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Vangelis Beaubourg album cover
2.52 | 73 ratings | 18 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Beaubourg part I (17:50)
2. Beaubourg part II (20:43)

Total Time: 38:37


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Vangelis / all instruments

Releases information

LP RCA KYL1-0455 (Canada) 1982 / CD Windham Hill 01934-11235-2 (USA) 1997
LP RCA PL 25155 (UK) 1978

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  • Titles Chariots Of Fire, 1981
  • Hispanola 1492 - Conquest Of Paradise: Music From The Original Soundtrack, 1992

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VANGELIS Beaubourg ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (30%)
Poor. Only for completionists (16%)

VANGELIS Beaubourg reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
4 stars If you are being kind you would say this is seriously avante garde cutting edge music.If not you would say that Vangelis had a spare lunchtime when he was bored and so decided to knock this thing up to pass the time.An epic of noodling proportions that goes nowhere,starts nowhere and doesn't really go anywhere in the middle.Very strange but very alluring and atmospheric.You make your own mind up.2 stars.


My opinion of this album has somewhat changed over the course of nearly ten years. Like other 'different' albums that Vangelis has recorded such as Invisible Connections and Mask, this does take time to appreciate. At the time I typed this review I was busy categorising Vangelis albums into what could be considered 'prog' and those which weren't. Indeed this does not conform to the usual Vangelis releases such as China or Spiral. He only uses one synthesiser and much of it is improvised and unstructured. However at least I put the words 'alluring and atmospheric' which is perfect! Much of it works and indeed ultimately you must make your own mind up. Don't expect the usual thing and keep an open mind ( ironic I know given my initial review).4 stars.

Review by Proghead
3 stars This is perhaps VANGELIS' most radically different of all his albums. Instead of sweet, symphonic electronic music, he goes totally experimental, having more to do with Stockhausen and the likes, than anything you might hear on "Heaven & Hell", "Albedo 0.39" or "Spiral". While on other albums he depended heavily on a wide arrangements of keyboards, on this album, he used exclusively a Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer, a polyphonic synth that was new to VANGELIS' keyboard setup at that time. Is it coincidence or what, but it seems like many artists recording for RCA get angry at the label, then record that one album that basically give the company "the finger". Lou Reed did it for "Metal Machine Music", which he used as a convenient excuse to get off RCA and on to Arista, and VANGELIS gave us "Beaubourg" to get off RCA and on to Polydor (a label he was briefly on back in 1973 for "L'Apocalypse des Animaux"). And like "Metal Machine Music", "Beaubourg" is that one album people will question your sanity for listening to it, or it's that perfect album to clear parties. So if you're expecting nothing but pretty symphonic electronic music, I suggest you stay far away, if you want just an album of random noise, this is for you.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Bore-bourg

"Beaubourg" must surely rate as Vangelis' least accessible work. The music here is best described as avant garde, having much more in common with the likes of ENO, than the Jean Michel Jarre similarities of the bulk of his work.

Released in 1978, this album came as something of a shock to those expecting to hear "Spiral, part 2". There are just 2 tracks here, there could well have been one but for the break demanded by the limitations of vinyl. There is no music in the compositional sense, this is an album of noises and sounds. It is highly experimental, and no doubt some will find pleasure in the rambling noodling of the keyboards virtuoso. For me though, I am afraid I can find nothing of merit here whatsoever. To put it bluntly, the whole album is complete drivel. When one bears in mind the wonderful music Vangelis had committed to album by this point, "Beauborg" stands as nothing more than a huge kick in the teeth for those who supported him.

This was Vangelis last album for RCA. In a classic case of did he fall or was he pushed, I have no idea whether he was dropped by the label because of the album, or whether this is a contractual obligation album which effectively puts two fingers up to his erstwhile paymasters. One thing is for sure, when the label heard what he had come up with, they must have felt mightily relieved that he was going elsewhere.

I am afraid that for me there is not one redeeming feature about this album. If Vangelis was making a point at all, it is that you can record virtually anything, and someone will think it is the best thing you have ever done. My advice, steer well clear.

