Mariangela - Mariangela LPCobalt Music / Telephone Explosion
In the mid 70s, Mariangela Celeste signed to a major label (Polygram) at the age of 13. She would then go on to record her self-titled album with rising European superstar Vangelis. Though tragically overlooked upon its release, Mariangela is a gem of early electronic pop with sparkling synths, drums machines, and lush arrangements, propelling the songs of an unapologetically strong-willed Adolescent.
By 1972, Vangelis’ band 'Aphrodite’s Child' had earned widespread acclaim for their lavish psych- prog masterpiece, 666. Though still years away from the 'Chariots of Fire' and 'Blade Runner' soundtracks, that would make him a household name also in North America, Vangelis had already released three solo albums , and was well on his way to becoming a worldwide celebrity. Polygram hired him as a producer to work with upcoming artists of their list, and he handpicked the teenaged singer- songwriter Mariangela.
Mariangela’s most successful songs are the ones she wrote herself, coupled with Vangelis’ forward-thinking production. The heart-pumping beat of “You Are The One” sounds like a teenage impression of ABBA or sonic forerunner to The Carpenter's song 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. Floating head and shoulders above all else is Mariangela’s wave ballad “My Dear Life”, reminds of the fusing the spellbinding vocals of Wendy and Bonnie’s 'Genesis', combined with the dazzling futurism LP of Roberto Cacciapaglia’s 'The Ann Steel Album'. The sophisticated ballads 'Alone With The Day', and 'Memories of Friends', consist of impressively orchestrated, heart touching melodies that give a powerful and moving experience to the listener.
Its sound is years ahead of its time, with Vangelis' decisions to wrap the song’s dreamy melodies in sun- dazed synths, popping drum machines, and cavernous guitar effects, confounding even its creator.
When the album hit the shelves in 1975, its release was confusingly limited to Greece, Canada, South Africa, and Holland. Why Polygram would choose to make it nearly impossible to find it in Western Europe or England, where Vangelis’ star was rising, remains a mystery up to this day.
Words by: Jesse Locke