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Vangelis - Hypothesis [Aka: Visions Of The Future] CD (album) cover



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3 stars Recorded at about the same time as The Dragon this also has an improvised feel to it.Comes across as free form jazz/rock fusion (I think!) although it's nothing like Brand X.The playing at times is breathtaking although there is very little structure or composition to the music.File under 'experimental'.(BTW This is nothing like his synth albums Heaven and Hell etc)
Report this review (#34921)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pretty interesting early recording, this was recorded after "Aphrodite's Child's 666". This album doesn't resemble 666, nor does it resemble the electronic albums he later done. No, this is a rather jazzy album with Hammond organ dominating. The album is divided in to two parts, the first part is the most jazzy. It's really hard to believe this is coming from the same guy who would later give us "Chariots of Fire". The second half of the album tends to be more experimental. It's nice finding an album untypical for a certain artists, and VANGELIS did that with "Hypothesis". Apparently not available as a CD reissue so hold on your turntables.
Report this review (#34922)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The sympathetic 1970's sci-fi themed album cover picture gives a quite misleading impression of the style of the music to be heard on this record, released without the authorization of Vangelis. Instead of cosmic music we get here quite wanna-be elitist Hammond and violin driven jazz jams in two bit over sixteen minutes lasting doses, recorded at some obscure studio and sold to markets by moneymakers uninterested of artists rights to their work. There are many weird elements in these musical outbursts, but they don't really irritate but rather amuse me. For example, the album starts with a very monotonic simple note being played in different volumes and with weird rhythm. Later the tunes start to wander off from the eight-tone scales creating very schizoid feelings. If you only like the more melodic and accessible works of Vangelis, then this record may be a disappointment, but if you're interested of the different phases of his career, then this is truly a quite unique possibility to voyeur inside historic visions from his sealed recording studio.
Report this review (#119233)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Vangelis - Hypothesis (1971)

Friso's 100th review celabration!

Tuut tut tuuut tut!

The quality of this record has been dinied for long enough now! This is withoud question the best Vengelis record, although it doesn't sound like a Vengelis record. It's a hard record to get into, for it has much dissonant parts. No constant flow of melodies, but a flow of sounds.

Spacerock influenced jazz/fusion with freejazz elements and jamsession like structures. That's the best way I can discribe this. The record has one big flow and there mustn't have been lot of compositions for this record, for it sounds improvised. The expectations of the coverart will come true when the abstract organ sounds accompanied by Vegelis' strange deformed voice start the album (tuut tuut tuut whaha).

There's only a great bassist and drummer to follow Vengelis' free exploration during the whole record, but they succeed very well. On side two a violin is added for some effects. Sometimes you can hear the musicians searching, but most of the time the music feel like a complete piece. This reminds me of the free forms of Krautrock expressed in the same period in Germany. The recording is done good, but somehow the sound and atmosphere of this record is extremely good!

Conclusion. A record that always amazes me! No les then four stars for this one! Proggers interested in jazz, krautrock, improvised music, dissonant music and space rock should check this out!

Report this review (#242485)
Posted Friday, October 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Vangelis' first solo effort, recorded in May of 1971 while Aphrodite's Child was still officially together, is an avant-garde jazz piece in two parts only because of the limitation of the vinyl record, and barely runs over 30 minutes total time. The piece starts on a single and complex chord, somewhat dissonant, which is repeated until a turgid rhythm is developed. Then the bass and the drum come in and the music shifts into full swing. This first section blends into a nice groove, which in turn blends back into the more experimental sound of the beginning. This is the pattern of the album throughout; side two begins in much the same way. As a jazz piece, the musicianship is a bit rough, but the chordal structures, the rhythmic patterns, and the lead performances are all interesting. Overall, I am split on the album. Parts of it I find quite enjoyable, yet other parts are a bit hard to take because of the turgid dissonance. I see it, though, as a necessary step in Vangelis' career. Here he is still a member of Aphrodite's Child which still maintains untapped potential, and yet clearly he feels the need to branch out to something more. As a solo artist, it is unclear if he had a plan for any career direction at this time. Above all, this piece remains an experiment, one that provided the foundation for much of Vangelis' later work and development as an artist. The album is a rarity in my neck of the woods, so I am glad that I picked up this copy on vinyl when I did in the early 1980s, released on the heels of the success of Chariots of Fire. A necessary addition for the completist, since it is his first solo foray. Outside of that, the only other possible fans of this recording would be those of avant-garde jazz. His later New Age and Rock fans would probably be disappointed unless they too would be willing to entertain such a hypothesis as is presented here.
Report this review (#286757)
Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars It is quite difficult to tell what I was expecting when I listened to this old chapter of Vangelis recordings. If you're heading to some aerial and spacey tones: you might be surprised (as I was though).

