Vangelis has died at 79, as the electronic music world mourns

The legendary Greek composer and electronic musician Vangelis Papathanassiou is the latest of a generation to leave us in 2022.

It’s hard to know what to say about the composer – too large a legacy to even fully grasp, amidst a flood of obituaries this year. Yes, Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner scores, yes, Aphrodite’s Child and yes, Yes (Jon Anderson). Blade Runner defined what synth futurism was; Chariots of Fire was iconic enough to be a sonic meme in the 80s, before what we know now as memes.

Maybe it’s best to leave the reflection to others, which includes today even the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (who broke the news, in Greek) and European Space Agency Senior Advisor Mark McCaughrean (ESA also worked with the composer):

Loosely translated, the Greek Prime Minister noted that knowing his second name was Odysseus, he began his long journey in the roads of fire.

Here are some collected obituaries and remembrances:

Vangelis Papathanassiou dead at 79 [loudersound]

Vangelis, composer of Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks, dies aged 79 [The GuardianBen Beaumont-Thomas]

Vangelis, Oscar-Winning Composer of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ Dead at 79 [Rolling Stone – Daniel Kreps]

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Our friends at mu:zines have a 1990 interview in Sound on Sound to read, by author Richard Buskin:

Amusingly, the composer (somewhat presciently in 1990) rails against synth complexity, saying “Mozart would have written a symphony in the time that it takes someone to programme several racks of equipment!”

Let’s start with another composer of beloved soundtracks:

The Oberheim OB-X8 is a beast – here are more sounds from it, straight-up

The OB-X8 was live in action at Berlin’s Superbooth – one big highlight was getting to see Dave Smith, Marcus Ryle, and team. But more sounds are coming out, as well.

Now, making sound samples of a massive polysynth like this is hard to do. It’d be hard to ask for sound samples of any instrument, period – and then a synth, with its fundamental mutability, doubly so.

But here that is anyway. From Oberheim themselves, INHALT aka Matia Simovich has done the ‘official’ sound demo, recorded straight into Pro Tools with no post processing or effects. So you could change the sound programming or, you know, change what you’re playing but at least what you’re hearing here is the actual synth output.

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Via Synthtopia, Paul Schilling has also been jamming away. Maybe what’s best about these demos is not only the demos themselves but the obvious enthusiasm. I know that’s especially great for the synth makers to see.

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Of course, to really understand the architecture here, I’ll again plug our walkthrough – and detailed specific sounds – by our friend Francis Preve, in case you missed this during the Superbooth rush:

I’m sure keen to play one for a while. Part of what makes everything old new again to me is that we’re changing in what sounds we imagine and desire. So just as a violin quartet can go in an entirely new direction in 2022 versus 1822, we can absolutely create new sounds with classic synth architectures.

As for Oberheim, after 40 years, you can now go to the new website with this new synth. And that’s a great feeling on its own:

Pioneering Composer & Synthesist Vangelis Dead At 79

Pioneering composer and synthesist Vangelis has died at the age of 79.

According to a report by The Guardian, Vangelis died Tuesday, May 17, in a hospital in France where he was being treated.

Vangelis (29 March 1943–17 May 2022) is one of the true icons of synthesis, reaching success in the worlds of rock, pop, film scoring and classical music. He was best known for his soundtracks to films like Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner.

Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou in 1943, he got his start with the groups Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child. The Aphrodite’s Child album 666 is notable as an epic and adventurous double-LP concept album.

In the 70’s, Vangelis developed a style of real-time composing, using multiple keyboard, alongside percussion and acoustic instruments, to create full arrangements. Using this approach, Vangelis composed scores for a series of nature documentaries, including L’Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête Sauvage and Opéra Sauvage. He also launched his solo career with the album Earth, the first of dozens of albums to follow.

Vangelis achieved mainstream global success in the 80’s. His 1981 soundtrack to Chariots of Fire was expressive and memorable, and not only did its theme reach number 1 on the US charts, but the soundtrack was awarded an Oscar.

