In 1969, somehow in Paris, Vangelis and Henry Chapier got together. Henry is a French actor, director, writer, radio- and televisionjournalist and programmehost. He was born November 14th, 1933 in Bucarest. He played several small roles in films like "Les Idoles" (1964) "Erotissimo" (1968) "Un Homme Et Une Femme: Vingt Ans Deja" (1986) and "Comme Des Rois" (1987). Chapier and Vangelis agreed to co-operate and Vangelis received commission to make the score for “Sex Power”. After the break-up of Aphrodite’s Child, Demis Roussos and Vangelis remained good friends. Vangelis made the score, Demis sung some parts on it.
Sex Power, featuring Jane Birkin, Alain Moury and Bernadette Lafont was part of the 18th Filmfestival of San Sebastien. It received a Silver Shell. The festival was held 5 – 14 July 1970. Chapier’s second movie (his first is “Un été Américain”) is not a soft porn movie as most sources claim, but a story told in many flashbacks and -forwards. It is an art movie, told in many likely loose scenes. There is no plot, no real end like most movies have, Sex Power is in the way of storytelling quite unique. The press wasn’t too enthousiastic about the film. Guy Hennebelle, a French filmjournalist, wrote in 1970:
“Nobody would doubt, if one would, that the 1960 generation gave a lot of not to neglect creators to French cinema. (...) Robert Benayoun, Cournot, Yves Boisset, Maurice Labro, Pierre Philippe and Gilson let us wait impatiently for their next films. Henry Chapier’s Sex Power would really not disturb that situation. This pretentious and overestimated film shows a fundamental inaptness and goes beyond the theory of filmmaking. It is not the intentions of Henry Chapier that are dishonourable and would be made really perceptible by one or another collegue. It is especially the bathing in boredom what is most regrettable and his avowed workout in a much too mannered style. And he loves bric-a-brac, an extraordinary way of makebelieve of intelligence and sensibillity, to show but not to appear what makes it irritant.”
An eyewitness wrote about the reaction of the audience at the film festival:
“Nods to other entries, such as Henry Chapier’s "Sex Power" were met with philosophical indulgence and polite applause".
After Sex Power two other movies were made by mister Chapier and Vangelis. "Salut Jerusalem" (1972) is a film without actors. This documentary has finally seen daylight to the public after 40 years on DVD and as stream on the French televisionarchive INA.fr. The third movie made by Chapier and second movie scored by Vangelis is “Amore”. A dreamy scored movie, the music has never been released separately like Sex Power, but is heard in the movie. Mister Chapier is now director of “@rt outsiders”, a French photography festival.
In Paris, around 1970, another co-operation started. Vangelis and the French documentary filmer Frédéric Rossif got to know eachother. It was the start of a very long friendship and a fertile co-operation. This ended April 18th 1990 with the death of mister Rossif. He is buried in graveyard Montparnasse in Paris. He made an impressive list of films, several of them are made with the music of Vangelis. Most of that music is never released on LP or CD so it could be heard only within the documentaries.
In May 1971, Tony Oxley (drums), Brian Odger (bass guitar), Vangelis (keyboards) and Michel Ripoche (violin) jammed away at the Marquee Studios in London. Without any rehearsal they made a recording on a master tape. This recording was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky. The second time they jammed away together was in June 1971 with Arghiris (Koulouris) on guitar, Michel Ripoche, Brian Odger, Mick Waller (drums) and Phil Dunne (engineer). The first jamsession is known as Hypothesis, the second one as The Dragon. Both recordings came out for the first time in 1978, but none of the musicians had given their permission for a release of the recordings. A lawsuit followed, the artists won and the records were taken out of the shops immediately. Despite of that, the vinyl is still quite easy to obtain, secondhand. There are illegal CD's in shops everywhere, but still they are illegal! The sleeve of Hypothesis is made by Angus McKie. The picture used for the sleeve of The Dragon is made by Terry Oakes. It is based upon the books by H.P. Lovecraft.
