Album review

Iasos - Celestial Soul Portrait

Iasos - Celestial Soul Portrait

Open your third eye! Blissed-out new age voyager’s early work compiled...

Iasos – like Lawrence, first name only – is a wide-eyed 66-year-old pioneer of what was dubbed “new age” music in the mid-1970s. Born in Greece but raised in California, he is the preeminent exponent of the kind of soothing, free-flowing, broadly electronic mood pieces that rightly or wrongly are forever associated with windchimes and dreamcatchers, yet Celestial Soul Portrait presents a persuasive case for Iasos as a radical, visionary figure operating on the same wavelength as Eno or Vangelis. Crucially, what separates Iasos from his peers is his belief that since the early ’70s he has been merely externalising the ecstatic musical visions transmitted to him telepathically by a being known as Vista. “The instant that I sensed him it released a huge waterfall of love from me to him,” says Iasos from his Marin County home, where he feeds the local wild deer each morning. “The music I was hearing was very unusual, it wasn’t like any earth music. It was lovely, it was sweet, it was uplifting and happy and full of love. It was so harmonious as to be unearthly.”

In Iasos’ hands, it was also naïve, sincere and, on a flute-speckled cut such as “The Winds Of Olympus”, almost jazzy. Fans of modern-day drifters Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never will coo over the pitch-shifted drone and patchouli-scented vibe of “The Royal Court Of The Goddess Vesta” and “Crystal*White*Fire*Light”, while US psychologists have stated that Iasos’ 1978 meditative masterpiece “The Angels Of Comfort”, included here, most resembles the music heard by people who’ve had near-death experiences during their near-death moments. Even Buckminster Fuller enthused over the qualities of Iasos’ “profoundly beautiful” music. Though Celestial Soul Portait focuses on the first decade of Iasos’ output, when he released cassettes on his Inter-Dimensional Music label, he’s still active today. His latest single? “Smooth Sailing Over Enchanted Lands”. “People have always said: ‘Iasos, you’re way ahead of your time.’ And so now it’s 2013, people are getting interested in music I released in 1975. Better late than never.”
Piers Martin

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Rating: 8 / 10

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