Vangelis, may he rest in peace, is high on my list of influential electronic musicians. Isao Tomita is at the top for me, for his modular synthesis techniques and classical arrangements (and probably because I listened to a few of his albums over and over at a younger age) — but Vangelis was the more inspiring composer, and a fine multi-instrumentalist, and really had an ear and a talent for many different styles.
Chariots of Fire was everywhere, and the main theme is one of the first melodies I remember learning by ear. The Blade Runner soundtrack is the best thing about the movie (sorry, “tears in rain” monologue, Syd Mead flying cars, “enhance” scene, paper unicorns and Sean Young’s shoulder pads). Music from Albedo 0.39 and Heaven and Hell accompanied our journeys through the cosmos with Carl Sagan — “Alpha” still gives me chills, and Albedo 0.39 also features some killer jazz and rock in places (“Main Sequence” and “Nucleogenesis”).
Vangelis allegedly never learned to read musical notation, and preferred one-take improvisation over “writing” music. That’s pretty gratifying considering that’s how I roll myself 🙂