Studios no longer exists today, and its memory survives through Vangelis’ spontaneous compositions that he produced as he worked at his laboratory.

Vangelis at his legendary sound laboratory

Vangelis’ sound laboratory coincided with the arrival of synthesisers and other types of electronic instruments, and their timing could not have been more prophetic for Vangelis. Polyphonic and expressive synthesisers became the perfect tools for Vangelis, enabling him to probe the universe and bring his musical discoveries to life. Vangelis’ recordings conceived at Nemo Studios are embraced and admired by fans worldwide, and his recordings are acknowledged as influential, legendary and remain a powerful staple of everyday music, but what might be overlooked today is the ingenuity of their craftsmanship at the time of their conception. Vangelis could come up with two, three or more albums a year alongside his other musical projects. He demonstrated that he could free himself from being bogged down by the very crude technological limitations of the early instruments and the labour-intensive recording practices of earlier years. Instead, he was able to tame technology and made it work in his favour.

Through his trials and experiments at his sound laboratory, he was rewarded with approaches that lead to spontaneity over complexity and intuition over logic. This straightforward approach allowed Vangelis to focus his energies on composing music with little effort, but the recordings always came out sounding fresh and he showed an outstanding talent for capturing emotion in his music.

In an almost remarkable, but similar, manner, his instinctive approach to tame technology, rather than being a slave to it, may have contributed to why his music has been the most esteemed of all electronic-based music. Vangelis is often credited for humanising electronic music, bringing his lush and intricate symphonic works into each instrument using great agility, making you feel that the music is performed by a human and not played back by the cold machines that hide beneath their plastic cases. Vangelis’ brilliance is that he used electronic music in a way that connected with humanity’s deeply rooted musical language.

For over a decade, Nemo Studios was Vangelis’ workplace, and it remained operational until 1987, when Vangelis moved on to a small, portable recording studio, adopting a nomadic lifestyle and writing music as he travelled the globe. While Vangelis moved on to greater success and wider acclaim after Nemo Studios, for those familiar with the legacy of Nemo Studios, which was located close to Marble Arch, it is still a special place to pause for a moment and reflect on the musical genius of Vangelis. It is a place to contemplate on one of the most poignant musical eras. Perhaps some are even lucky enough to hear echoes of ‘Heaven and Hell’, ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘Soil Festivities’ echoing through from the distant past. ◊

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