This album is quite jazz improvised, difficult to bear or swallow for anybody looking for some tranquility. Be warned: this ain't anything to do with most of the work from the Greek master. Just some wild imagings of an artist. Mixing a little psychedelia with lots of jazz passages. Part one is totally indigestible as far as I'm concerned.

The problem with a two tracks album is that if the first one isn't any good, the second one must be convincing to recoup somewhat the blunder of the first one. Unfortunately, it is not the case with this album. Not that the second part of this work is not worth; but frankly: I can't consider this as a masterpiece either (far from it actually).

There is no cohesion: some drum solo out of nowhere, some fine organ sections, some improvisations?Not a big deal to be honest. In my books, I can't go over two stars for this "work".

Report this review (#304933)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This early album of Vangelis is really unusual in his huge discography. Instead of being just a solo album with some additional guests, we have here a free-jazz quartet in which each member plays his solos and riffs as in every jazz quartet.

With enough attention some elements that will later become part of the "usual" Vangelis music are already present, but the first side is simply a jam session.

The things change on the B side that's more spacey and psychedelic. The electronic noises seem to come from a SciFi movie of the 60s (Forbidden Planet as example). It reminds to his most controversial album Invisible Connections.

After this chaotic beginning the music turns to folky (in the Greek sense). While the bass insists with a repetitive line the band plays something very close to early Magma. Vangelis was often in France during these years. Four minutes more and we are on the chaotic chords of Nucleogenesis. The change follows few seconds of silence. There's not a transition, like they were different movements. After a bit of chaos the violin plays an unstructured melody over a jazz base. This is one of the best moments of the album. Initially melancholic, it goes back to cold jazz airs when the drumming becomes parossistic.

Whoever has a deep knowledge of Vangelis music will recognize sounds and athmospheres that he will reuse later. This makes this album very interesting for fans.

It's a short album: about 35 minutes in total, and I think that it has been recently re-released together with "The Dragon" on a single CD.

In terms of rating it would be 4 stars for fans, but also Krautrockers, Zeuhl and Avant fans can find it good. Being non-essential for the rest of the world I'd say 3 stars only.

Report this review (#351572)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first of two unofficial (i.e. illegally marketed) Vangelis albums released in 1978 doesn't fully deserve the three stars I'm rounding my rating up to. But settling for only two stars (fans only) wouldn't be exactly right either, if only because his most ardent followers might not even recognize this bizarre novelty as the work of the same artist responsible for albums like "Heaven and Hell" or "Albedo 0.39".

The music itself (for this effort, and its likewise illicit companion, "The Dragon") was actually recorded more than a half-decade earlier, as part of a series of strictly exploratory studio sessions never intended for public consumption. Six years later, after Vangelis had established himself as a bona fide star, the tapes were slapped onto vinyl inside a totally random sci-fi cover and released without the artist's permission, in a blatant act of commercial exploitation.

Lawsuits followed, naturally. It's a pity too, because there's some fascinating music here, completely unlike anything else in the wide Vangelis discography. Jazzy keyboard improvisations, accompanied by drums, bass and violin? Vangelis was definitely playing outside his comfort zone, but deserves a lot of credit for making such a bold leap without any kind of safety net (and also, please note, without the inborn sensitivity of a natural jazzer). The second, more spacey and abstract half of the record is particularly rewarding in a weird, ersatz Krautrock sort of way, despite the arbitrary edits, sloppy drum solo, and unresolved ending (it just...sort of stops).

I'm sure the whole reason behind the music was to find a possible aim for his newly minted solo career. To that end the seemingly random album title was actually well chosen, presenting an open-ended musical proposition, in this case no doubt leading Vangelis to the conclusion that his talents were better utilized elsewhere.

Thomas Edison supposedly once said, "I never failed; I just found 3,000 ways how not to build a light bulb." This album needs to be heard the same way, as a less-than- incandescent experiment offering a valuable peek into the creative process, and in its own messy way providing a worthwhile alternative to some of the aural wallpaper Vangelis would later become famous for.

Report this review (#874680)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars The second door on the right above the ceiling in the middle

I'm sailing for Greece after my longish stay in Italy. Coming into the sandstone coloured harbours and marine blue patterns ornamenting house facades and sun blinds of the small street-shops, you get the feel of a country that can trace it's cultural roots waaay back to ancient times. Now whether Vangelis purposely set out to break all rules of tradition when he first started out, remains uncertain, but what he later on did with his keyboards and synths practically re-wrote the book on making soundtracks for movies. On Hypothesis though, it's the organs that rule.

