Arista 1984 / Esoteric 2014
A homecoming triumph and a treatise of mind-crafted immediacy from the master of painstaking detail.
Given the complexity of his works, including the famous soundtracks, it may come as a surprise that Vangelis, as revealed in a recent documentary, can’t read or write music, so there’s pure composing at play. And it couldn’t be more pure when the synthesizers maestro took to this album, whose very title implies his modus operandi, which was think up, press the “Record” button and keep overdubs to a minimum. Still, taped in Greece to open a new chapter in Vangelis odyssey, just like "Heaven And Hell" did when the artist emigrated to London, “Direct” doesn’t sound improvised at all.
It’s the least so in “Glorianna (Hymn a la Femme)” where Markella Hatziano’a soprano soars beyond the pale stealing the thunder from symphonic clouds underneath, and in the dramatic flow of “Message” picking up the themes from previous pieces, whereas “The Will Of The Wind” marries the celestial to the earthy with the delicate flute and slow beats dancing all around in a folk midi-blizzard of guitar-like riffs and solos. On a heavier plain, “Metallic Rain” suddenly gets heavy and builds the tension up to a hard rock crescendo, while “Dial Out,” making a CD debut here, resolves it into a solemn piano-and-organ passage until the vibe is shaken with a cosmic disco rave.
“Ave” shapes it differently, smearing children’s choir and Latin rhythm over slapped bass and new age noodling, yet the cello in “First Approach” brings solar solace to the fore. Elsewhere, “The Motion Of Stars” sprinkles broad chord strokes with scintillating particles destined to form an ambient background before the pseudo-orchestral moves paint the actual melody which turns nebulous as an inkling of white noise and bells’ toll take the space. “Intergalactic Radio Station” tunes in for metal clang one more time only to add pop harmonies to it.
As a result, there’s nothing direct – meaning: predictable – to this record. It was worth coming home.