L ' Apocalypse des animaux and Earth were two new records, brought to public in 1973. They became worldwide hits. L' apocalypse des Animaux is a compilation of music that was made for the same titled wildlife documentary by Frederic Rossif. That is a reason why this LP isn't listed as Vangelis first solo album. Much of the music there was never included on the LP. Dick Morresey helped Vangelis out on one track. The first French LP pressing shows a track time of more than 17 minutes. Strange, all other pressings show a tracktime of ten minutes. Unfortunately, the track is no longer as those ten minutes, even on the French first pressing. A little mistake on the LP's sleeve. The music is very slow, relaxing, it sounds a bit like new age music of later times.
Earth is a studio album recorded at Europa Sonor in Paris. The black and white sleeve shows a curlheaded Vangelis in close-up. There is a 7" made of this LP, which is quite rare to find nowadays.
Every once in a while, Vangelis worked together with other musicians. In 1974 he worked with singer and composer Francois Wertheimer. Their record was made just before Vangelis moved to London, to start a new and creative liveIn the same year Vangelis and Jon Anderson got together. A year later (1974) they recorded Heaven and Hell, Jon sang on "So Long Ago, So Clear" on that album. They talked about their first meeting in a BBC radio-interview in 1982, Vangelis said that it must have been some sort of destiny that the men got to know eachother.
Listen here to a fragment of that interview
Just before Vangelis started his creartive live at NEMO, he had some work to do for a new movie. Ace Up My Sleeve also known as Crimes and Passion, is a 1975 film starring Omar Sharif and Karen Black. The original version of this movie uses new music by Vangelis, later the soundtrack was, for unknown reasons, replaced by other music by another musician.
First thing Vangelis did in London was the recording of two albums. In the Orange Studios, near Piccadilly, he made the album "Phos" with Greek group Socrates. In the same studio, some days later, he recorded the self-titled album "Mariangela" with 17 year old singer Mariangela Celeste. In fact, when Vangelis recorded Phos, Mariangela provided the backing vocals on "A day in Heaven". In return, the men of Socrates provided music, uncredited, on Mariangela's album.
Mariangela (Celeste) is not to be confused with Mariangela, the Italian singer known from her song "Ninna Nanna" performed at the San Remo festival 2007.
Another thing Vangelis did when he was setteled in London was to sign a new contract, this time with recordcompany RCA, nowadays Universal. The next dream Vangelis wanted to realise, was to set up his own studio. His eyes felt upon the ex-BBC Command studios. But the owners didn't want the studio being used for recording music. So Vangelis bought some equipment and found a new place to work. This was the Hampden Gurney Studio, which was located near the Marble Arch.
The building where his studio was being built into, was a former Anglican girlsschool. After it was used as school, it was transformed into a filmstudio where commercials and short films were recorded. The American director A.G. Melkom was one of the last to use the building for recording films in 1974. At the first floor a balletschool was seated. The second floor was the place for Vangelis. When he had his studio there, he left some parts of the filmstudio intact like the raised platform and some light equipment. He named his studio NEMO. The first recording Vangelis made in the new NEMO studios was "Heaven and Hell". The album took six weeks to finish. It was a hard task to make the album:
"That was not an easy time for me. I was trying to put together the studio while recording my first album, Heaven and Hell, at the same time. In fact, the studio was hell, because there was unmixed concrete everywhere, builders all over the place making a lot of noise and next to all that, there was I, trying to finish my album. (...) If you try to wait before the building work is complete, you’ll end up waiting forever!"
The place was 430 square feet (39,9 m2), the separate control room was 23 x 44 ft. (7,0 m x 13,4 m). It was packed with all sorts of instruments, equipment, couches, large floorcusions, carpets, toys, statues, sculptures, plants and chairs. Keith Spencer-Allen, at the time Vangelis' engineer, said about the environment:
"We do spend so much time here together, that we cannot afford to have any tension between us. Here we can make music in a totally relaxed atmosphere taking as much time as necessary."
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