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Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday Theme Eleven: RIP Vangelis

News came through on Thursday evening that Vangelis had died aged 79. Vangelis' soundtrack to Blade Runner (and all the other aspects of the film) are one of the formative influences on my tastes. Back in 1982, aged 12, the dark sci fi crossed with film noir of Blade Runner had a huge impact on me. Vangelis' synth soundtrack, from the pulsing, swooping Main Titles music through to the subtly epic Tears In Rain scene, is superb, the perfect synthesis of music and visuals. The soundtrack wasn't actually released until the 1992. Due to contractual difficulties an orchestral version recorded by the New American Orchestra came out in 1982, a version which was some distance from Vangelis' soundtrack. To listen to that you had to play your VHS copy. 

In the middle of the film replicant hunting Blade Runner Deckard is saved from death at Leon's hands by Rachael (the beautiful and brilliantly cast Sean Young). In a previous scene Rachael had turned up at Deckard's apartment trying to convince him she was human and not a replicant, based on the belief she had memories of her childhood. Those memories, the memories of her creator's niece, were implanted in her. When they return to Deckard's apartment, a single's man's flat in the middle of a futuristic Los Angeles where it rains perpetually, Deckard promises not to track her down and 'retire' her. They kiss and Vangelis' Love Theme plays, lush symphonic synth music with Dick Morrissey's tenor sax taking the lead. 

Love Theme

Later on, in the late 80s and early 90s Vangelis' music would enter my musical world again, with the majestic State Of Independence (both the 1982 Donna Summer single and the 1992 cover by Moodswings) and then the mid- 90s revival of some of his first band's music, the Greek psychedelia of Aphrodite's Child, especially the epic Four Horsemen.

RIP Vangelis. 


Walter said...

Sad news indeed and Blade Runner and Vangelis will always work together. Will listen to Aphordite's Child this weekend

Webbie - FootieAndMusic said...

My all time favourite film and composer (alongside Mozart)

Anonymous said...

Agreed, and Vangelis' album "China" with the lead track "Chung Kuo", which was used for TV, I can't recall for what.

Khayem said...

I never tire of listening to the soundtrack or watching Blade Runner, although it's been quite a while since I saw it in any of its variations or re-cuts.

I'm also still enjoying the Esper Edition that you introduced me to last year. No matter how many times I listen to Vangelis' music for Blade Runner, I manage to find something new or a different perspective to enjoy the sounds.

And, as you'll have guessed from my own tribute post, I love State Of Independence.

Aphrodite's Child will be coming up on my personal playlist this week.