VANGELIS

Silent Portraits

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Silent Portraits - Italian/UK LP front coverThis 1984 record is practically mythical. Those who have studied Vangelis' recordings have known about his recording of music for what was thought to simply be a photo exhibition, only used for that purpose and not heard of again. There have been a couple of brief excerpts floating around the internet, but nothing of substance. Now it is confirmed to exist on vinyl, with a bit more information about its purpose.

The music was created exclusively for a project involving Italian photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri, a series of black and white photos, mostly all portraits, of the inhabitants of the nation of Seychelles, a series of about 115 small islands, about 1000 miles away from the eastern African continent coastline, nestled in the Indian Ocean. I personally never heard of this nation before. The book and photographs together make up this project.

The presentation of this project is amazing. First of all, the book is printed in Italy by Garzanti Editore S.p.A. circa July 1984. It has a clothbound hardback cover that measures an incredible 15.5 inches horizontally and 12 inches vertically. It is 132 pages in length, filled with wonderful images of the inhabitants of these islands, on heavy glossy paper. Incredibly, the forward is written by Frederic Rossif, presented in both French and English.

Then there is the music. There is a 12" record housed in a glossy custom sleeve (as seen here to the right) without any additional text. The inner label of the record reveals no direct information, but judging by the large number "1" and "2" on the flipside, it is clear to me that this was produced by Polydor in England, as the label design is the same as some test pressing labels I have seen for titles like "Chariots of Fire" and "China". There are two tracks on this 12" record. On the A side is a track that lasts approximately 9:20, a calm, reflective piece of music. On the B side is a track that lasts approximately 11:00, a steady pulse guiding the listener through what initially sounds like a simple piece, but is filled with all those wonderful ambient sounds by Vangelis that is reminescent of his work in the 80s (and since it is 1984 when this is released, that makes perfect sense!). The music was meant to be played while looking at the wonderful photos. Vangelis would repeat this technique again when he completed his work on FOROS TIMHS STON GKREKO in 1995.

Both the book and the LP are then housed in a clothbound presentation box that measures 16.5 inches horizontally by 13 inches vertically. It is rather a heavy item! It is also a rather impressive rarity. It is a limited edition of 600 copies only, signed by Gian Paolo Barbieri.   

LPs

Pic?

Country

Label

Catalog No.

Notes

Picture    Picture

Picture    Picture

Italy/UK

Garzanti Editore S.p.A.

none

1984, most likely the LP was made by Polydor. A 16.5" x 13" black presentation box that houses both the 12" record with custom sleeve and the 15.5"x12" photography book, 132 pp.

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