Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Vangelis - Soil Festivities (1984)

Often underrated, coming in after a run of legendary, indelible soundtracks (Chariots Of Fire, Antarctica; not to mention Blade Runner, which wouldn't get a proper album release til much later), Vangelis' 1984 release was this great album.  Soil Festivities conceptually put the natural world under the microscope, reflected in its artwork (rear cover below, not to mention the jumping beetle on the front).  Vangelis described it as just the album he wanted to make, "rather than sell a million records", and the result was a classic that I reckon ranks among his very best.

The five 'Movements' that make up the album open with the longest, at 17 minutes, as storm clouds give way to a rainforest teeming with life, centred around an insistent pulse as the track opens up to all the warm, melodic synth washes and odd little sounds you'd expect from Vangelis.  In the closing minutes, this gives way an elegaic electric piano section and more rain.  The second movement is similarly melodic and insistent; both of these tracks would be perfect documentary soundtrack material for a marching army of ants or suchlike.

The second half of the album is more dark and dramatic, especially in the very soundtrack-like Movement 3.  The most minimal track, like a trip back through time to life in a primordial soup, Movement 4 is based around a slow, repetitive minor-key sequence that would appeal to Tangerine Dream fans, but it's unmistakably Vangelis.  Lastly, Movement 5 is more lively again, led by an almost jazzy electric piano.  Soil Festivities is gorgeous, highly listenable 80s electronics of the highest order - recommended.

mega / zippy


  1. Your music taste is just awesome. I like the blog and albums you share. I myself like 20th century composed music. Keep posting.

    1. Nice one, cheers! More 20C classical on Monday - solo piano this time.

  2. thanks for the recommendation - haven't seen this before.