Review by silvertree
1 stars This is what most people would call an experimental or avant-garde album. It really sounds as if Vangelis decided to have fun poking on a keyboard or having fun with his latest toy synthesizer. It really could be worse : maybe he was fed up with his record company and threw this album out just to satisfy a record deal. So, this is probably a bored Vangelis messing around with sounds. Just listen to other albums like Spiral or Albedo and you'll be shocked by the difference. I tried really hard to listen to this album, setting the volume higher but it never worked for me. This album is really for completionists and is to be avoided by all means for beginners if you don't want to be put off. His next album was a return to a more melodic album.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Hearing this "music" makes me wish there was a zero star rating!

With all my respect to those who like this peculiar release by Vangelis, I must admit that I'm having a hard time even taking this seriously as a piece of music, progressive or otherwise. For the first time I have now been sitting trough the whole album in order to produce this review and I can honestly tell you that this is something I will never do again. And I would advise anyone against it! Before I start I should say that I really hope that no one finds my views offensive. That is certainly not my intention, anyway. Also, I should say that I have respect for Vangelis and I do enjoy some of his other works.

I will try to be as respectful as I can regarding this album and start by saying that it is radically different from Vangelis earlier (and later) works. I have not heard all of his albums, (indeed, far from it), but to my knowledge he never did anything like this before or since. The sounds all come from synthesisers, which is not so unusual given the artist involved. But there appear to be no rhythms and also no melodies; indeed no kind of structure whatsoever! The sounds appear to be almost totally random. Some cheesy Pop music can make me cringe, but at least I understand the artist's musical purpose behind it. Not so with Beaubourg. I therefore hesitate to even call this music at all, as opposed to mere sound experiments. And needless to say, this is highly experimental stuff.

It does appear as if Vangelis improvised the entire thing with no attempt whatsoever to actually compose anything; just trying out different electronic sounds, some of which are quite painful to the ears! If you have detected a hidden structure and revealed the underlying beauty of Beaubourg I must say lucky for you. Enjoy! But to the rest, I must issue a strong warning: this is the most pointless synthesiser meanderings I have ever encountered and it is also one of the worst overall audio-experiences that I have ever had. Well, coming from a CD, anyway. As opposed to a piece of chalk on a blackboard, for example!

Rating this with one star actually feels like an insult to most of the other albums that I have given that rating. This makes me wish there had been a zero star rating!

Avoid, by all means!

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Lots of reviewers have rated this album with the minimum rating and the least that I can say is that I fully share their opinions.

While Vangelis played on very electronic prog during his last five albums, this one is of a complete different texture. I can't differ too much from the global opinion and just tell you that indeed this album is pure exploration and experimentation. Not for the best, I am afraid.

During some short moments, the music is bearable: but these are quite few to tell the truth; maybe some three minutes out of the total duration of Part I (especially the closing section). I don't know what the motivation of the artist was while he was recording this album; but the result is rather poor and noisy. In one word: annoying.

During some of his previous work, one could have experimented two different facets of music and one could hope that after the poor "Part I", something nice would be presented. But this was in vain. Nothing as such is taking place.

This is an abstruse and hermetic work. Some might like it, but I can't. One little star.

Review by octopus-4
2 stars An experimental album inspired to the omonimous French museum of modern art which has also a section for music and acoustic researches. Maybe Vangelis was looking to be added to the exposition and the result is this very experimental album.

There's no structure, no harmony, no music. It reminds to the soundtrack of "The Forbiden Planet" that's effectively the first example of "electronic music" in the history.

Other than experimental, is it good, too? Not really. I'm quite used to unstructured music, and I don't dislike a long electronic track, but this is an excursion into a realm that's too far from the prog's world. The only other album on which he performs similarily is "Invisible Connections", but that one was intended as classic contemporary and was released by Deutsche Grammophone.

Not that this is much different, to be honest.

About 40 minutes of disconnected sounds with few harmonic parts that last too few to be appreciated. all immersed in a sea of "nothingness".

A fans only album (1.5 stars really).

Review by TCat
4 stars I am doing this review because I am hoping to help other listeners to understand what this album is all about. There is a lot of misunderstanding among listeners from what I have read in the reviews of this album. Hopefully this will help clear things up a bit.

