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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

VANGELIS: L'Apocalypse Des Animaux (1973)

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

“L'Apocalypse des Animaux is a very poetic and sensitive opus which, if not brilliant, is simply divine”

1 L'Apocalypse Des Animaux- Générique 1:25 2 La Petite Fille de la Mer 5:53 3 Le Singe Bleu 7:30 4 L'Ours Musicien 1:00 5 La Mort du Loup 3:00 6 Création du Monde 9:51 7 La Mer Recommencée 5:30 Polydor | 831 503-2 (CD 34:34) (V.F.)

(Acoustic Electronic Tribal Music)

I continue my incursion in the universe of Vangelis (I know; I am slow) with the very beautiful and a little too much underestimated L'APOCALYPSE des ANIMAUX. First of all, a bit of history. It's for the needs of a series of six documentaries animal kingdom, showed on the French television at the very beginning of the 70's, that this first collaboration between Vangelis and Frederic Rossif resulted in in this album. Still a member of Aphrodite's Child, Vangelis has composed a good amount of library music in his Parisian studio of which only forty minutes or so were selected to give more life to Frederic Rossi's images. Polydor produced a first vinyl album in 1973, will follow around thirty other pressings among which about 10 in CD formats and some bootlegs which will bring nothing more to the musical history of L'APOCALYPSE des ANIMAUX.

Don't get yourself fooled by the African rhythm of the opening track to judge the whole album. What we have to know is that L'Apocalypse Des Animaux- Générique used to open and end each of the broadcast presentations, from where the rhythm very livened up by tribal percussions which drum a heathen dance with sudden stops and starts. Set apart this track and the burlesque mood of L'Ours Musicien, L'APOCALYPSE des ANIMAUX is made of tenderness and lace. La Petite Fille de la Mer is the first real success of Vangelis. We have all, or more or less, heard this soft morphic lullaby which harmonizes the delicate glass arpeggios, ringing with so much brightness, to the chords of a guitar as fragile as the ethereal rustles from the synth pads that we easily confuse with the singings of angels. An album more acoustic than electronic, where the synths only weaved at this time the sonic background of the universe of Vangelis, the album is a dreamy and very melancholic musical collection that will doubtless draw the paths for a style that one should call New Age a few years farther. As beautiful and silky, Le Singe Bleu makes again tinkle these glass arpeggios which spin weakly in the breaths of a trumpet that a bluesman forgot on the ice floe of his melancholic musing. It's black and dark, just like the very solitary La Mort du Loup and its delicate approach of a Greek street performer where we also hear some sonic scents here that will obsess the torments of Decker in Blade Runner. At that time, I had a great deal of difficulty listening to face B. I found the approach of the static resonances of Création du Monde too dark and the atmosphere rather atonal. The CD version has reconciled me with this track which embraces unmoving ambient figures and phases in suspension like threatening shadows. Today, Steve Roach's universe drinks of these ethereal movements which are of use to spiritual introspections. Behind this slow and heavy ambiospherical pattern hides a delicate morphic melody among which the crepuscular lights and the lost chords float with hesitation in the slow currents of the synths and of its grave tones. A style that Vangelis has skillfully developed over the years and which widely influenced the ambient approaches of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. La Mer Recommencée proposes a much quieter vision with crystal clear and musical tones. I like the effect of the waves that Vangelis creates from his cymbals. This shows how much the man was quite a visionary artist. And he still is!

L'APOCALYPSE des ANIMAUX is the kind of album that divides the opinions about the works of Vangelis. Some people regret its lack of liveliness, while that several others like exactly this very poetic approach of the Greek musician. I've been on both camps. The first album I heard from Vangelis was Spiral (1977), thus you can easily imagine my face with this extremely quiet album. Then, one evening I hooked on face A which played and played so many times. And when Polydor reintroduced the work in a CD format, I discovered face B with a certain delight. At the end, it remains a very beautiful album which, if not brilliant, is simply divine. So, let's admit that this gap is rather weak...

Sylvain Lupari (September 13th, 2013) ***¼**

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