VANGELIS: Earth (1973)
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
“Earth is the album of transition for Vangelis where we feel definitively that the embryo that has struggled in Aphrodite's Child was ready for new musical adventures”
1 Come On 2:09
2 We were all Uprooted 6:50
3 Sunny Earth 6:39
4 He-O 4:10
5 Ritual 2:46
6 Let it Happen 4:21
7 The City 1:14
8 My Face in the Rain 4:22
9 Watch Out 2:49
10 A Song 3:39 Vertigo 6499 693 (LP 38:47) Vertigo 532 783-2 (LP/CD 1993) (Ethnic rock acoustic folk) (V.F.)
It's good to dive back into history! EARTH is an album of Vangelis that worked hard before charming my ears. And it really took quite a very long time before I finally ended to like it. And was it worth it? I think so because I found on it some musical structures that, nowadays, are the cradle of the influences of several artists and styles. When one hears the first beatings of Come On, the heavy drum, the riffs and guitar solos we understand at once that EARTH is the junction between Aphrodite's Child and the solo career of Vangelis. With Robert Fitoussi who sings Come On, on a rhythm that makes us stamp, we are almost in a universe of heavy rock while in fact we enter a rather eclectic musical universe where the folk roots of Vangelis breathe at full chords. Although the albums Sex Power, Hypothesis, The Dragon and Fais que ton Rêve soit plus Long que la Nuit (we can even add L'apocalypse des Animaux) are archived in the history before the release of EARTH, this album would be the very first real solo album of Vangelis and was released under the name of Vangelis O. Papathanassiou.
Big crashes of thunders open We were all Uprooted. We abandon the electric side for a more acoustic approach with a musical structure of the psychedelic years when we are making jiggle our hips under some kind of chemical influence. A violin caresses the chords strongly pinched of a very lyrical guitar which sings as much as dances under scattered thunderclaps. The drums and the bass structure a slow rhythm which waddles as these Hindou spiritual structures of trance which seem to have strongly influenced Mind Over Matter. After a Greco-African tribal incantatory introduction, Sunny Earth proposes a musical structure similar We were all Uprooted but with more punch. I hear at times sound flashes which remind me of Black Mountain Side from Led Zeppelin. He-O was not completely unknown to me. It's a kind of folk rock sat on good tribal percussions and on chords of lively acoustic guitars that support a good duel of harmonious voices and a splendid play of guitar from Anargyros Koulouris and these spirals of piano that have made the mark of Vangelis. Ritual is a hallucinatory track with a slow rhythm constantly disrupted by abrupt shifting movements. It's a very incantatory piece of music that flirts the trance rhythms of We were all Uprooted, just like the violent Watch Out. The influences of Aphrodite's Child are very present. Let it Happen is more of an acoustic synth-pop kind. It's a ballad that we know to be from Vangelis due to the arrangements. That's not really my cup of tea. Although that when it doesn't sing, the music is nice. The noisy percussions of The City bring us to the very beautiful, to the very romantic and to the very melancholic My Face in the Rain. That sings? Yes and it's very well done. This is a good ambiospherical ballad where I hear some harmonious flashes that will seduce us plenty many years after. Superb of tenderness, A Song rests on thin lines of voices filled with tremors. The piano spreads bit of harmonies, such as rainy drops singing in a desert, over a cosmic structure which gets closer to what that Vangelis will offer a few years later. We already feel that Vangelis goes away from Aphrodite's Child to get closer to Heaven and Hell. Very nice.
Uneven will say some people? I'm not really sure about that! I would rather say enchanter and especially very catalyst for the musical story of a great artist. EARTH is the album of transition for Vangelis where we feel definitively that the embryo that has struggled in Aphrodite's Child was ready for new musical adventures. After having broken my ears more than once, I would say that it's a rather good album and an inescapable one if we want to understand the career of the Greek musician, but especially to hear his story and his roots. The eclecticism is at the heart of its beauty. I like this tribal approach which inhales the Greek tales and these structures of acoustic folk rock a bit psychedelic which soak into some very oneiric ambiences. It's like floating between both creative poles of Vangelis.
Sylvain Lupari (November 2nd, 2013) **½***