With understanding comes appreciation....that doesn't necessarily mean that you've got to like it, but when you understand it, at least you can begin to wrap your head around it and listen to it with new ears. In order to understand this music, you need to know that this album is one continuous composition called a tone poem. Tone poems (sometimes called symphonic poems when it's a large orchestra) were popular among classical music lovers from 1840 to 1920. Cesar Franck is noted for having written the first tone poem based on a traditional poem written by Victor Hugo, the creator of Les Miserables. Franck never published or performed the piece. Liszt however was the composer that is credited for inventing it and developing the style.

A tone poem is a musical painting, if you will. It is a musical representation of something else. In the case of this album, Beaubourg is where the Centre Pompidou is located in Paris. Locals simply call this building the Beaubourg. Vangelis wanted to create tone poems, he didn't do this album as a way to fulfill a contractural obligation for RCA, he did it because he wanted to create this kind of music. This album is a musical representation of the Centre Pompidou building. It depicts life in the Beaubourg district.

So, now after having that background, does it make this any easier to listen to? Not really. This is a very non-accessible piece of work. It seems to be mostly a lot of disconnected tones mostly performed on the Yamaha CS-80 using a ring modulator. There really is no traditional form to follow here, no real discernible melody and no rhythm. The piece is mostly improvised. I would imagine that Vangelis was improvising this while he was recollecting various scenes of the French district and the Centre in his mind. What his hope was that it would recall similar memories or scenes in his listener's minds also. Since I haven't visited that area myself, it makes it difficult to say how realistic these visions are. But I can at least close my eyes and visualize other things. That says something at least.

Vangelis does a great job with the style though. The sound isn't quite as harsh as some reviewers have said, and knowing what Vangelis' intentions were help me to make more sense and put organization to the music. There are some nice peaceful passages and other more chaotic passages. With many listenings, simple recurring melodies start appearing and coming through. This is not complete aimless noodling and it is not a middle finger to the record industry, it is serious music. Even Frank Zappa, Art Zoyd, Univers Zero and other avant garde masters have played around with this form. It is strange listening to many people because it doesn't follow a lot of the traditional theories of music style and form, at least not what the most part of the public is used to. That is why it sounds strange to so many. Hopefully what I have said will influence others to listen to this themselves to determine if it's a style they would like to explore. It isn't easy to comprehend at first, but understanding the motive for this music will help you to appreciate it better and consider it to be art and not just someone playing with his new synthesizer. Vangelis deserves more respect than that people.

As for me, it is more of a form of classical music brought into a more recent context. I know I will appreciate it more as I listen to it. I find it relaxing in a strange sort of way, though don't think that it is any form of New Age Jazz because it isn't. It does progress the genre in a way, it is the exploration of a style of music, even though it is not a new form as some might think. Anyway, I consider it to be an excellent representation of the tone poem and could easily fit into your Vangelis collection as a style of music he wanted to help explore and, quite frankly, he did. 4 stars. I'm glad to have it as part of my Vangelis collection.

Review by admireArt
4 stars Out of the blue!

Raw experimental electronic music, is probably the less known facet of the otherwise more amiable and rampant and epic/riff -friendly , Vangelis.

"Beaubourg", 1978, released in the somewhat very early decline years of a high speed ascencion musical carreer with his super famous "Heaven & Hell" 1975, and between "Spiral" 77 and "China" 79, which still are interesting albums. But out of nowhere music-wise in his own discography, without forewarning, Vangelis releases this quiet personal, uncompromising, unapologetical "modern electronic music" project.

Vangelis fans were not amused. One thing is to have an enormous amount of electronic keyboards but another is to sound solely like them. Where are the trumpets, horns and heroic themes? NOWHERE to be seen.

But someone´s losses can be someone else´s gifts. I myself an electronic music buff, could not be more than satisfied with this "bastard" prog/electronic release.

Raw to the bone, like early electronic music is known for, but with a keen sense for surprises and brief refinements, therefore distancing himself completely from his own previous works, he is daring and epic without sounding like that. He plays by the "early electronic music composition" rules all way through, and still imprints his own signature on this 2 set of songs constructed with dozens of mini-structures, album.

I, who just kept his "Albedo 0.39",1976 project, will add this one as his new "out of nowhere" sibling.

****4 "daring and uncompromising songwriting, as a solid to the bone performance" PA stars.

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars It's still the most controversial entry in the greater Vangelis catalogue: a notoriously free-form electronic interpretation of the unsightly Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The album "created a scandal" when first released in 1978 (quoting an interview with the composer, transcribed shortly afterward), at least among disappointed fans expecting another "Spiral" or "Albedo 0.39".

