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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars42
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 18 March 2004
China was one of the albums I played to death during my seminal 'Rites of Passage' years between the ages of 16 and 19. It is a superb blend of techno keys and traditional chinese music with some stirring atmospheric tracks. Himalya and Summit capture what must be an awesome feeling of standing above the cloud base atop a snow peaked mountain. Forget Chariots of Fire and all the populist tracks that he produced in the late 80's and early 90's ... this is the real Vangelis at his best. Having now replaced the vinyl with cd ... it is once again being played religiously.
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on 19 July 2001
Vangelis has a great talent for blending electronic and acoustic instruments to create an almost seemingly unique sound.But it's not just about sound as the man creates melodic compositions of the highest order. I also love his ability to use abstract sounds as with the fantastic intro to Chung Kuo.It is almost if the whole population is shouting in unison before gradually unfolding into the evocative theme. The music is lively and playful until the hauntingly 'chilled out' Himalaya .The final track'Summit' is a truly beautiful climax to a beautiful work.In my estimation on of the finest instrumental peices ever.One gripe is that the quality of the CD could be better-too much background noise.Please ,please bring out the remaster!
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on 3 May 2007
This is one of his great albums, a bit like a fortune cookie? Plain packaging covering the hidden delights, so no stars for the awful cover. Happiness will reign in your house from the first time you play this not so inscrutable CD. It starts of as it means to go on, brilliant, from the haunting Chung Kuo: You are transported there, maybe not knee deep in a paddy field harnessed to water buffalo? No with this majestic music you are part of a wealthy dynasty. Images of the Chinese people, sights and the culture a wait.

The mournful piano on the Long March: plays the tune from the track before, but with a difference, that makes it new and goes into another direction.

The Dragon: is brilliant, almost fireworks begin it and then the movement of a Chinese Dragon is captured and more. The tracks are short and sharp, no fillers here in fact the first 7 tracks are no longer then 5.51, and three are 2 minutes odd. It is like the taste and sounds of China bursting out, ok it is a western person's image, but it works for me.

The Plum Blossom: is fantastic, one of my all time favourites. The Violin is played beautifully with so much vigour, beautifully accompanied by Vangelis sounds.

The Tao Of Love: Tell me if there is a more moving and beautiful western oriental inspired piece of music than this, if there is? I know not! It is even better then Steve Hackett's oriental piece from Spectral Mornings! And that is saying something. I want to pick up a fan and tell a story of a lost love between a rice farmer and a princess just using movement and dance. When finished bow and then take short steps back to my couch.

The little Fete: Voice of an oriental gentleman reciting a poem with Vangelis building the musical image. Superb.

Yin and Yan: It starts like the oriental version of duelling banjos. Not!! What you would expect? Two sides to this song, of course the gentle and the not so gentle. This is my least favourite piece.

Himalaya: No politics here, just what you want and expect from the maestro Vangelis. It is the longest track, 10.53. Nice piece, does it conjure up thoughts of snow capped mountains? Still very good, but I want to hang around the market again and see the dragon.....

Summit: We are there, glorious views all around. The final track, after this it is all downhill.

This is a great CD and like the food you will want more and more of this delicious delight.
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on 7 January 2001
China displays a unique perspective of an age gone by. The inlay cover gives a little insight to the songs and Vangelis' arrangements are up to his usual high standard. The Long March and The Tao Of Love are as good as anything Vangelis has written, and I fell this album deserves more recognition. But sometimes it's nice to discover an unexpected little gem like this. China has become one of my favourites and one listen to it and you will see why. Overall, a must for the many Vangelis fans and especially at this price. It fell a little short of Blade Runner but thats acceptable I think.
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on 25 November 2009
My favourite track on this album is "The Little Fete", a musical rendition of a poem by Li-Po, Chinese poet and nomad 701-762AD. A haunting piece which captures the innocence and simplicity of the Taoist visionary. Worth buying the CD for this track alone in my opinion. Worth quoting the version of the poem also:

I take a bottle of wine
And go to drink it among the flowers

We are always three
Counting my shadow and my friend, the shimmering moon

When I sing, the moon listens to me in silence
When I dance, my shadow dances too

Happily the moon knows nothing of drinking
And my shadow is never thirsty

After all festivities the guests must depart
This sadness I do not know

When I go home
The moon goes with me
And my shadow follows me
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 August 2011
Electronic music wizard 'competitor' Jean Michel Jarre did a superb job of pioneering western style complex synthesizer music (presumably on Japanese-made keyboards?) and taking it, literally, to China. His 1980's double LP and Live DVD are testamant to a very public and worthy (& good) venture.

However, whereas Jarre wrote a couple of new pieces in a Mandarin 'style' and then simply reeled out (spectacularly, of course) his other hits, here, Vangelis has produced an oriental album through and through.

Turn up the volume, turn off the lights, close the eyes and you have swirling dragons, flowing kimonos and instrumental 'colour' that makes up a sonic journey. There's an ancient poem and evocative violin. 'Himalaya' has long been a favourite track of mine, all near eleven minutes of it. I could be walking in a flower strewn oriental meadow or ancient landscape. My mind wanders, I drift on a cloud of imagination, embellished by spatters of percussion and dabs of synthy twiddly bits. Tracks like this remove me (albeit briefly) from everyday life. Music does that - and should do that.

Whether Vangelis, or indeed this album from Vangelis does that for YOU, is of course, down to human individuality and taste. Whenever I pick up one of the many Vangelis works I have and play it I wonder why I don't play it all the time. Of course, I can't and ultimately, wouldn't want to - though I'm not sure if I could come up with a stronger recommendation than that.
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on 27 April 2007
I've owned "China" since the mid 1980s, firstly on cassette and latterly on CD, and I still find it one of Vangelis's most interesting and enjoyable works. The tracks are individually quite varied but almost all equally successful. An element of orientalism is the common factor, hinted at by the choice of instrumentation and melody. Some tracks, such as "Chung Kuo" and "Dragon", are colourful and powerful, but probably my favourite track is "The Little Fete", a narrated Chinese poem accompanied by music of the utmost delicacy and romanticism. The final track, "Summit", ends with a feeling of sublimity and eternity rare in popular music. Highly recommended.
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on 21 June 2002
China is my favourite Vangelis album; and my favourite track is "The Long March" which apart from personal memories always evokes distant vistas for me......
(my second favourite is "To the Unknown man" from an earlier album. but I digress)
From the vigour of "The Dragon" (always a favourite subject) through the mysticism of the "Little fete" this disc rewards all who purchase it.
An excellent record to chill out to.
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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2008
This outstanding and astonishing album was recorded in 1978 and released in 1979. That's almost 30 years ago. Although when listening to it, one gets the feeling that it could have been released a couple of years ago. That's how fresh and resonant Vangelis' music can be.

This incredible album starts off with a stunning opener "Chung Kuo". You almost feel like you're transported back to a forgotten time through China's Dynasties. You hear raging percussion and assorted sound effects along with more toned down keyboards. Then there's the enchanting and haunting feel of "The Long March" and the sensuously gorgeous "The Tao Of Love". It finishes off with "Himalaya", the longest track at 10 mins 53 secs which is very epic in feel and I just love its use of different sounds of wind and percussion sounds. It makes you feel that you're there climbing up the steep slopes of these huge mountains. This track then slides into "Summit" which closes off this masterful album.

What Vangelis has produced here is a superb and masterful album at a time when he was producing some incredible albums (between 1979 and 1984). I find this album a pleasure to listen to and think Vangelis is the keyboard king. Great stuff.
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on 14 July 2011
'China' is a superb piece of orchestration that connects the listener with his or her spiritual and physical self. In my opinion it is worthy of being included in classical music collections. I never get tired of hearing it and I am always moved by it. It still resonates inside of me. It finds a common thread in our emotions and weaves a connection which is inspiring, uplifting, beautiful it and unites us all.
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