March 29, 2018

20,000 Vinyl LPs 135: Aphrodite's Child ~ 666

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Today is the birthday of Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou; a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music and one of the founders of the Greek progressive rock band, Aphrodite's Child. He would later become famous for his scores for Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner; by that time he had become known simply as, Vangelis.        
 
       

vinyl lp album front cover 
photo by Styrous®


My very favorite album of his was the score for Blade Runner and I was really tempted to write about it but it was this album, 666, which introduced his work to me.

As with all albums, I have a favorite cut and in this recording it is "∞" ("Infinity"), the most controversial "song" on the album. I do not call it a song in this case as it is not sung but rather verbal by Greek actress, Irene Papas, speaking, chanting, groaning and sometimes screaming in varying tempos, "I was, I am, I am to come, I was" while a sporatic percussion plays in the background. Both Papas and the percussion gradually build into an orgasmic frenzy. Vangelis described the track as conveying "the pain of birth and the joy of intercourse."      

I used the cut in one of my "Love Act" sets when I was dancing with Pillow at the Hungri i on Broadway in San Francisco (link below). It was the most graphic of all the "sets".         
              


vinyl lp album back cover 
photo by Styrous®


Papathanassíou (Vangelis) founded Aphrodite's Child with Demis Roussos, Loukas Sideras, and Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris. After four years and two albums, 666 was the last album the group produced.         

666 is a progressive rock concept album created by Vangelis and film director Costas Ferris, who served as the project's lyricist. Ferris cited as influences the nonlinear narrative style of the films Intolerance, Rashomon, Citizen Kane and The Killing, as well as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and Tommy by The Who. The central concept is a countercultural interpretation of the Book of Revelation, in which a circus show based on the apocalypse performs for an audience at the same time that the real apocalypse takes place outside the circus tent, and at the end the two merge into one. Ferris described the result as a "concept book", and stated that he intended for the narration to be looser than Tommy, but more rigid than Sgt. Pepper. There is complete information about the album, story, performers, complete lyrics, etc., on the Vangelis website, story of 666 (link below) and there is a great description of it on Head Heritage (link below).           


vinyl lp album back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®


The album was ill fated from the beginning. Mercury, the band's record label, objected to the content of the album, however, Vangelis refused to remove the offending tracks (such as 'oo' Infinity),  By the time it was completed, the group had disintegrated due to artistic differences and by the time it was released, the group had already disbanded.    
     
There was only one single from the album, Break/Babylon, which was released in November 1972,     

vinyl lp album back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®


The first song on the album, "The System", fades in with a choir chanting "We got the system, to fuck the system!" and a drum roll by Loukas Sideras. The lyric is inspired by the Abbie Hoffman pamphlet, Fuck the System.        


vinyl lp gatefold album front
photo by Styrous®


The Four Horsemen deals with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the lyrics mostly paraphrasing the text of Revelation 6. It is the best known songs of 666, The Four Horsemen influenced Beck's "Chemtrails", which has a similar structure, and "The Rolling People" by The Verve. The chorus was also sampled, in a slowed-down fashion, on A7 by Daniel Lopatin, from Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1.       


vinyl lp gatefold album interior
m. Dubré - inner sleeve painting 
photo by Styrous®


The Seventh Seal is an instrumental with a repeated keyboard and string instrument melody, and British-accented narration by John Forst describing the lamb opening the last of the Seven seals, based on Revelation 6. Forst's line, "And when the lamb opened the seventh seal, silence covered the sky" was sampled in the Enigma song, The Rivers Of Belief.      


vinyl lp gatefold album interior detail
m. Dubré - inner sleeve painting 
detail photo by Styrous®


Vangelis was born on March 29, 1943, in Agria, near Volos, Greece. Largely a self-taught musician, he began composing at the age of three. His earliest memories include playing piano, percussion, and music of his own device. He did not have substantial knowledge of reading or writing musical notation. He has called himself fortunate to not attend music school, which he considers a creative impediment. He studied painting, an art he still practices, at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Vangelis said in an interview with Life, when asked about his lack of ability to read music:       
"When the teachers asked me to play something, I would pretend that I was reading it and play from memory. I didn't fool them, but I didn't care."   


