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Vangelis Albedo 0.39 album cover
3.70 | 213 ratings | 29 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Pulstar (5:45)
2. Free Fall (2:20)
3. Mare Tranquillitatis (1:45)
4. Main Sequence (8:15)
5. Sword Of Orion (2:05)
6. Alpha (5:45)
7. Nucleogenesis (Part One) (6:15)
8. Nucleogenesis (Part Two) (5:50)
9. Albedo 0.39 (4:30)

Total Time: 41:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Evangelos Papathanassiou / keyboards, synthesizers, bass, drums, xylophone, gamelan (2), sounds, arranger & producer

- Keith Spencer-Allen / voice (9)

Astronaut conversations during Apollo moon landing courtesy of NASA (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Ray Massey (photo)

LP RCA Victor ‎- RS 1080 (1976, UK)

CD RCA ‎- ND74208 (1989, Europe)
CD Esoteric Recordings - ECLEC 24212 (2013, Europe) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy VANGELIS Albedo 0.39 Music

VANGELIS Albedo 0.39 ratings distribution

(213 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

VANGELIS Albedo 0.39 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
3 stars The worthy follow up album to Heaven and Hell. 'Pulstar' and 'Alpha' are 2 of those mighty electronic pieces that you will all be familar with I'm sure.'Nucleogenesis' Pts 1 and 2 are probably amongst the most prog like music that Vangelis has made and puts him in direct competition with ELP and Rick Wakeman.Good stuff! There are some weaker moments as well but overall this is an interesting effort that combines prog and electronic music effectively.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of my all-time Vangelis favourite albums: this is a classical example of the most spectacularly epic facet of Vangelis' music constructed under the coordinates of electronic avant-garde, portraying some unmistakable similarities to the typical colorfulness of symphonic prog. In this album, conceptually inspired by space science and its struggle to continually explore the mysteries of the cosmic universe, Vangelis started experimenting with the Yamaha synthesizer, and in fact, this album features the presence and melodic lines on electronic keyboards very heavily. The opening track 'Pulstar' is both catchy and powerful. The successive entries of diverse orchestrated counterpoints allows it to keep an interesting vibe as its basic minimalistic motif goes on straight to its abrupt ending. The female voice that announces a time zone gives way to 'Free Fall', a brief dialogue of celeste and mesmeric synth layers that brings a relaxing air before the density of 'Mare Tranquilitatis' comes in. This latter track serves as a prelude to 'Main Sequence', an explosive showcase for Vangelis' virtuoso synth playing displayed over a jazz-fusion oriented rhythm pattern: the amazing bombast contained here is managed by the Greek maestro with absolute elegance, never letting it get gratuitous or futile. It is only accurate that such an explosive number fills a center space in the album's repertoire: it sort of creates a middle-term climax. As an effective contrast, 'Sword of Orion' portrays a sense of inscrutable melancholy. 'Alpha' (together with the opener, the two most popular tracks of this album) also brings some more melancholy, but this time, in a more clearly symphonic manner, full of exquisite orchestrations and adornments that gradually build an air of pomposity to the beautiful motif's deceitful simplicity. The 2-part 'Nucleogenesis' is another explosive number: starting with a solemn motif played on church organ (or a synth that sounds like one), it later turns into an overtly splendorous section that brings back the exciting bombast of 'Main Sequence' - here it is, another climatic point in this album. The namesake track serves as an hypnotic closure: dreamy keyboard layers pretty much a-la TD over which a narration takes place. I guess it is supposed to make it sound "more scientific". Anyway, this album is in itself a 70s gem of electronic music with progressive tendencies: the musical genius of Vangelis finds a solid expression in "Albedo 0.39", which turns out to be an excellent addition in any good prog collection.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was a major disappointment following Heaven and Hell. Yes there are some strong moments but overall the album seems to lose direction. Where Vangelis has so successfully produced concept work, Albedo 039 in my opinion did not make the grade. ' Pulstar' often finds it's way onto compilations and is definitely the best track on the album. Very progressive too.
Review by soundsweird
3 stars Great cover art (but only if you have the glossy gatefold LP) and great opening track ("Pulstar"). Beyond that, kind of an average affair. Some tracks have nice melodies ruined by awkward or unsuitable instrumentation, and others have just the opposite problem. Worth having, but not a favorite.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Vangelis' album is full of great keyboards-oriented tracks. The pieces do not sound all alike. The album is quite electronic, with full of percussions (small bells) and drums. "PULSTAR" was the theme for a Canadian television news program in the 80's. "FREEFALL" sounds quite Asiatic, giving some inspiration for his "China" record. "MARE TRANQUILITAS" has a very dramatic & floating keyboards through astronauts voices during an expedition. "ALPHA" sounds like "Pulstar": it consists in melodic, discrete & brief keyboards sounds full of small bells. "NUCLEOGENESIS" (PART TWO)is particularly rhythmic and catchy, full of fast keyboards.
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Pulstar' starts off the album with fast, pulsing synthesizer to introduce a great tune with lots of different electronic sounds woven into it. It's catchy and very upbeat, and the reason I bought this album. Real whistle-along stuff. This track and 'Alpha' were used on Carl Sagan's Cosmos TV series in the 1980s. What a perfect fit for the music.