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For many synthesists, the highlight of his soundtrack work is his score to the science fiction classic Blade Runner. Vangelis combined the power of the Yamaha CS-80 and other synthesizers with acoustic instruments and vocals to create a soundtrack that perfectly captured the complex multi-cultural dystopian world of Los Angeles, 2019.

Vangelis continued to score ‘A-list’ films throughout his life, including smaller films like Missing and epics like 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Alexander.

Vangelis was a composer of huge range and interests, and his solo albums reflect this. They combine a huge range of styles, ranging from rock to classical music to ambient to new age. We’ve characterized his music as “symphonic electronica”, because of his use of synthesizers and acoustic instruments to create richly orchestrated music.

His futuristic music was long-associated with space exploration. His 1976 album Albedo 0.39 takes inspiration from astronomy. His music was used as the soundtrack to Carl Sagan’s famous PBS series Cosmos. And several of his most recent albums, including Mythodea, Rosetta and Juno to Jupiter, grew out of collaborations with European and US space agencies.

In addition to his solo and soundtrack work, Vangelis collaborated with many artists and in many styles. With Jon Anderson, he release several pop albums, including the hit Friends of Mr Cairo. With Irene Papas, he released a pair of albums that feature electronic orchestrations of traditional Greek music. And his later work featured several collaborations with opera stars, including Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman.

NGHTMRE taps KLAXX for second debut album single, ‘The One’

NGHTMRE taps KLAXX for second debut album single, ‘The One’280714199 314908527482674 2993108027192274198 N 1

It’s full steam ahead for the rollout of NGHTMRE‘s debut album. The sophomore single from the upcoming LP comes in the form of “The One,” which gets an assist from fellow Southern Californian KLAXX. It’s not the first time that the two producers have come together; that honor belongs to 2021’s “Falling,” distributed via NGHTMRE and SLANDER‘s Gud Vibrations label. And considering that KLAXX has cited NGHTMRE as “one of [his] first inspirations” in the dance/electronic domain, their continued partnership couldn’t be any more wholesome.

On “The One,” both producers can be found flexing their production depth on the tune, which is decidedly lighter and more upbeat than “Falling,” laden with heavy trap- and bass-infused beats. The Lowly-backed single is a melodic festival anthem ripe to be sung in the summer sun and KLAXX knows it, imploring fans to “memorize the lyrics, and sing it at the top of your lungs.”

“The One” comes on the heels of NGHTMRE and SLANDER’s long-time ID “Fall Into Me” featuring Dancing Astronaut Supernova Dylan Matthew, premiered during NGHTMRE’s performance at Gud Vibrations’ Virtual Vibes Music Festival in October 2020.

Both NGHTMRE and KLAXX are avid skateboarders and wanted to incorporate this shared interest in their latest collaboration. In an Instagram post, they outlined a collaborative video effort with their fans that will appear on their Spotify canvas.

The post and “The One” can both be found below:

Featured image: Danilo Lewis

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Premiere: Cellini debuts on Tomorrowland Music with ‘Lose Yourself’

Premiere: Cellini debuts on Tomorrowland Music with ‘Lose Yourself’Cellini Annika Wallis

Italian-Belgian producer Cellini has certainly made a name for himself within the international dance music scene. With a diverse sound that intertwines melodic and acoustic elements, Cellini has already graced the stages of Tomorrowland, Tomorrowland Winter, and Untold Festival within the past couple of years. His productions are emotional yet powerful infusions of indie influence in club-ready frameworks. Cellini’s first single on the Tomorrowland Music label, “Lose Yourself,” continues this tradition.

“The track was built around a Kalimba loop. It literally started as a fun studio jam without the intention of going into a song structure. The drums were a natural layer and for once it felt good to not keep it four-to-the-floor,” Cellini said of the one-off, his first since 2021’s “The End.”