It's nice in retrospect to hear what such a famously romantic keyboard artist does in his spare time, when no one is looking. But he might have thought twice before trying to market the results to unwary audiences under the spell of his otherwise lush but undemanding synth-rock soundtracks. I confess to finding it a fascinating experience, but only up to a point, and that point usually arrives long before the album's full thirty-nine minutes expire.

Heck, thirty-nine seconds might be enough for most people, and with good reason. There aren't any accessible crutches here to steady the uneasy listener, and whenever the music approaches something resembling an actual melodic phrase it invariably beats a hasty retreat toward the relative freedom of uncharted atonal territory.

Well, not exactly uncharted: Musique Concète had been around a long time by 1978. Maybe Vangelis was simply trying to emulate the innovations of pioneers like Pierre Schaeffer et al. On the other hand, he might have just unwrapped another new studio toy (a Yamaha CS-80) and decided to record his self-tutorial, while blindly twisting knobs and punching buttons.

I'm usually a loud defender of the two-star rating in these Archives, as a mark of hidden quality: the fans-only treasure unfit for general consumption. But in this case the judgment is more subjective, reflecting a conspicuous lack of genuine experimentation. In the same interview quoted above Vangelis claimed he made the album "very quickly, spontaneously", but then added: "it took me a little less than a month." A month-long session...for this? That's hardly a measure of impulsive creativity.

Maybe the solitary (and now dated) keyboard sounds are the primary culprit. If Frank Zappa had arranged the same music for a small orchestra (see "The Yellow Shark", 1993) the album might be hailed today as a post-modern masterpiece. "I needed courage to release this record", said its author at the time. And you might need a little nerve yourself (or at least a wide open pair of forgiving ears) to properly hear it. Two stars...for true fans of inscrutable abstract noodling.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Unlike any of the highly melodic and universally appealing recordings surrounding this album in his discography, Vangelis' Beauborg is a very dark and apparantly loosely structured work of art that sounds like an experiment, but is definintely a work of art. It's correctly labeled as experime ... (read more)

Report this review (#603117) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What do you get when you abandon all the conventions of music? When you toss aside rhythm, melody, and harmony? You get Beauborg, Vangelis' most unpleasant album. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it's the truth. Here, our eclectic master revisits some of the ideologies of ... (read more)

Report this review (#288118) | Posted by Progosopher | Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer, Yannis Xenakis... Some of the great composers of "Musique Concrète"... Well, Vangelis is getting very close to it on this album... No simple melodies like "To the unknown man" from "Spiral" here! No, this serious stuff. I bought the album when it was released b ... (read more)

Report this review (#275422) | Posted by Lieven Van Paemel | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Pure avantgarde stuff! Not for everyone! Vangelis shows here another direction in electronic music, an experimental one. For me personal, I enjoy something like this and Im listening and listening to it over and over again...(I'm a fan to experimental music!!!). But, to the most Vangelis f ... (read more)

Report this review (#208651) | Posted by Sachis | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One, if not the most controversial of Vangelis' albums, ''Beaubourg'' falls out of his discography. The albums before were near to electronic music with a certain touch of new age, all highly melodic. This album is very different from all he had done before. Here, we have more of sound but of mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#176383) | Posted by Luke. J | Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This work is not for the feint of heart. Beaubourg is completely avant-garde, having very little in the way of compositional structure. To say the least it is a hard listen and not one to show off your uniqueness to the new girlfriend. I do however really enjoy this work and will every so ofte ... (read more)

Report this review (#84805) | Posted by suomynona | Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Strange noises, weird sounds and abstract impressions. Very disturbing synth experimentations from Vangelis. If you`re not into the ambient scene definitely stay away from this. Even if you are into the ambient scene you might want to stay away from this as well. It even goes beyond these tastes. ... (read more)

Report this review (#80012) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, this is definitely from the seventies, it's got that white and orange futuristic feel to it.. you know ? the 2070's? loads of items popup when I listen to this, funny how you can pinpoint a piece of music though you've probably never heard it at that time. There's also a touch from the fift ... (read more)

Report this review (#41992) | Posted by | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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