The tracks contain all sorts of pleasing synthesizer melodies and soundscapes, from the oriental sounding to sounds strongly evoking outer space (the sound clip of Apollo astronauts during a moon walk adding to that image). This is different to the kind of sound produced by TANGERINE DREAM, though, as the pieces here are often more like rock music or orchestral music, albeit still maintaining a very electronic feel. There are some pure cosmic sweeps in places, too. I enjoy the numerous pleasant tinkling sounds throughout, plus the various sound clips (in addition to the Apollo astronauts you can hear the Speaking Clock, the dialling of an old style pulse-dialling telephone, and what sounds like a ratchet).

With track titles like 'Pulstar', 'Mare Tranquillitatis', 'Sword Of Orion' and so on, the theme of the album is obvious. The album ends with the reciting of various physical constants of the Earth, including its albedo (the fraction of incident light reflected by a planet), which in the case of the Earth in 1976 was. 0.39.

This is a very enjoyable album. I find it particularly satisfying because it is reminiscent of the purely cosmic soundscapes of the well-known German electronic artists but also incorporates melody in many places. For the keyboard fan there's plenty to please: from ecclesiastical-sounding organ to swathes of synthesizer sounding orchestral one minute then like rock the next, with fast stabbing of keys and punchy drumming. VANGELIS used electronics to such good effect, from emulating the pealing of bells to the pulsing and swooping sounds so evocative of space. The track 'Albedo 0.39' is so relaxing and a great way to end the album after the frenzy of 'Nucleogenesis (Part Two)'. In my opinion this album rates at least 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Highly recommended.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Partially reflective

I am sure I'm telling you something you already know here, but the album title relfects the proportion of light which the earth reflects back into space, i.e. a bit more than a third. What the album and track titles tell us really is that the theme of this album is space. Vangelis is the sole performer on the album, even being credited with bass, drums and "all other sounds".

After the familiar repetitive tones of "Pulstar", a simple theme which has been used many a time as background music for documentaries etc., we settle into an album of synthesiser explorations which will be entirely familiar to those who have listened to any Vangelis (or indeed Jean Michel Jarre) album.

The theme stays relatively close to Earth for "Freefall" which includes recordings of astronauts talking during a landing on the moon. This leads directly into "Mare Tranquillitatis" (Latin for "Sea of Tranquillity") the location on the moon where the first manned space mission landed. These two brief forays lead into the 8 minute "Main theme", a lively, rather jazz sounding improvisation.

"Alpha", which sees the music moving into more symphonic territory, is a gradually evolving repeated theme, where the synthesisers build the sound almost imperceptibly towards a fanfare like crescendo. The piece, while essentially quite commercial, is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album.

The two part "Nucleogensis", whose two parts run to over 12 minutes, is a more complex composition which moves from majestic church organ, through a fast largely improvised synthesiser section with a repetitive trance beat, to a slower climax. Disappointingly though, the track has faded ending.

