A few thoughts on ‘Delectus’

delectusDelectus is a forthcoming box-set of Vangelis albums dating from the 1970s/early 1980s, basically all the Polydor albums not already released in remastered form (his collaborations with Irene Papas came out remastered a few years ago).  It also features his first solo album, Earth, which appeared on the Vertigo label. As far I know, its the first time a deluxe box-set of Vangelis albums has been released.

Its a pretty big collection (back in the day, Vangelis was pretty prolific) and it contains most of his work dating from the Nemo Studios era; the  albums Earth, L’Apocalypse Des Animaux, China, Opera Sauvage, See You Later, Chariots of Fire, Soil Festivities, Mask, Antarctica and Invisible Connections, plus the Jon & Vangelis albums  Short Stories, The Friends of Mister Cairo & Private Collection. For most fans like myself, this is best work, and vintage Vangelis. My favourite Vangelis albums date from this era, particularly China and Soil Festivities.

Its unknown exactly how old these remasters are. I remember back around 2007 that sound engineer Frederick Rousseau had announced he had been remastering all of Vangelis’ back catalogue with the maestro. Some of these remasters (the RCA albums of the early 1970s) were subsequently released but the Polydor albums (other than those Papas discs, and  Chariots of Fire) remained unreleased.

So these remasters may in fact already be ten years old, but Vangelis fans are pretty much accustomed to being thankful for whatever scraps we get. I would have preferred separately packaged albums with original artwork but if a box-set such as this is the only way these Ploydor remasters will see the light of the day, then I’m fine with that. I appreciate the fact that physical sales, and the CD format in general, is on the wane, and that this is likely the only way these albums could see the light of day again- and it’s certainly the cheapest option. The extra carrot for fans are 4 additional tracks, which pretty much amount to b-sides from the vinyl era that have never been released on CD. While they are a nice addition, its a pity that this opportunity didn’t result in perhaps a full disc of material from that era that Vangelis didn’t release back then. He must have plenty of stuff considering the rumours of him recording everyday.

So I’m really looking forward to this (it’s less than three weeks away now, barring any delays). Just curious about how the remastering sounds- some of the RCA remasters had added tweaks (mostly reverb) and most alarmingly a few odd edits, which resulted in them being less of a success than hoped for. So I just hope Vangelis didn’t mess around with China too much. Certainly L’Apocalypse Des Animaux needs a remaster (my CD has always sounded like I’m playing a bad lp, its full of hiss and pop and collapses in the high-end) and the current CD of  Short Stories has the track separations messed up. The current CDs date back to the very beginning of the CD era over thirty years ago, so remasters are well overdue. We’ll just have to see. I do wish Vangelis would open up some of that vault material though- I suspect some of his best work has never been heard by anyone.

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