This album along with The Dragon was never meant to be released, that is until the record company thought otherwise in 1978. Whatever the reasons may be for these two rather raw sounding recordings got to see the light of day, this listener remains most grateful for the possibility of hearing Vangelis in a stage of his life, where he was finding his way, experimenting - feeding off different musicians like the great prime fighters engage their sparring partners for new inspiration and discovery. I really dig the immediacy of it - the instant composition - the urgency of throwing arbitrary organ riffs out there in the sonic perimeter and see what the other guys decide to do with them.

With two long cuts both clocking in at about 16 minutes, the album both feels short and incredibly long. The reason for this pseudo factoid is actually in the proof of the pudding. Listening to this kind of music for a good half hour will certainly get your pulse going and have your senses doing somersaults. A country mile from his later electronic lead albums, Hypothesis utilises dissonance, discord, throbbing rhythms and sections of free association, and then all of this magically gets funnelled into an exciting brand of wild spacy jazz rock. Often when I'm through with this album, I need to go lie down in a dark room...

There's an element of Krautrock in here as well. The gluey texture of the violin that joins in for the second track often recalls multi instrumentalist Chris Karrer off of Amon Düül ll. Together with the big slabs of shimmering thick organ drones, you effectively get a naturally unhinged music that instantly blurs your mind and sends you staggering down the street like a deranged wino seriously pondering the ground.

The first side is more of a witches brew. A strange concoction of electronic experiments and volume fiddling segueing into a frenetically paced jazz rock that grows in both size and funky lunacy - culminating in some wonderfully spiralling piano playing by the maestro himself. This sounds like he's playing the damn thing while skiing down a mountainside. It is disturbingly brilliant.

Other than those terrific organs and tricky beep beeps, you're treated to a real hazy jangly rhythm section on this record. These cats sound like they emerged from the melting reality of an opium den - jumped in a big swimming pool of slush ice, drank 4 Irish coffees and then dropped by the studio. Instant shock therapy warm up before the big jam - Together they manage to conjure up a twitchy, lazy and bonkers drive, at times even developing a gelatinous quality to it.

A lot of this is improvisation, no doubt, and for many of you out there that effectively means: airhead noodling and a whole lotta big nothing. The mission of this album though, is not to nurse your lust for melodies and high soaring orchestration; it is to mislead you.......... and guide you down dark alleys, have you lose yourself in strange angular corridors, where deceiving light tricks you into thinking that you're upside down, and that the moon isn't the moon, but a jolly white face whistling bizarre violin notes. So please, by all means necessary, allow a little confusion into your life. This album is a pure joy, when you've finally figured out just how thrilling of an experiment it is to get lost.

Report this review (#1016614)
Posted Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Is this Vangelis or an imaginary Herbie Hancock on Bitches Brew? I'm confused.

"Hypothesis Part 1" After a dissonant bit of organ and wailing, the music shifts to wild jazz, complete with the walking (running?) bass. The keyboard elements alternate between assertive jazz and mild symphonic elements, but the dominant factor is the spunky series of bass-led grooves. Switching to spastic piano with free drumming and impressively turbulent (and well-structured) bass lines, Vangelis delves deeper into his own early versatility.

"Hypothesis Part 2" Disturbing organ and haunting cymbals produce a musical about-face from the giddy, headlong fare from before. This is eerie as hell, and very well put together. Raucous avant-garde experimentation fills this piece until the arrival of the violin. It's like wandering through some misbegotten cavern, never knowing if the shadows are cast by something evil or benign. We may never know: The music is the work of diminutive cave-dwellers who either want to entertain or bewitch. Whatever their magic, it's in 9/4 and is wickedly hypnotic. In a word, if you are a jazz rock / fusion fanatic, and you don't mind finding your gems in dark and unexpected places, this belongs in your library.

Report this review (#1016754)
Posted Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Jazz, you may not miss, but won't hurt a bit.

I am not a Vangelis fan, but I quite enjoyed "The Dragon" - albeit a shamefully short album. Short of obtaining all other works, I asked my fellow countryman Aussie-Byrd-Brother for an input. Without endorsing this piece, he drew my attention to a similar line-up to "The Dragon" here.

Well, for starters, this release is even shorter, barely falling over 30 mins. Two side long, but short-ish pieces comprise this work. A couple of established British Jazz musicians are listed as "guest musicians" next to Vangelis as a sole performer.

Collectively they deliver somewhat enjoyable, but rather uneventful -Jazz. Soft, mellow and largely devoid of any sense of innovation, it would serve best as inoffensive "elevator music", or a background to a dinner party.

I wouldn't recommend it to any Jazz fan, unless they have plenty of CD rack space and money to burn.

Good-ish by Vangelis standards, but hardly essential in a Prog sense.

Report this review (#1042384)
Posted Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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