Vangelis - Beaubong [Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records - 2013]Beaubong was the 10th album from this celebrated Greek electronic composer & musician. It originally appeared back in 1978, and it saw Vangelis offering up one of the most experimental works of his 40 plus year career. The album conists of two lengthy pieces that are built around an improvised mixture of polyphonic analogue synth work & ring modulation.
This is the 2013 reissue of the album, and it finds the album getting full remastering by Vangelis himself. This release is part of a series of six or so Vangelis reissues on Esoteric Recordings(the prog/ 70-80’s electronica sub- label of Cherry Red Records). And like the other reissues in this series this is a fairly bare bones affair that doesn’t feature any extra sonic content, or new inlay booklet material- this is basically just a remastered reissue with the only addition been the new series linking design look, and a one page write-up about the album.
The album takes it name & it’s theme from the Beaubourg district of Paris, and in particular the steel superstructure & concrete floors of infamous postmodern building Centre Georges Pompidou( which was constructed between 1971 & 1977).
Each of the two tracks (Beaubourg, part 1 & Beaubourg, part 2) run between eighteen & twenty one mintues a piece. And each track is built around a series of improvised synth patterns/textures which are feed through the ring modulator- these patterns move from been quite noisy, jarring & angular. Onto more soothing, sometimes eerier semi harmonic & almost ambient sways, through to more darting & dramatic almost futuristic sounding synth-scaping. For the most part there seems little formal structure to the tracks lay-out, but really that makes the whole thing more rewarding & spontaneous in it’s feel, as even after several plays through the album you still don’t really know where the tracks will set down next. At times the album sounds quite modern classical like( think a more retro sounding take on Zappa’s Synclavier based work), at others it’s more playful & noisy, and others more moody & soundtrack wise…so really the whole things fairly varied in it’s scope & movement
All told Beaubong highlights a very different, more edgy & experimental side of this Greek electronic whiz, and if you have any interest in more adventurous long form synth based works of the 70’s & 80’s this is well worth picking up.Roger Batty