Spiral (Vangelis album)
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|Studio album by Vangelis|
|Recorded||Nemo Studios, London, 1977|
|Label||RCA #3022 (LP)|
Spiral is a 1977 album by the Greek musician Vangelis. The sleeve design was by Vangelis himself (mentioned on the cover). The recording engineer was Keith Spencer-Allen, assisted by Marlis Duncklau.
Track listing 
All songs written by Vangelis.
- "Spiral" – 6:55
- "Ballad" – 8:27
- "Dervish D" – 5:21
- "To the Unknown Man" – 9:01
- "3+3" – 9:43
Track 3 is subtitled "(inspired by the Dervish dancer who by his whirling realises the spiralling of the universe)".
The album is entirely instrumental, apart from Vangelis' processed vocals on "Ballad" (one of the few occasions where his voice can be heard on his albums). Vangelis plays synthesizer, sequencers, electric piano, drums and percussion. It is the first album on which Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer, on which he relied heavily in subsequent work.
Spiral is a futuristic album, and Vangelis makes extensive use of the synthesizer technology of the day; this album is probably the most sequencer-based on his recording career. Each piece has a distinct style.
"Spiral" builds on an arpeggio chord that is panned in stereo to give the listener a spiralling sensation; the piece continues along a sequenced synthesizer pulse and develops into a slightly black, somewhat bluesy piece that builds on Vangelis' patent brass.
"Ballad" is a calm piece, building on electric organ, harmonica (probably a synthesizer patch) and Vangelis' voice run through filters and a reverb. It climaxes on brass and timpani, then losing steam and returning to harmonica calm.
"Dervish D" is, according to the sleeve notes, "inspired by the Dervish dancer who by his whirling realises the spiralling of the universe". Musically, there is little that reminds one of Medieval Byzantine music: a sequencer arpeggio base, percussion and synthesizer melody. The use of blue notes gives the piece the most blues feel on the album.
"To the Unknown Man" is a piece in three parts. It starts off minimalist with a slow pulse sequence and a simple guitar-like melody. Strings come in, and the piece progresses to the march-like second part. In the third part, the melody disappears, and is replaced with a rock beat and organ chords.
"3+3" is, true to its name, built entirely in threes. It consists of three parts, and although the measure changes several times, all parts are either 3/4 or 6/8 (although some appears to be 9/8). An elaborate 12/8 pulse sequence runs along the whole piece. The brass chords in the course of the piece resemble a true big band, no small feat with 1970s synthesizers.
Further developing his new age style of webs of sound on the synthesizers, already displayed in his previous two studio albums (Heaven and Hell, Albedo 0.39), Vangelis creates another album that constitutes one of his reference albums from the seventies.