Alpha Beta – Astral Abuse (1971)
Today’s presentation is an obscure record released without the alias that made him a worldwide famous composer, producer, and musician: Vangelis.
Let’s go to our artist:
Born in Volos, Greece on the 29th of March 1943 Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου) was a self-taught prodigy who avoided most formal piano lessons. Apparently, a gifted painter as a child his schooling was based on a formidable memory that enabled him to learn by intuition rather than by rote.
In the ‘60s he was part of the popular groups The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child who hit big with “Rain and Tears” and the double album 666, selling more than 1 million copies over the four years of the band’s duration of rising stardom in Europe and US!
A significant figure during turbulent times in Greece Vangelis began his score work in 1970 and then released his first proper solo disc – Earth – in 1973. After moving to London Vangelis’ distinctive electronic album work took off, acclaimed scores for movies like Chariots of Fire, Conquest of Paradise, Blade Runner, Alexander, and many many more remain perennial best sellers and feature in the American Film Institute’s list of greatest scores of all time(!). He is considered a titan in the electronic field releasing more than 50 albums in a career spanning the period from the 1960s when he was in bands in his native Greece to the present day. A deeply private and guarded individual who rarely grants the press entry into his world Vangelis explains himself best when he says:
“Mythology, science, and space exploration are subjects that have fascinated me since my early childhood. And they were always connected somehow with the music I write.”
In 1975 Vangelis looked back:
“I like the whole spectrum of music. Jazz, pop, rock, the classics. I have no taboos, any kind of music is great, so long as it is honest. So I’m glad to help any artist whom I like. You see, I don’t regard myself primarily as a producer. It’s just that I have so many ideas, I can’t put them all on my own records. Production allows me more flexibility, more outlets. I was a prisoner of Aphrodite’s Child for three years, in the end, I was desperate. I was forced into the position of turning out music that didn’t interest me because of our own success. When I first went to Paris, I had lots of ideas that I wanted the group to be. But I realized that, as a new and foreign act, we had to create confidence in ourselves from the record company. And that confidence comes only from proving that you can earn money for them. What I didn’t realize is, that has created a precedent, it’s very difficult to diverge from it. It takes years to change your product. I have no regrets about that period, but it did waste a lot of time.“
Let’s go to our album:
Alpha Beta is probably it’s less known work to date, released on the legendary BYG Records label and distributed by Discodis in France back in 1971, this 7” presents a wild experimentation vibe with haunting vocals, paced percussion, lots of keyboards floating around the psychedelic guitar-synth driven session in a far off trip… απολαμβάνω!
A Astral Abuse
Written By: Koulouris, Papathanassiou, Vilma
B Who Killed?
Written By: Papathanassiou, Gomelsky
Guitar: Argiris Koulouris
Performer: Evangelos Papathanassiou
Vocals: Vilma Lado
Illustration: Evangelos Papathanassiou