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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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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.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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