The final (title) track is primarily a spoken rendition of an array of space and time related statistics, such as there are just over 365 days in a year. Admittedly, there are a few I did not know!

In all, a fine album of synthesiser music which is generally accessible, while containing some more demanding pieces for the devotee of the genre.

Review by progaeopteryx
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.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Not mere tranquillitatis

I am not a big fan of Vangelis or of electronic music generally. However, I do enjoy some of his works, particularly Heaven And Hell and Spiral. Albedo 0.39 was released between these other two and is also among Vangelis better albums. The second half of the 70's was Vangelis strongest and most consistent period and it was also during this period that his music had the closest relation to progressive Rock. I initially gave this the same rating as the other two I mentioned (namely, three stars), but after hearing these three albums again, I decided to drop one star for Albedo 0.39. There are some memorable moments here that are up to par with, and similar to, the material on Spiral. I'm thinking about Pulstar and Alpha in particular. But while Spiral is consistently good, there are several less interesting moments on this album that brings it down to two stars. These moments are close to New-Age and there is not much happening in the music.

I own these three albums as separate releases, but I know that there exists a single release that compiles these three albums in a single release. These albums constitutes a good starting point for Prog fans who want to discover Vangelis.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars 「If I joined Yes, it is likely to have become famous very much. More people will listen to my music if Yes secedes afterwards and it performs alone. However, I am not interested in the activity based on the established career. 」

I will be able to ask his music for the appearance of the opposite posture indeed in this word on which it made remarks when he refuses the request of the joining to Yes. The pursuit of the music at which he aims appears originally in own music character and it appears in the work by opposite. The spirit of man who might never compromise gives the listener his creativity by announcing always a lot of excellent works.

This album is a work at the second work after it transfers the register to RCA. Some differences can be discovered in the intention of the work with the former work and the point of the composition in this album though it basically undertakes the extension from "Heaven And Hell" of the former work.

First of all, it is a point in the concept album with the theme with a very grand composition of this album that has finished. And, the point that Vangelis is devoted to the multi musician when this album is produced. He was playing the percussion instrument in "Aphrodite's Child" to which it was already on the register before. This album appears remarkably splendidly in music on which he worked based on such a career. The point to create an original repeatedly a Music character will be splendidly noteworthy ..his enough grasp of the characteristic of a lot of machine parts used.. ..the melody with the keyboard that was able to take harmony.. in addition to subjacent rhythm and idea.

It has the meaning of the reflection power of the planet and non-illuminant with "Albedo 0.39". If the flow from "Earth" that he announced in 1973 is considered, astronomy included in thought and this album of him who flowed to reach this album at last and an astronomical, physical element might be splendidly expressed. The creation that he spent on this album can feel the power still enough by compose of the tune including space and the mystery being splendidly expressed through the whole.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars As many fellow reviewers have mentioned, the opening track « Pulstar » is absolutely gorgeous and also well known in Vangelis' discography.

It is indeed a great electronic prog track with some formidable percussion work (not to mention the synths of course). This could have been the start of a brilliant performance, but alas: counterparts are absent and "Pulstar" is quite an orphan (great) song in the midst of average music ("Main Sequence").

On the plus side, "Sword Of Orion" deserves a mention: this short and spacey track is quite remarkable but unfortunately, it lasts for less than two minutes. The long "Nucleogenesis" which is divided into two parts also has its ups (bombastic feel) and downs (pompous keys and some flat jazzy parts).

One will get the enigma of the title resolved during the title track which depicts some given facts about distances in space.

In all, this is not a bad album, but three stars seem to be the maximum rating I can provide.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars The 39% of the light received by the Sun is reflected by Earth into the space. This is the meaning of the title. After an album entited Earth that was about our planet from a geographical/ethnic point of view, and the mystic "Heaven and Hell", Vangelis closes a trilogy about our planet looking at it from the space.

