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




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3.25 | 94 ratings

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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.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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