vinyl lp gatefold album interior detail
m. Dubré - inner sleeve painting 
detail photo by Styrous®

When Vangelis was twelve years old he became interested in jazz music; later it was rock and roll. At fifteen years old he started to form early school bands, not to cover other musicians, but to have fun, resulting in the early 1960s being one of the founders of the pop rock group, The Forminx (or the Formynx), which became popular in Greece.  Based in Athens, the five-piece band played a mixture of covers and their own material, the latter written mostly by Vangelis (with English lyrics by DJ and record producer Nico Mastorakis).     
        

vinyl lp gatefold album interior detail
detail photo by Styrous®


Around the time of the student riots in 1968, Vangelis founded progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child together with Demis Roussos, Loukas Sideras, and Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris. The group settled in Paris where they recorded their first single, a hit across much of Europe called Rain and Tears. They sold over 20 million copies of their first two albums, End Of The World (1968) and It's Five O'Clock (1969).       

The success and the huge record sales of the frist two albums led Vertigo to request a third album, and Vangelis went on to conceive the double-album 666, based on Revelation, the last book in the Bible.   

666 is often listed as one of the best progressive rock albums. A remarkable features of this album is the guest participation of actress Irene Papas who did the vocal on (Infinity).      



The inner sleeve


vinyl lp record sleeve 
photo by Styrous®



vinyl lp record sleeve 
photo by Styrous®



 















vinyl lp side 1
photo by Styrous®



















vinyl lp side 2
photo by Styrous®


















vinyl lp side 3
photo by Styrous®


















vinyl lp side 4
photo by Styrous®







Tracklist:

Side 1:

A1 - The System - 0:23
A2 - Babylon, Lead Vocals – Demis RoussosTenor Saxophone – Michel Ripoche - 2:51
A3 - Loud, Loud, Loud - 2:37
A4 - The Four Horsemen, Lead Vocals – Demis Roussos - 5:57
A5 - The Lamb - 4:34
A6 - The Seventh Seal - 1:30

Side 2:

B1 - Aegian Sea - 5:25
B2 - Seven Bowls - 1:25
B3 - The Wakening Beast - 1:07
B4 - Lament - 2:55
B5 - The Marching Beast - 2:00
B6 - The Battle Of The Locusts - 0:56
B7 - Do It - 1:45
B8 - Tribulation - 0:32
B9 - The Beast, Lead Vocals – Lucas Sideras - 2:23
B10 - Ofis - 0:17

Sdie 3:

C1 - Seven Trumpets - 0:30
C2 - Altamont - 4:45
C3 - The Wedding Of The Lamb - 3:35
C4 - The Capture Of The Beast    - 2:15
C5 - ∞, Vocals – Irene Papas - 5:16
C6 Hic Et Nunc, Lead Vocals: Demis RoussosTenor Saxophone, Michel Ripoche - 3:00

Side 4:

D1 - All The Seats Were Occupied - 19:27
D2 - Break, Lead Vocal: Lucas Sideras - 2:55

Companies, etc.

    Manufactured By – Mercury Record Productions, Inc.
    Distributed By – Mercury Record Productions, Inc.
    Recorded At – Europa Sonar

Credits:

    Arranged By, Producer, Composed By, Organ, Piano, Flute, Percussion, Vibraphone, Backing Vocals – Vangelis Papathanassiou*
    Artwork By [gatefold Interior] – Michel Dubré
    Bass, Backing Vocals – Demis Roussos
    Bass, Tenor Saxophone, Congas, Drums, Backing Vocals – Harris Halkitis*
    Drums, Backing Vocals – Lucas Sideras
    Engineer [Assistant] – Jean-Claude Conan
    Engineer [Recording] – Roger Roche
    Guitar, Percussion – Silver Koulouris*
    Lead Vocals – Irene Papas (tracks: C5)
    Lyrics By – Costas Ferris
    Lyrics By [Greek Text] – Yannis Tsarouchis
    Mastered By – Gilbert Kong
    Narrator – John Forst
    Trombone – Michel Ripoche

