.
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posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:38 PM on May 19


🎹
posted by jazon at 12:46 PM on May 19


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posted by brainwane at 12:47 PM on May 19


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posted by riruro at 12:52 PM on May 19


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:01 PM on May 19


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posted by Wordshore at 1:01 PM on May 19


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posted by Kosmob0t at 1:01 PM on May 19


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posted by loquacious at 1:07 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Oh man, so much of the soundtrack to my life.

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posted by Jacen at 1:19 PM on May 19


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posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:26 PM on May 19


Maximum distance from the sun: 94,537,000 miles. Minimum distance from the sun: 91,377,000 miles. Mean distance from the sun: 92,957,200 miles. Mean orbital velocity: 66,000 miles per hour. Orbital eccentricity: 0.017. Obliquity of the ecliptic: 23 degrees 27 minutes 8.26 seconds. Length of the tropical year, equinox to equinox: 365.24 days. Length of the sidereal year, fixed star to fixed star: 365.26 days. Length of the mean solar day: 24 hours 3 minutes 56.555 seconds in mean solar time. Length of the mean sidereal day: 23 hours 56 minutes 4.091 seconds in mean solar time. Mass: 6,600 million million million tons. Equatorial diameter: 7,927 miles. Polar diameter: 7,900 miles. Oblateness: 1:298. Density: 5.41. Mean surface gravitational acceleration of the rotating Earth: 32.174 feet per second per second. Escape velocity: 7 miles per second. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39. Albedo: 0.39...
posted by offog at 1:27 PM on May 19 [9 favorites]


Horizon, Jon and Vangelis

Safe journey.
posted by vverse23 at 1:30 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


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posted by lazaruslong at 1:39 PM on May 19


Check on your weird, prog-loving Greek friends (everyone has those, right? It can't just be me).

I am someone who owns two copies of Aphrodite's Child's 666 on vinyl which is absolutely a legitimate lifestyle choice.

He is definitely one of those people that reshaped (resounded?) what film scores could sound like for the better.
posted by edencosmic at 2:04 PM on May 19 [4 favorites]


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posted by oceanjesse at 2:25 PM on May 19


Before going solo Papathanassiou started in a couple of unusually big for Greece pop/rock bands. He started his career as songwriter and keyboardist of the first massive Greek pop-group Forminx. This was their first concert. The first song in the video - Jeronimo Yanka - was a huge hit / dance craze at the time (1964), credited to Papathanassiou and based on a Finnish folk dance with extra Surfin' Bird vibes.
Three years later he followed the currents of his era and joined Demis Roussos in Prog Rock Aphrodite's Child (one can hear the first inklings of Papathanassiou and Roussos later Blade Runner collaboration) - a great band as well.
Vangelis was a truly multifaceted and creative artist, he will be missed
posted by talos at 2:38 PM on May 19 [4 favorites]


A random comment from elsewhere, on watching him improvise on that incredible system he'd created: "I'd always assumed Vangelis was lots of people."
posted by mhoye at 2:47 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 2:47 PM on May 19


Thank you so much. Soundtrack for a decade, the 1980s, with Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner but I first heard of you flipping through the LPs in the Import bin, seeking new, electronic sounds in the late 70s, where I'd see this 1975 record, Can You Hear The Dogs Barking?
posted by Rash at 3:00 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


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Do not forget Aphrodite's Child and '666'
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:02 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


(I see I was ninja'd by @talos three comments earlier.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:03 PM on May 19


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posted by detachd at 3:32 PM on May 19


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posted by mubba at 3:57 PM on May 19


The very first album I ever bought was the soundtrack to _Chariots_of_Fire_.

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posted by Slothrup at 3:58 PM on May 19


I remember how difficult it was to get hold of the bootlegs of the original Blade Runner soundtrack, and how triumphant I was when I did get one. I was a little nonplussed by the "official" release in the early '90s, but still glad to have it. Shortly after that release, I saw a really incredible dance performance set to some of the cuts from the soundtrack--I always wondered if the dance company pounced as soon as it became official, so they could get rights to use the music.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 5:21 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by threecheesetrees at 5:28 PM on May 19


There’s probably an alternate universe where Vangelis is the mercurial keyboard wizard of Yes, and Rick Wakeman is celebrated for his award-winning soundtrack works. In our universe, Vangelis was briefly in Yes in 1974, but fortunately, that arrangement didn’t work out, and the musical and film worlds are better for it.

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posted by stannate at 6:02 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]




(and also the 1986 Gallo commercial by Hal Riney & Assoc with a score by Vangelis)
posted by bz at 6:06 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Sat down for a break at work today and read this news and it hit me HARD. I was 12 when Cosmos came out, well primed by Star Wars and Star Trek and the music was so mysterious, so otherworldly... I bought the original The Music Of Cosmos vinyl [YT, 46m], which melded music new and old and introduced me to names I'd never read before and suddenly entire new worlds of music were opening to me.

This would not only my discovery of Kitaro and Vangelis but also, close to them in that section of the record store, Mannheim Steamroller (then pre-Christmas, so the early Fresh Aire albums), and Tangerine Dream, and peculiarly the Environments ambient noise albums. From there things just kept expanding for me.

