VANGELIS: Juno to Jupiter (2021)
Updated: Oct 28, 2021
“This album exposes a complex and rather flawless soundscape, creating a titanic work”
1 Atlas' Push 3:41
2 Inside our Perspectives 3:32
3 Out in Space 4:14
4 Juno's Quiet Determination 5:18
5 Jupiter's Intuition 3:58
6 Juno's Power 4:09
7 Space's Mystery Road 4:18
8 In the Magic of Cosmos 2:07
9 Juno's Tender Call 3:42
10 Juno's Echoes 3:39
11 Juno's Ethereal Breeze 1:31
12 Jupiter's Veil of Clouds 5:17
13 Hera/Juno Queen of the Gods 4:21
14 Zeus Almighty 11:01
15 Jupiter Rex 1:36
16 Juno's Accomplishments 4:23
17 Apo 22 1:54
18 In Serenitatem 4:15
Decca – 4855038
(CD/DDL 72:58) (V.F.)
(Cosmic, Sci-fi, Orchestral, Cinema)
Sometimes when I get carried away by too much emotion, I say to my Lise or my old friend Bernard; I know ears that would kill to hear this! And this is JUNO TO JUPITER, the latest album from Vangelis. Following the cosmic advances of man, like with Rosetta, the Greek musician still shows his ability to create titanic works that are part of his impressive collection of music. From Albedo 0.39 to Oceanic, while passing by China and Direct, JUNO TO JUPITER gravitates between his different styles as well as his eras. We are entitled to good confusing electronic rock as well as to these dense atmospheric passages adorned of always silky orchestrations. The poignant moments are linked to some of these orchestrations but mostly by the presence of the international soprano Angela Gheorghiu who makes us dream 3 times on this magnificent album of a timeless musician.
Atlas' Push immediately puts us in appetite with a cosmic ambience where the buzzing of Juno puts in perspective moments of communication between its crew and the NASA personnel. A small nod to the China album, the two surviving chords in Chung Kuo, can be heard in the last right of the track that spills into the opening of Inside our Perspectives, an excellent electronic rock supported by good percussions and a funky-sounding bass line. The synth throws solos and harmonious snippets on a slow and driving rhythm, almost with the heaviness of a good strobe effect drifting between two spheres. It is with Out in Space that the philharmonic face of JUNO TO JUPITER appears. Already, these orchestrations are poignant with slow sails, think of Antarctica, that waltz with this filament of luminous arpeggios girdling and preventing from overflowing these symphonic percussions that are lulled by a dreamy piano. Juno's Quiet Determination sounds like the random walk of a duck in a pious oriental mood. A quiet track that leads us to Jupiter's Intuition, an atmospheric orchestral track. Then, Vangelis offers a breathtaking moment with its multiple philharmonic layers. Juno's Power comes back in strength with an orchestral electronic rock led by good percussions, lively staccatos and a routed harp in the orchestrations' background. Intense in this mix of Chariots of Fire and 1492 Conquest of Paradise, Juno's Power pours in Space's Mystery Road which is a nice downtempo like we hear on Voices or Oceanic. Good bass, metronomic percussions and indiscreet piano, you can't help but like it! In the Magic of Cosmos is a prelude filled of passion and emotion whose structure serves as a springboard for Angela Gheorghiu's voice voice sliding on a harp in Juno's Tender Call. A great ambient moment with chills and tears guaranteed. At least one of them!
Electronic effects take us to the edge of Juno's Echoes, an astral procession over two percussive chords and a delightful synth bass whose harmonious overtones recall Angela's whispers. Astral winds, tinkling silver jewels of wind chimes, futuristic effects and children's voices drive the brief destiny of Juno's Ethereal Breeze. Dark breezes pull it into Jupiter's Veil of Clouds, whose first 2 minutes are woven into an atmospheric web. The piano suspends its harmonic vision, similar to Space's Mystery Road, in order to insert a series of circular beats that return with more strength in its second turn. The atmospheres, always on the verge of imploding wildly, bring us back to the progressive jazz-rock period of the Spiral and Albedo 0.39 albums. This title goes into Hera/Juno Queen of the Gods which also puts in scene the new Diva of the Greek musician. Without having the same impact as Juno's Tender Call, it remains a sweet and poignant track with the big timpanis rumbling like thunders. The angers of Zeus which drives us to the smashing opening of Zeus Almighty. This track, which requires a few listens to fully understand the music, is a long orchestral saga that blows hot and cold invoking and tempering the wrath, as well as the wisdom, of Zeus. Jupiter Rex completes the torment with symphonic explosions that dilute the cries of the horns. All this explosion of passion brings us to Ms. Gheorghiu's third appearance in Juno's Accomplishments. Imperial, her voice makes us swirl with intoxication over a structure designed to express herself in the pain of the sopranos. It reminds me a lot of Glorianna (Hymn to the Woman) in terms of the power of her voice that manages to give me chills again, especially in the last line. In Serenitatem continues the short cosmic interlude of Apo 22, in a finale imbued of serenity. Not much music, even less rhythm, in this ambient track which is a sanitized finale of a very beautiful album that was starting to lack breath.
Lack of breath yes, but not enough to become uninteresting, JUNO TO JUPITER exposes a complex and rather flawless soundscape. Vangelis has not lost an iota of his creativity in offering an album of a long duration, nearly 73 minutes, considering his production standards. Take away those 20 minutes, and it would be quite a masterpiece!
Sylvain Lupari (October 28th, 2021) ****½*
Available at Groove nl