“Lose Yourself” captures Cellini’s signature sound: sentimental lyrics layered on euphoric, uplifting melodies. Cellini’s new single will officially release on May 20, but streamers can hear it one day early, exclusively via Dancing Astronaut.

Featured image: Anikka Wallis

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Lakuti announces Panorama Bar residency

Lakuti has been announced as Panorama Bar’s newest resident.

The DJ, booking agent and Uzuri Recordings curator, and co-founder of party series Bring Down The Walls and Your Love alongside partner Tama Sumo, will join the likes of Barker, Paramida, Sedef Adasi and Virginia as a resident at the esteemed Berlin institution. Lakuti — real name Lerato Khathi — has been a regular DJ and event curator at the club for over a decade. 

Announcing the news in an Instagram post, Lakuti confirmed that Berghain’s in-house agency, Ostgut Booking, would now be taking care of her bookings. Speaking about the residency she said:  “Happy to announce that I have now been given the opportunity to become an official Panorama bar resident. Thank you for all the incredible support that people have shown me and my endeavours over the years. I owe every achievement to that support. I come from a poor working class family in Soweto. I am grateful to my mother for encouraging me into believing in myself and that I can achieve anything and everything that I set my mind to and that I am just as worthy as everyone else.

“This encouragement has been my philosophy through out the years. I hope this achievement encourages kids in Soweto and every other townships, kids in Brazil, Detroit and beyond, that their contribution matters and they have something to offer. I hope this also encourages Black women in their 40’s and beyond that they too matter and their creativity is an asset. I hope to see more people like myself A Black & Queer African woman in their 40’s ++, being given these opportunities.”

Lakuti will make her debut as a resident this weekend (21st May) at Klubnacht alongside Roman Wings, Sedef Adasi, Ryan Elliott and Marie Malaria.

Daniel Avery announces new album, ‘Ultra Truth’, shares single: Listen

Daniel Avery has announced a new album, ‘Ultra Truth’, and shared the first single, ‘Chaos Energy’.

The track is out now, and comes complete with a futuristic video directed by frequent collaborator Claudia Rafael, which was made using artificial intelligence. As with the full album, it represents something of a stylistic departure for the DJ and producer, with Avery revisiting art and sounds that inspired him as a teenager during the process of creating the LP. For example, Deftones, Portishead, Nick Cave and the films of David Lynch are all cited as influences on the album

“’Ultra Truth’ finds me in a different place to where I’ve been before. My previous albums have all focused on the idea of music being an escape or a distraction from the world but that’s not the case this time. For me this album is about looking directly into the darkness, not running away from it,” Avery said. 

“There’s a way through these times but it involves keeping the important people in your life close to you and navigating the noise together. This is an intentionally heavy and dense album, the hooks often hidden in dusty corners. I’m no longer dealing in a misty-eyed euphoria. ‘Ultra Truth’ is a distorted fever dream of a record: riled, determined and alive,” he continued. “I’m working with an entirely new world of sound on this record. Every single influence from the last decade spent on the road plays a part. Things that have been in the back of my mind forever, warped, distorted and pushed to a new place.” 

The long-form release, slated to land on 4th November, boasts a slew of high profile guest appearances, with voice and vocal credits including HAAi, SHERELLE, Kelly Lee Owens, James Messiah, and AK Paul, and production nods to Ghost Culture and Manni Dee. Elsewhere on the album, fans will find the blissful and reflective homage to the late-Andrew Weatherall, ‘Lone Swordsman’, originally released as a single following the UK electronic legend’s passing in 2020

“Andrew was an enormously important figure in my life. It’s been said about him so many times, but Andrew was someone who did things entirely on his own terms, an outsider through and through,” Avery said. “He was a punk rocker as much as he was a techno DJ. I’ve always held on to what he taught me which was to offer a true expression of who you are at all times. That’s the ultimate goal. If this record sounds like it comes from a more shadowy place, that’s what it is and that’s who I am.”