Truly a giant part of my aural existence is due entirely to Heaven And Hell Part 3 and Cosmos and the doorways and windows and paths that led out from there.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to keep current with Vangelis across the years and have done several posts about him here and others also do posts about him and it's always wonderful and fun and delightful.

I guess I'm most sad that there will never be new Vangelis music now. I don't know if there's going to be anything like an estate with recordings to issue or whatnot. He seems a bit more singular and insular to have anything released after his death.

Anyway, he is a giant for me, and this one hurts.

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posted by hippybear at 6:23 PM on May 19 [8 favorites]


One of those folks who just seemed to be ageless concepts rather than flesh and blood.

Having seen some of his improv videos and heard stories about how a lot of the Jon & Vangelis stuff was improvised direct to recording with minimal adjustment before release... makes me wonder if he wasn't some kind of manifestation of Music walking amongst us for a time.
posted by hippybear at 6:28 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


This is sad, is there a name for the type of music or at least music simialr to the iconic "Blade Runner Blues?" It reminds me of my childhood playing video games for some reason.
posted by geoff. at 7:09 PM on May 19


Do not forget Aphrodite's Child and '666'

previously ...
posted by philip-random at 7:10 PM on May 19


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Maximum distance from the sun: 94 million 537 thousand miles
Minimum distance from the sun: 91 million 377 thousand miles
Mean distance from the sun: 92 million 957 thousand and 200 miles
Mean Orbital velocity: 66000 miles per hour
Orbital eccentricity: 0.017
Obliquity of the ecliptic: 23 degrees 27 minutes 8.26 seconds
Length of the tropical year: equinox to equinox 365.24 days
Length of the sidereal year: fixed star to fixed star 365.26 days
Length of the mean solar day: 24 hours 3 minutes 56.555 seconds in mean solar time
Length of the mean sidereal day: 23 hours 56 minutes 4.091 seconds in mean solar time
Mass: 6600 million million million tons
Equatorial diameter: 7927 miles
Polar diameter: 7900 miles
Oblateness: one 298th
Density: 5.41
Mean surface gravitational acceleration of the rotating earth: 32.174 feet per second per second
Escape velocity: 7 miles per second
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39
Albedo: 0.39

posted by fairmettle at 7:11 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


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My favorite of his is Chung Kuo which makes me feel like a cute kitty walking down the street and the whole universe is okay.
posted by fleacircus at 9:26 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by riverlife at 10:14 PM on May 19


music similar to the iconic "Blade Runner Blues?"

Possibly that Ballad off his Spiral, from a few years earlier, which I'd have to specify as my favorite Vangelis album.
posted by Rash at 10:36 PM on May 19


If anyone would like 4 hours of generative modular synth noises that sound a whole lot like Blade Runner soundtrack type noises, I have this for you:

Folding Space - Generative Modular Ambient

No, it's not the same at all, but it's close, and it's four solid hours of it.
posted by loquacious at 10:42 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


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posted by Faintdreams at 1:44 AM on May 20


The lyrics to that Vangelis tune that always played in Carl Sagan's Cosmos, as transcribed by me:
doo-doo-doo doot DEE
doo-doo-doo doot DEE
doo doo-doo doot DEE
doo-doo-doo (wait, wait, wait)
BOOM BOOM BAM-BAM-BAM BOOM
DOO-DOO-DOO DOOT DEE!
DOO-DOO-DOO DOOT DEE!!
DOO-DOO-DOO DOOT DEE!!
Fwaangaaawangabizzzooooooom!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:45 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


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posted by bouvin at 3:10 AM on May 20


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posted by xtian at 4:16 AM on May 20


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posted by miles per flower at 4:31 AM on May 20




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posted by lordrunningclam at 5:26 AM on May 20


Plenty of favorites mentioned above, let me add Song of White
posted by DreamerFi at 7:06 AM on May 20


Played over and over again in my teens, on tapes illicitly copied from my father's legitimate ones: Friends of Mr Cairo, and the sublime compilation album Themes, which sent me on a futile, years-long quest for the soundtrack of The Bounty. My absolute favourite of the Themes was and is La Petite Fille de la Mer, pulled from L'Apocalypse des Animaux.

Meanwhile, the Blade Runner soundtrack is more likely to trap me in a shop (unable to leave till it finishes) than any other music.

I also have particular soft spots for The City (borrowed from the library in a nearby town in my early teens), Antarctica (Christmas present when I was in the sixth form) and Voices (one of my first CDs, a present in my first year of university).

Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that he was mortal.

I lost track after El Greco. I have a lot to catch up on.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:59 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


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posted by lock robster at 10:32 AM on May 20


...original Blade Runner soundtrack...

From around that time I remember that terrible cover version being available until the 1994 official release came out.
posted by ovvl at 5:35 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


39 years ago a friend introduced me to Antarctica by Vangelis. It was not the music I was listening to, but I had, absolutely had to have my own copy.

I have not thought of it in several years, maybe decades -- now it is playing on youtube.

Tomorrow I will figure out where my copy is. And remember to play it often.

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posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 9:58 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


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posted by q*ben at 5:48 AM on May 21


Jon (Anderson) speaks of meeting Vangelis, how Friends of Mr. Cairo came to be, other cosmic (and otherwise) stuff.

From a year ago.

(the band in question being Yes)
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral

burned into my soul at an early age

farewell musical dervish

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posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:36 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


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