Thracians, ancestor tribes in Southeastern Europe, who believed in afterlife, accepted and celebrated death. Much as I try to keep that in mind when a great figure of our time departs, my heart is heavy with the news that Vangelis has passed away at the age of 79.
I was introduced to Vangelis's music twice. Once through Bulgarian state TV who would use it in all sorts of video clips and programme signals. And a second time through a friend of mine, who had his albums on cassettes. I'd borrow my friend's copies of The City, 1492 Conquest of Paradise, Chariots of Fire, and be immersed in a grand, exquisite, sonic world. That was more than twenty five years ago - long before I would discover for myself Oceanic, Soil Festivities, and Blade Runner.
Re-listening to this material, it is so striking that every music technique I've discovered for myself over the years, through countless hours of experimentation and play, was already in Vangelis's music before I ever touched an instrument. He was well ahead on things I happen to like: sound design, ornamentation, syncopated timings, space, free exploration, even traditional music influences, everything is readily present in his music. I realise that those early experiences listening to his art, must have influenced me profoundly, and his sonic aesthetic and approach are, without doubt, embedded deep into my own music.
What a loss 🌊