Notes:

Released on a Vertigo ''swirl'' label in a gatefold cover.
Labels on sides B and D do not have song credits after track lists.
Note: Side C has "Side A" printed on it.
666 insert included (see images)
Letter insert (see photos) may only be for promo, but no other indication of promo on release. Letter is dated May 9th, 1972 and LP was first issued in February of 1972.
Note in gatefold: "This work was recorded under the influence of 'SAHLEP'"
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Matrix / Runout (Side A runout/stamped): VEL-2-500A-M2
    Matrix / Runout (Side A runout/etched): -1-1 G.K. PR
    Matrix / Runout (Side B runout/stamped): VEL-2-500-B 1
    Matrix / Runout (Side B runout/etched): -1-1 G.K. PR
    Matrix / Runout (Side C runout/stamped): VEL-2-500C-M2
    Matrix / Runout (Side C runout/etched): -1-1 PR
    Matrix / Runout (Side D runout/stamped): VEL-2-500D-M2
    Matrix / Runout (Side D runout/etched): -1-1 G.K. PR

Aphrodite's Child ‎– 666
Label: Vertigo ‎– VEL 2-500
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1972
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock

Personnel:

Band musicians

Guest musicians

Production

  • Vangelis - producer
  • Roger Roche - engineer
  • Jean-Claude Conan - assistant engineer
  • Hitoshi Takiguchi - mastering engineer
  • Hans Brethouwer - mastering
  • Gerard Fallec - production coordination, sleeve design
  • Giorgio Gomelsky - "passing by" (production assistance)
  • Minoru Harada - product manager
  • Kiyoshi Tokiwa - art coordinator
  • Unknown artist - inner sleeve painting
Released: June 1972
Recorded: Late 1970 – early 1971
Recorded at Studio Europa Sonor, Paris, France


    
Viewfinder links:     
       
Vangelis articles/mentions     
Leatherneck, Pillow, a Hungry i      
           
Net links:     
       
Vangelis website ~ the story of 666               
Head Heritage ~ Aphrodite's Child: 666      
The Escapist ~ Aphrodite's Child - 666 (1972) review                       
Metal Reviews ~ Aphrodite's Child ~ 666         
       
YouTube links:     
       
Aphrodite's Child – 666        
      
Tracklist:  
[00:00] The system 
[00:22] Babylon 
[03:13] Loud loud loud 
[05:53] The four Horsemen 
[11:50] The Lamb 
[16:22] The Seventh Seal 
[17:51] Aegian Sea 
[22:32] Seven Bowls 
[24:43] The Wakening Beast 
[24:53] Lament 
[27:53] The Marching Beast 
[29:54] The Battle Of The Locusts 
[30:50] Do it 
[32:33] Tribulation 
[33:06] The Beast 
[35:32] Ofis 
[35:47] Seven Trumpets 
[36:21] Altamont 
[40:47] The Wedding Of The Lamb 
[44:50] The Capture Of The Beast 
[46:52] Infinity (∞) 
[52:07] Hic and nunc 
[55:00] All the Seats were occupied 
[01:14:22] Break
         
         
         
Χαρούμενα γενέθλια, Ευγένελος!  
     
         
         
Styrous® ~ Thursday, March 29, 2018       

       










March 28, 2018

Amy Sollins memorial ~ March 24, 2018










photos by Styrous®














































































































The shadow of your smile is with me forever.
                   ~ Styrous® 




   
Viewfinder link:  Amy Sollins articles/mentions      
       
        
    
Styrous® ~ Wednesday, March 28, 2018