Thursday, June 28, 2012

40 Year Itch: Music For The End of the World


Before Vangelis composed the soundtracks to Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner, he was Evangelos Odyssey Papathanassou, a keyboard wizard in a Greek 1960's rock trio called Aphrodite's Child. Their 1969 album It's Five O'Clock is a worthy listen.

For 666, released in June of 1972, Vangelis teamed up with poet Costas Ferris to retell the Book of Revelation. Within the 78 minutes of this epic double album, you get Greek choruses, schoolchildren reading scripture, the actress Irene Pappas in the throes of orgasm : "I am to come, I was", and a lot of very short instrumentals that aren't anywhere nearly as interesting as the band must have thought they were. In its entirety, the album annoyed me. But if you break it down to the best tunes, it's a ...revelation.

You get some incredible tunes: "The Four Horsemen" sounds like something The Flaming Lips would eventually do thirty years later. The catchy "Babylon" sounds like The Who (Guitarist Silver Koulouris steals the show throughout the album). And the single "Break" sounds like a Dennis Wilson song.

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