RCA 1977 / Esoteric 2013
Coiling and unfolding, twirling and blinding: a well-tempered dance into the great unknown.
It was a logical progression from the grind of “Earth” to the emotional rift of "Heaven And Earth" and cosmic chill of "Albedo 0.39", and it required the ultimate squeeze and release: cue this album that puts individuum onto the universal map in search of a balance. Such a distillation of new age shapes the quiet, brass-kissed and march-stroked allure of “To The Unknown Man” before it spreads its wings across the disco skies. Yet there’s another solid strain in the record’s DNA, as one of the melodies woven in the stereo-swirl which is its title track echoes the “We Will Rock Your” refrain, while a finger-popping passage of the catchy “Dervish D” clearly provided Mike Oldfield with a “Foreign Affair” riff.
The futuristic stance is underscored by the composer’s pioneering use of Yamaha CS-80 and sequencers in order to, paradoxically, produce an organic, rather than synthetic, effect. Adding to it, the artist sifts his own FX-supressed vocal through the otherwise abstract ebb and flow of “Ballad” but injects the pseudo accordeon theme into it, thus throwing an arc to the concrete Gallic detail of "Beaubourg", although “3+3” wraps its three-part throb around the three-fold rhythmic measures without ever sounding math-minded – conversely, its harmony rocking approaches the wild violin sonics. Now, here’s a beautiful coda to it all as a bonus B-side “To The Unknown Man – Part Two” pitches a delicate descent into the heart of this album’s galactic spring to render it one of the best, if often overlooked, Vangelis’ creations.