"Pulstar" is an excellent opener, with a sustained rhythm, orchestral accents and a captivating melody. Some spacey sounds enhance the final crescendo that's suddenly interrupted by the telephone time service.

From here we go to space."Free Fall" has something of chinese or indonesian for the use of cymbals and the type of melody. The transition to the dramatic "Mare Tranquillitatis" is sudden. It's the site of the first lunar landing and the recorded voices of Apollo's astronauts recreate the athmosphere of July 20th '69. Whoever has watched the landing on TV that night knows what I mean.

"Main Sequence" is another astronomical reference. It's a diagonal on the "Herzsprung- Russell" diagram that represents the status of the majority of the stars before the collapse. This is a caotic and non-melodic track. We are far from the jazzistic debuts, but I think this can be called jazz as well. I don't have an idea of what the signature is. Eight very progressive minutes closed by the last two minutes that are calm and spacey like only Tangerine Dream are able to be.

There is a continuity with "Sword of Orion". The side closer is less than two minutes long. No drumming. It's another short travel into space with SciFi sounds in the background. Very melodic with a hint of classical. A short highlight.

Side B starts with "Alpha". A repetitive melody goes in crescendo until an orchestral explosion after several minutes. It's the easiest track of the album and probably a bit too long, but I remember a TV adv with this music behind the images of two dolphins making jumps in slowmo (starting from when the drumming enters the track).

"Nucleogenesis is a suite in two parts. rhythmic and chaotic like Main Sequence, but more rock than jazz this time. It's one of my favourite tracks in all the Vangelis' discography and probably his last rock act before turning to more relaxing environments in the following albums. The second part of Nucleogenesis is started by a church organ, then it becomes rhythmic again. After an "orchestral interlude" the track is closed by the initial riff.

Now the album closer: a voice reads the "astronomical numbers" of Planet Earth over a very spacey music. Highly athmospheric and evocative of space, it's closed by the voice repeating "Albedo 0.39".

Having given five stars to Heaven and Hell I can't rate this less. If you like watching to the night sky, this is your album.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My first experience with the music of VANGELIS, was through a cassette a friend gave me a copy of "Heaven & Hell" around 1980 , which I found amazing, I was sure I had found the successor of Rick Wakeman, who's albums were getting terribly boring, so immediately and without listening them, bought all his albums including "Albedo 0.39", which to be honest disappointed me because that was not what I was expecting.

But years pass and my vision of Prog grew wider and included other genres as "Electronic Prog" and after re-listening the album, really impressed me. Even though it's very far from my beloved Symphonic, the album is simply delightful.

The opener "Pulstar" is a typical VANGELIS track which despite the radical changes, flows perfectly from start to end with an outstanding and pompous percussion that fit as a glove with the dramatic keyboard solos and sudden explosions, just brilliant.

"Freefall" is a strange song, the intro sounds as played with Gamelan (Typical Indonesian set of instruments) giving a Cambodian or Vietnamese sound, but as in the previous rack, the strong percussion is a plus.

"Mare Tranquilitatis" changes again the mood of the album adding dense atmospheres that create a mysterious and Spacey feeling, works as a short interlude before the brilliant and incredibly complex "Main Sequence", which adds jazz as a new element in the mix, again Vangelis hits the nail in the head.

"Sword of Orion" is another interlude and creates a distance sensation clearly describing the constellation. Usually an interlude is followed by a powerful and strong song, but the introduction of "Alpha" doesn't give that impression, at least until it's obvious that the track is going in crescendo, with variations over the same theme but adding new instruments in each round making the finale breathtaking.

"Nucleogenesis Pt 1" starts...Baroque?...Well it's true and proves the versatility of the Greek composer and multi-instrumentalist who is able to change moods and even genres in fraction of seconds but always with an elegant touch. The second part of this track (Nucleogenesis Pt 2) is pure Electronic Prog where VANGELIS allows himself to leave the ties behind and make pure magic wit his keyboards, another high point.

Some people criticize the title track and catalogue it as a filler, but in my opinion is a necessary coda or epilogue where VANGELIS demonstrates the relation of this album with Space travels, the perfect closer for an excellent album.

