What are your first memories of Vangelis? Well I can remember buying an album on Polydor many years ago which was the soundtrack to the film, , which I am sure was in 1973, the thing is it was a spur of the moment thing, I was in London up at 58 Dean Street and it was one of those times when there was not really a lot out, so a trip up to London and come back with nothing was un-thinkable, I had to take something back. I must admit I had seen the LP a few times in the rack and looked at it and then put it back, so why not? Vangelis Papathanassiou I thought, wonder who he is?. It was a happy accident as they say, because it was a wonderful score and was something, I think that made me more aware of Vangelis as a soundtrack composer.



The film itself was a wildlife documentary directed by Frederic Rossif. The music was different from what I had been listening too, Morricone, Barry, Goldsmith all had a symphonic style, yes they all used some synthetics but this was electronic fully with one maybe two conventional instruments. But it was rhythmic, melodic and so emotive, the composer had created a score that was overflowing with poignant themes, touching nuances and haunting musical poems that would become familiar and also long-term favourites that I would return to many times throughout the years. The brief but affective opening track or Generique was filled with a musical energy, percussive and also melodic, Vangelis creating an up-tempo percussive backing to which he laid upon an imposing and powerful sounding theme of sorts.



A track that has stayed with me over the years is the mesmerizing and alluring LE PETITE FILLE DE LA MER, this is certainly the highlight of the entire score, again attractively compelling, with its light and poignant musical persona oozing melancholy, fragility and beauty. It is a charming and highly affecting cue, which beguiles and enthrals which is something I for one did not think a synthesised score could do before hearing this. The same can be said for track number three, LE SINGUE BLEU, this time the composer adding trumpet which is laid back and jazz influenced, underlined and subtly supported via vibes that are equally laid back, it is a relaxing and chilled listening experience as is track number four, LA MORT DU LOUP, the entire score has to it a new age sound, which for 1973 was very much ahead of its time. It is in my opinion a classic but sadly one that sometimes gets overshadowed by BLADE RUNNER. Check it out and discover the musical excellence that is Vangelis. This and other soundtracks by Vangelis are available on places such as Spotify and I tunes and on a thirteen disc set of compact discs, entitled, DELECTUS. Which includes not only his soundtracks such as CHARIOTS OF FIRE, BLADE RUNNER, and ALEXANDER, but also his pop songs including  I.LL FIND MY WAY HOME with Jon Anderson.




I first discovered Mexican born composer Gus Reyes a few years ago when I heard his score for THE DARK SIDE OF LIGHT and have ever since followed him and listened to his scores with much anticipation. Glad to say I have always enjoyed the composers varied and entertaining soundtracks, EL COMPLOT MONGOL is certainly no exception to the rule, he has collaborated on this energetic sounding and rhythmic score with two other composers, Andres Sanchez Maher and Dan Zlotnik. Reyes and Sanchez Maher worked together on the excellent EL CHAPO, which if you have not heard, you should. I have to say I really enjoyed the varied line up of styles and sounds present within EL COMPLOT MONGOL, from wild sounding Mambos, retro fashioned cues that would not be out of place in any James Bond movie or even a Matt Helm adventure, and laid back themes that could be off an album by Antonino Carlos Jobim. Without sounding negative the entire score is wonderfully over the top rhythmically and it’s a score that one can listen to without having to thnk too much about, because its such an entertaining listen. Jazz influenced, Latin compositions dominate the work, but it also has a great dramatic and action fuelled side to it. Even the percussive elements as in bongo’s are well done adding a tense and apprehensive atmosphere to the proceedings. Take the track GRINGO AGENT, this is fantastic stuff piano and drums acting as the foundation to an upbeat tempo with brass and guitar laying down an infectious theme throughout. This is one of the favourite cues on the CD and as I have already mentioned it creates a sound and a mood that is retro and attractive in every way.


Composers Gus Reyes and Andres Sanchez.


Its film music but its also music and music to be savoured enjoyed and then listened to again. Then we have THE RUSSIAN WALTZ, wonderfully atmospheric, with pizzicato, harpsichord, balalaika sounds and strings combining to fashion a quirky and somewhat comedic piece, which at times segues into something a little more up-tempo but only briefly, soon reverting to the waltz style. I think THE ACTION MAMBO too is a track I returned to a few times, simply because of its entertainment value, brass and percussion forming again an alluring and toe tapping composition that I think Lalo Schifrin would be proud of.

Dan Zlotnik.


TAXI REFLECTIONS too is a cue that will have you mesmerised, with its slow-paced percussion acting as a backing track to saxophone performances. It is a score of many colours and textures musically, and I think maybe I do detect something resembling a combination of Spaghetti western/Giallo sound in the last cue THE FINAL CONFLICT. All I can say is this is soundtrack that packs a punch and entertains on many levels, recommended.





Nainita Desai, is one of the UK’s leading award-winning composers working in both film and television music. She is the recipient of a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit award in 2016 and has written several memorable musical scores for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5, HBO, SKY, Discovery, PBS, Nat Geo, Smithsonian as well as for most of the leading independent UK film companies. She has established herself as a talented and versatile composer working on many varying genres of film and storylines. To say that she is innovative and inspiring would be an understatement, with each assignment the composer maintains a fresh and vibrant musical identity. Several of her scoring projects have won or been nominated for awards, these include: OSCARS, BAFTAs, EMMYs and RTS Awards. She has been nominated for an RTS Best Music Award 2014 for THE DAY KENNEDY DIED, RTS Best Sound Winner: Vinnie Jones: Russia’s Toughest (Nat Geo) and won the MUSIC+SOUND AWARD 2016 for the score for the movie, THE CONFESSIONS OF THOMAS QUICK.

Her score for TV series, THE EQUATOR FROM THE AIR is stunning and compliments and underlines the many visually beautiful moments within the series, supporting them without being obtrusive. One of her recent motion picture scores ENEMY WTHIN has caused more than a ripple of interest within the film music collecting fraternity. Released in 2019 ENEMY WITHIN, which is based upon true events, relates the story of a WWll Japanese pilot who crash lands in the sea off the Hawaiian island of Ni’ihau, it is an Island which the Japanese believe to be uninhabited, but has a small community who live off the sea as their ancestors have done for many years. The islanders rescue the pilot from drowning and bring him ashore. At first the locals treat him well and also afford him the hospitality that they are well known for. However, after they discover he was one of the pilots that were part of the force that attacked Pearl Harbour things begin to change. The film deals with many issues that arise from the rescue of the pilot and the divisions that begin to occur between the islanders because of him. The movie shows us the beauty of the Island and compares this with the unrest and eventual violence that erupts between people who have lived together for many years until the consequences and reality of war descends upon them.

The score for ENEMY WITHIN is one that tantalises and haunts the listener, its many themes invite us into a world that sounds exotic but at the same time is tinged with apprehension and melancholy. The composer turning to ethnic instrumentation on occasion to purvey a sadness or a sound that is subdued but at the same time powerful and emotive. The soundtrack is made up of conventional, ethnic and synthetic instrumentation, which guitar and violin solos making an appearance in many of the cues. The composer fusing together eloquently and wonderfully each component, with each of these working in unison complimenting and supporting each other. It is a score that is melodic and haunting, and one too that contains dramatic and commanding musical passages. Interesting, entertaining and compelling.