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Vangelis - Albedo 0.39 CD (album) cover




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3.69 | 185 ratings

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5 stars Back in the 1980s I was just beginning to explore progressive rock and I recall hearing this amazing instrumental on Carl Sagan's Cosmos television series. I later found out through friends in high school who were familiar with Vangelis' music that it was called Alpha and it was off the Albedo 0.39 album. Off to the record store I went and luckily found an unused vinyl copy. Many years later this would be one of my first CD purchases as I slowly began to convert over to the new format.

At the time, the most progressive music I listened to was Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and a smattering of ELP. I had no idea there were artists making chiefly instrumental music and playing all the instruments on them. Not only that, Vangelis' music was unlike anything I had ever heard before. As you can imagine, this resulted in many future purchases of Vangelis albums, some great, some terrible. But none of them ever compared to Albedo 0.39. Maybe it's sentimental, or maybe it's just that inspiring of an album for me.

Vangelis is quite a talented fellow. The album insert basically indicates that Vangelis plays keyboards, various synthesizers, drums, bass, and all other sounds without going into any details. I have no idea what those synthesizers were, but he sure did get a lot of interesting soundscapes out of them. Musically this album is all over the place, including symphonic prog, jazzy elements, ambient pieces, and even avant garde elements.

The highlights of this album are the aforementioned Alpha, the pulsating synthesizers of Pulstar, the crazy and jazzy Main Sequence, the beautiful and ambient Sword of Orion, and the amazing, classically inspired Nucleogenesis. On Alpha, Vangelis employs a technique he would use often on later albums, that of starting with a simple melody or theme and have it develop with more and more layers of sound and increasingly complex instrumentation. Though not being the first to do this and similar in many ways to Alan Parsons, I think he was the most effective of instrumental artists at using this technique.

A truly wonderful listening experience. Though many don't rank this as high as other albums Vangelis made, for me it is an essential masterpiece well worthy of five stars. Highly recommended and essential.

progaeopteryx | 5/5 |


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