Vangelis – Amore (Monster Melodies, January 2016)

From darkness into light. Although of course it’s never that easy: whether the thought of more hitherto uncovered Vangelis from the vaults makes you raise your glass or your eyebrow, you have to admit that what happens in those vaults is never quite what one expects, always offering a varied, surprising range of impressions, shapes and colours. Amore is a relatively minor 1974 film by Henry Chapier – who had already collaborated with Vangelis on his earlier, also relatively minor Sex-Power in 1970 – in which a young French architect is called to save Venice from the water and, you guessed it, falls in love with a young countess who of course just breaks his heart.

And what does Vangelis Papathanassiou, Hellenic cosmos-adventurer extraordinaire, do with such a picture? Vangelis paints Venice though music: its fuzzy pinks and brown-blue mists, its lacy, ghostly architectures, its dark canals. And because it’s Vangelis, all of this is executed through the maestro’s famous taste for the grand haunted panorama, the long quivering synth line, the minor-key glitchy introspection, the naive music box-like melody juxtaposed with electronic reformulations of ancient Eastern instruments. Highlights are the incredibly strange “Marina”, where a ‘sexy’ breathiness distorts into a shriek, the apocalyptic yet childhood-infused “Ruga Do Pozlic”, and the huge and plaintive airy landscapes of “Venezia” and “Amore”. This record is a sonic Canaletto painting in SECAM colour, neo-classical glitch, absolutely gorgeous.