In addition to the fresh studio work, Avery will showcase a new live show over the coming months, debuting at Lyon’s hugely respected Nuits Sonores late-May. Performances are also confirmed for Germany’s Melt, Primavera in Spain, Danish gathering Roskilde, and Belgium’s Dour. 

Two Shell share video for new single, ‘Pods’: Watch

Two Shell have shared a video to their new single, ‘Pods’. Check it out below.

The enigmatic London duo, known for their self-styled “cyber-pop club tracks”, first emerged in 2019, turning heads with a four-track EP released through Bristol’s Livity Sound. In January, they released their eagerly awaited ‘Home’ EP, which was followed by a BBC 6Music mix. The pair have also created a suitable amount of online buzz thanks to their remixes of pop tunes by Sugababes and The Corrs. 

The pair’s music has been picked up by the likes of Ben UFO, Avalon Emerson and Four Tet, who has invited them to play his all-day event in August. They’re also set to play Lost Village festival this summer. 

Ahead of those performances, the producers present their latest tune, which lands on their own Mainframe Audio label. ‘Pods’ also marks the beginning of a journey into a “cyber world” the duo are apparently building, with the early stages now visible on their website.

Yotto cements nuance in double-faced EP, ‘The Valley’

Yotto cements nuance in double-faced EP, ‘The Valley’Yotto Motion Bristol Alive

Following Laudic-assisted single “Skin,” Yotto cements his second release of 2022, The Valley. Delivered on his own Odd One Out imprint, the latest EP brings forth club-heavy production in grace and subtlety.

Providing a nuanced contrast of his evocative sound, the two-tracker output embodies a double-faced execution of Yotto’s consistency as a producer. Intrinsically dance-minded, “Moving On” boasts minimalist with its driving four-on-the-floor foundations and atmospheric overlay. Catalyzed by the vigor of an omnipresent loop, the lead track trades off between zippy embellishments and signature synths. Counterpart “The Valley” presents a more melodically tuned approach as signature elements from Yotto’s toolbox—resonant brass, incandescent arpeggiators, and polished drums—take a reiterated stance. Gleaned with pristine finish, The Valley showcases the Odd One Out boss’ ever-evolving dynamism as an artist driven by both craft and curatorial senses.

Embarking shortly on a string of tour dates, Yotto will take up the decks at several shows including Tomorrowland, Anjunadeep Explorations, and Palm Tree Music Festival. Find more details here.

Stream The Valley here.

Featured image: Alive Coverage

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Roosevelt and Nile Rodgers pay tribute to Studio 54 on new single, ‘Passion’: Listen

Roosevelt and Nile Rodgers have paid tribute to iconic New York disco loft Studio 54 on new collaborative single ‘Passion’. Have a listen below. 

The track is a thematic extension of German singer Roosevelt’s acclaimed 2021 album, ‘Polydans’, which the artist described as a love letter to the dancefloor, and the interconnectivity of parties. Continuing with that idea, he has teamed up with one of his own personal idols and one of the most significant names in contemporary music history, Chic founder Rodgers, with the pair creating a sonic ode to a truly legendary and era-defining venue. 

“Nile has been one of my biggest influences over the years, so working on a track together with him was an absolute dream come true. The track had many different shapes and forms over almost two years, so I’m happy to finally have a version that I’m happy with,” said Roosevelt, AKA Marius Lauber. “Nile and I worked on the track remotely via phone calls and e-mails, before I finally met him in LA to celebrate the completion of it. The man is a living legend to me, and just talking to him about the early disco days was such a big inspiration. ‘Passion’ is an ode to Studio 54, a homage to the energy and ecstasy of late-70s disco.”

Roosevelt has also cited efforts remixing the likes of Chvrches, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Glass Animals, alongside time spent DJing at intimate venues in cities such as London, Lisbon, and Berlin sources of inspiration. In the wake of this latest release, he embarks on a much anticipated European tour, calling at cities including Hamburg, Cologne, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Brussells and Istanbul. Full listings below.