Of course my favorite album by "Evangelos Odysseus Papathanassiou" will always be "Heaven & Hell", but "Albedo 0.39" will always have a place in my turntable, an excellent release that deserves no less than 4 solid stars.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Newcomers to the melodramatic synth-rock of Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou couldn't ask for a more polite introduction than this album: solid entry-level Vangelis, for better or worse. It might have been designed that way as well. There's something almost calculated in the diversity of music on display, from the big cinematic gestures of the two- part "Nucleogenesis" to the nervous electro-jazz jamming of "Main Sequence" to the boilerplate space drift of "Mare Tranquillitatis", complete with Apollo moonwalk transmission samples.

Maybe the different moods were intended as a calling card to Hollywood ('Soundtracks Made to Order!'). Certainly anyone familiar with the old PBS show "Cosmos" won't be able to hear the album without recalling the beatific smile of Carl Sagan as he navigates his Spaceship of the Imagination through the outer solar system. Or perhaps all the variety was meant to fill an audition tape for the keyboard seat in YES, insecurely held by Patrick Moraz at the time.

In either case, the quality of the music varies widely between four-star Progressive Electronic excellence and synthetic two-star tackiness. Quintessential wide-screen workouts like "Pulstar" and "Alpha" flaunt a brash lack of subtlety and taste that sounded invigorating in 1976, but have dated badly since then.

And finally there's the near-ambient title track, with its calm HAL-2000 recitation of astronomical data: a minor miracle of atmospheric understatement. The album cover helpfully defines the title for all you non-geeks in the audience (a small minority among Vangelis fans, I'm sure). And the rear sleeve photo shows the viewing stand for a Cape Kennedy rocket launch, like the individual track names (and like the music itself) exploiting the somewhat trite association that existed in the 1970s between synthesizers and space exploration.

This style of music always had a limited shelf life, and was even then becoming a stale cliché. But Vangelis was setting the bar for the mainstream popularization of synth rock, with both ears keenly tuned to the sound of commercial success.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Some people consider this as the ultimate Vangelis album that represents his peak in terms of music making. He is considered as genius as he has made many experimentations with his love t analog synthesizers at his studio that he treats it as his own audio laboratory. Indeed he is a good composer whom some compare him with great names like Mozart and Beethoven. Of course he is not as big as Mozart nor Beethoven even though his work is brilliant. Albedo is the results of his own musical explorations using analog synthesizers as his main love even though he plays all other instruments right here in this album.

"Pulstar" was very popular in my country as one television station dare to play this track as musical introduction right before the news segment sometime @ 9 PM everyday. The track builds on a synthesizer pulse sequence, a main line and various other synthesizer brass lines. It ends with a recording of the speaking clock. "Freefall" leans itself a gamelan sequence and a synthesizer line. "Mare Tranquillitatis" demonstrates his overall capability and taking full control of the music through bias synthesizer virtuosity. "Main sequence" is heavily using a consistent pulsed synthesizer sequence, combined with drums work played in jazzy style. This is unusual of any Vangelis album where usually the space style is quite dominating, this time he blends it with jazz and a bit of blues. "Sword of Orion" indicates the combination of good melody and percussion. The "Nucleogenesis" suite is a music with a dark mood combining the sounds of church organ, organ synthesizer pulse, various synthesizer brass, acoustic drums and basses. It has some elements of prog and jazz. The title track, "Albedo 0.39" is ambient in nature, demonstrating synthesizer chords and arpeggios.

It's a highly recommended album especially for those who like the work of Vangelis. Keep on proggin' ?!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second half of the 70s was a same fantastic and also hideous time for electronic music. It was fantastic because that was when the first modern synthesizers came to be and they opened a new world to artists like Kraftwerk and Vangelis himself. It was also hideous because suddenly everybody thought that they could make a record all by themselves, and that has resulted in much of what we have of terrible in today's music.... but this is not a time to talk abouit that!

