“Rapsodies” is the second full-length album by Vangelis and Greek actress Irene Papas, of which a large part of the music was recorded around 1982 in Vangelis’ famous Nemo (home) studio in London.
The at times quite minimal and majestic music is a celebration (and electronic rendition) of seven Byzantine liturgical hymns, featuring Irene’s dramatic Greek voice in the spotlight of the sacred themes. Vangelis on his part creates both bombastic along intimate, emotive and overtly spacious background atmospheres, encompassing a nice current of mystery and tension.
I for one am especially fond of the smooth evolving, quiet textures he paints throughout each of the tracks, most notably on the fully instrumental “Rhapsody” and the darker soundscapes rounding things out in the second part of “Song of Songs”.
The merging of the traditional and the contemporary on this recording creates a special (occasional almost Medieval) mood that’s hard to pinpoint, but a pleasure to listen to.
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