RE: Vangelis...I find a lot of his music to be overblown, melodramatic, and pretentious. For example, Heaven and Hell. Admittedly, Blade Runner is good...albeit even some of that is a bit syrupy, IMO. I must admit I am puzzled by how many ambient fans like his music when, with only a few exceptions, he is much closer to classic new age than either ambient or EM (again, this is IMO). I recently played The City again and could only get through half the tracks without hitting the "skip" button.
I like his early work, my favorite is Spiral
, but Albedo 0.39
, and Ignacio
are all well worth listening too. I saw him in concert back in 1986, great show and totally solo except when he brought Jon Anderson up on stage to sing some of the stuff they did together. But I hear you on stuff like The City
, or Direct
, or El Greco
, he moved away from what I like from him.
If you like a "big" dramatic sound like Vangelis, I think early Jon Jenkins (with Paul Lackey), e.g. Continuum, or Greg Klamt's Fulcrum, or JJ's later work with David Helpling are all better choices.
I don't really like big and bombastic, that's not what got me into Vangelis early on. To me he was kind of a cross over between progress rock and the berlin school stuff going on at the time.
Or you could go the oldie route and dig up some classic Richard Burmer, e.g. Bhakti Point.
I miss Richard, he was a great guy.