Now, talking about Vangelis, pretty much everyone knows him, born in Greece, he was a member of Aphrodite's Child and in early 70's he was engulfed with 'keyboard music'.

'Albedo 0.39' is Vangelis' eighth album and sees the musician at a peak in his long career. Like many albums of that period in music (mid 70's) the theme of 'Albedo 0.39' revolves around the Space. Albedo, or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflection power of a surface, and in this specific case, Albedo is the power of light reflection of the Earth (which in 1976 was 0.39, hence the name of the album).

Like Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow (from the same year), 'Albedo 0.39' needs a moment of your time to be fully appreciated, it's not a record you can play and just use it as background music for wahetever you're doing. No! The floating sounds and the whole 'we're in Space' thing were made for the listener to lay down in a comfortable bed (or sofa) and imagine a movie inside its head. Let your imagination run with the music.

On these days we live in this is more than a challenge, isn't it?! Will you face it?

3,5 stars

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Albedo 0.39 is the rating of the sun's light reflected off of the planet Earth. That means it reflects 39% of the sunlight it receives back into space. This is based off of a scale that an albedo of 1.00 (or 100%) means that all of the light received from the sun is reflected back into space. This concept of space physics provides the title of Vangelis' follow up album ('Albedo 0.39') to his highly lauded 'Heaven and Hell' album. Where the previous album was classically inspired, this album is more inspired by modern music, thus it gives it a different feel. The album just feels more like an electronic album, which is what the intent was. The concept of this album are all based around science, more specifically, space physics. All of the instruments are played by Vangelis, both electronics and acoustics including drums.

'Pulstar' is a very upbeat track which centers around a pulsing synthesizer. A melody is introduced and the music builds upon that with other synthesized sounds. The melody is catchy and easy to remember, and drives the song all the way through. The clearness of the chimes is very nice as it builds, giving things a nice sparkly sound, and the hard synthesizer hits throughout create tension and the short counter melodies keep things interesting. Layers ebb and flow creating some very cool sounds. This track ends abruptly and goes into the next track 'Freefall' with a recording of a speaking clock. A Gamelan creates the main melody here along with a synth that accompanies the melody note for note. Other counter melodies are created with other synths. This track is much more pensive and quiet than the previous one with subdued percussive sounds, and has an oriental sound to it. 'Mare Tranquillitatis' is the next track inspired by the lunar formation. It is a short track with spacey sounds and moon landing transmissions.

'Main Sequence' has a fast pulsing synth as the base with a very non-typical percussion pattern. This one is probably the most progressive track on the album. What sounds like improvisation comes from one synth while jazz chord progressions go on with another. This all finally ends about 2 minutes before the track is over and the remaining time is rather ambient, but eventually ends with a major chord progression. 'Sword of Orion' is another short track just over two minutes. It's a nice melody over the top of a broken chord, but it kind of meanders around. 'Alpha' takes a beautiful simple melody and simply builds layer upon layer adding different sounds and instruments. This will later become Vangelis' trademark sound, and is probably one of the styles he is best at. It is the same style that you hear in his most popular music including 'Chariots of Fire'. Very nice track, and a nice break from the dischord and dissonance that have appeared in other tracks on this album, and well placed in the track order.

I like the fact that Vangelis used both synthesizer and standard instruments on this album, it really gives this electronic music a lot of depth. This is very apparent in the two parts of 'Nucleogenesis' as he utilizes an organ to start things off, then adds in synths, drums and other instruments throughout. This suite is also very progressive and dramatic, with tricky rhythms and interesting melodies. Very well orchestrated throughout both parts, but Part 2 is a more structured sound, more predictable, and more repetitive, so I find Part 1 to be the better of the two because it is more progressive. However, Part 2 does take a strange turn towards the last part of the track and then returns to form before the end. 'Albedo 0.39' the title track, is a reading of Earth facts. Synths ebb and swirl around the narration. Then 'Albedo 0.39' is repeated over and over until the voice fades and the synths continue. It might be interesting, but not so much in a musical sense. Kind of a flat way to end what is otherwise a good album.

