AFL1-2627 Spiral
Produced by Vangelis
Released on December 1977
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
AFL1-2627 cover  

I f you’re going to build a solid Vangelis collection, there’s no getting around Spiral. It may be the most accessible entrypoint into what otherwise is a troublesome period that found Vangelis exploring difficult themes (Heaven and Hell, Beaubourg). Mixing space themes with brisk melodies, this album is bound to delight Jean-Michel Jarre fans, though Vangelis’ more serious fans might have difficulty making a meal from Spiral. As with Opera Sauvage, Spiral stands up as a good sampler of Vangelis’ various styles: the space cathedral imagery of “Spiral,” the contagious energy of “Dervish D,” the graceful gait of “To The Unknown Man,” the haunting soulfulness of “Ballad” and “3 + 3” are traits that reappear throughout his career. The knock on Spiral (usually levelled by classical-leaning leftists) is that it doesn’t present the composer in a serious light. The grand mythology of Heaven and Hell, the intractable Beaubourg, the pioneering Albedo 0.39 all felt more substantial than Spiral. As the liner notes suggest, perhaps Vangelis was interested in bringing electronic music into the mainstream, though ironically the album proved less popular than previous efforts. Over the years, many of these tracks have been featured on compilations, which speaks more to the self-standing portability of these cuts than intrinsic merit. Seen as a vacation from his heavier concepts, Spiral does feel like a breath of fresh air or a long gaze at a starry night sky. The bubbly patterns and bright sounds are perhaps best left to Jarre, but why can’t Vangelis have some fun too? As much a spacewalk as a cakewalk, Spiral courts commercial success on familiar territory. It’s not a pillar in his musical Parthenon, but rather a pretty fresco that distracts the eye warmly.

AFL1-2627 back cover
AFL1-2627 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. SPIRAL    6:55
  2. BALLAD    8:27
  3. DERVISH D    5:22
  4. TO THE UNKNOWN MAN    9:01
  5. 3 + 3    9:43

    All songs written by Vangelis

CREDITS

VANGELIS -- all instruments
Keith Spencer-Allen -- engineer

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/FRA/ITA/
NET
December 1977 RCA Victor LP/CS PL-25116 gatefold cover w. picture sleeve
US/CAN December 1977 RCA LP/CS/8T AFL1/AFK1/AFS1-2627  
GER/NET   RCA LP/CD NL/ND-70568 picture sleeve
UK   RCA LP 3022 gatefold cover, picture sleeve
EUR October 1989? RCA 3CDBOX 88059 box set w. HEAVEN AND HELL
+ ALBEDO 0.39
US April 29, 1997 Windham Hill CD 11230  

 

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