The first time I heard Vangelis was as a child watching Ridley Scott’s “Legend.” The second time was “Blade Runner.” But it was only recently that I did a more substantial survey of the greek synth god’s discography.
Last month, while navigating through the hills of Los Angeles with my friend who had Vangelis’s best of album “Gift” playing on his car stereo, the track “Intergalactic Radio Station” started playing and my friend said, “Check this song out.” What followed was a jaw-dropping realization. I said, “Jesus Christ… M83 totally ripped Vangelis’ style on this song.”
The slow, deliberate beat, the soaring ambient pads and effects, vocals hovering through the mix. Guitar parts piercing the dense clouds of synths, while arpeggiations ripple here and there. It’s very proggy and nerdy, but then again, so is M83 on occasion.
A little over halfway through the song, Vangelis, as my friend was quick to note, makes the track swing with a more deliberately marching beat, supplemented with of all things saxophone. And then, like M83 has done so effectively, Vangelis inserts a monologue: “I’ve seen things… so many things you can’t believe,” evoking Roy Batty’s last monologue from “Blade Runner.”
The speaker goes on to say, “Past designs, future designs, cables in the bend. Second hand sounds, future sounds, synthesized dialogues. Incomprehensible software… Here are some names for you: ‘polyester landscape, nylon oxygen, ashes to concrete, et cetera, et cetera.”