Kudos to Vangelis for exploring different musical avenues and ideas and not resting on his successful 'Heaven and Hell' classical style. He would continue to explore new ideas, and also expanding on the sound that made him popular. He would also author many soundtracks, some of them being 5 star recordings. This album is not his best, but it is still excellent, even with a few weak moments. The good points definitely outweigh the bad on this one.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 1 Pulstar typical intro, indescribable, everyone has it in their musical unconscious, a bit like that of 'Tubular Bells'; cascading, arrowing synth, violent percussion, a roaring drum; the piece which confirms to you that you are not like everyone else, a little above the ambient doldrums, ah that i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2928660) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Albedo 0.39 is an instrumental concept album whose theme is space exploration. I would describe it as half electronic-jazz-classical fusion, half straightforward electronica. Pulstar is a classic Vangelis track. As the title suggests, it uses a pulsing sequencer pattern. Vangelis uses his trade ... (read more)

Report this review (#1472116) | Posted by Replayer | Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Vangelis created some of the most incredible electronic music, especially in the 1970's, and he was years ahead of the time. This is an interesting effort, but for the most part, it is far too bombastic and self-indulgent for my liking. Pulstar is a solid piece, and as the album moves along it s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1149480) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, March 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Vangelis is a musician whose work I've long admired. His work on movie themes have lead to some intensely memorable moments. I was also thoroughly impressed when I picked up my first full Vangelis album, Heaven and Hell a little while back. In my recent, primarily electronic, musical sampling I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#641194) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I kind of see Vangelis as a classical composer using modern instruments in some ways, but Albedo 0.39 does have many progressive elemets, thanks to the real drums and jazz elements, inluding complex time signatures incorporated in some of the tracks, most effectively on the enthralling "Main S ... (read more)

Report this review (#599980) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Friday, December 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another excellent release by the Greek master, and one of his most well-konwn albums. The two short pieces that begin either side of the original l.p. are true Vangelis classics. Pulstar sets the stage for a more sci-fi techno sound. Electronics are much more in evidence on this album than ... (read more)

Report this review (#287733) | Posted by Progosopher | Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Albedo 0.39 is one of the better albums to come out of this period of Vangelis' career. It's a definite contrast from his previous work, Heaven And Hell, which took on the classic prog one album, one track split into two parts format. Albedo 0.39 is roughly the same length, but made up of nine tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#204593) | Posted by Una Laguna | Friday, February 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another excellent by Vangelis, Albedo 0.39 sees the Greek composer produce some of his most well known pieces of music, together with some of his most jazzy and progressive tracks. By the time he had completed Heaven and Hell, and his second Frederic Rossif wildlife series soundtrack La Fete Sau ... (read more)

Report this review (#158231) | Posted by UnearthlyChild | Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Maximum distance from the sun: 94 million 537 thousand miles Minimum distance from the sun: 91 million 377 thousand miles Mean distance from the sun: 92 million 957 thousand and 200 miles" After flirting with the moderately successful infernal synthesiser epic 'Heaven and Hell,' Greek electro ... (read more)

Report this review (#82509) | Posted by Frankingsteins | Monday, July 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A clever musical extrapolation of our planet Earth using it`s albedo ( reflecting ratio of incident light) metaphorically to explore the signifigance ( or insignifigance if you like ) of our existence in the vast oblivion of the cosmos. Rumoured to be a candidate at one point to replace Rick W ... (read more)

Report this review (#79221) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Exceptional work!Electro-new age with touches of ambient(isn't there a backround sound of crushing waves in "alpha"?) and prog rock-fusion character.Experimental for it's time this album contains some of the best and most inspiring electro songs i've ever listened to,like (the well-known) "al ... (read more)

Report this review (#36516) | Posted by suachili | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my favourites recors from the 70's. One of Vangelis' most adventurous albums ever, with an unique prog-rock-jazz-synth sound. Apart from "Aplha" and "Pulstar", which probably everybody knows, I think "Albedo 0.39" and "Nucleogenesis" are also peaks in this man's career. ... (read more)

Report this review (#34833) | Posted by | Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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