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Album Review Immersive and evocative interpretation of space exploration

Juno to Jupiter


VANGELIS’s career is one of constant drive and a striving for meaning. Not content with the limitations and politics of film production, he has progressed on to a spiritual fascination with space exploration.

For him, his musical voice and journey found as Nasa took up the baton for a very personal journey, commissioning many works from him. Each resulting in a deep interstellar music.

His latest release is inspired by the agency’s ground-breaking mission by the Juno space probe and its ongoing exploration of Jupiter.

Launched in 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4 2016, some 365 million miles away from the Earth at its closest point.

Due to its importance the mission that initially was scheduled to be completed by this July 31, it has been extended and Juno will continue exploring the full Jovian system — Jupiter and its moons until September 2025.

Vangelis meets Nasa’s ambition with his own. His formula has broadly remained in situ since his trail blazing scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire which won him an Oscar for best score and a Grammy for record of the year in 1982.

The heavenly ethereal lush sounds remain, his characteristic use of synths, bold brass riffs and expansive strings backed by his cosmos inspired long reverb, a unique sound.

The new album includes sounds from the Juno launch event on Earth, from the probe and its surroundings and Juno’s subsequent journey that have been sent back to Earth from the probe.

Voices featured on the album, courtesy of Nasa, include scientists Randall Faelan, Chris Leeds, Jennifer Delavan and Matt Johnson.

The opener Atlas’ Push sets the tone. Pulsing basslines over voices from Nasa mission control describing the probe’s jettison from its Atlas rocket.

Distant tribal drum machines taking on the workload give way to melodic clarinet and synth bursts. Juno’s Power is a driving percussive work.

Inside Our Perspectives ups the tempo with further futuristic drum loops and washes of driving synth leads.

In the Magic of the Cosmos slows the tempo but never lets up on atmospheric drive.

Romanian singer Angela Gheorghiu’s stunning soprano vocals make a welcome appearance on three of the tracks.

Juno’s Tender Call the highlight of the album. Gheorghiu’s soaring vocal dynamics acting like a guiding beacon, over lush strings and piano.

In Serenitatem closes the album — choirs slowly winding around chiming bells and layers of harmonised reverb, looking ever to the heavens, as the track conjures up the probe’s extraordinary mission into deep space.A unique album from a pioneering sonic explorer. Vangelis’s textures and unique world of sound challenges remain a thing of wonder.


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