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on 25 November 2000
Greek keyboard wizard Vangelis was one of the pioneers of popular electronic music, before he became famous for film soundtracks such as 'Blade Runner' and 'Chariots of Fire', for which he won an Oscar. ALBEDO 0.39 was released at the height of his commercial success during the late 1970s, and remains one of his most focussed and appealing albums. Not only does it avoid the classical pretensions of his earlier works, but also the tiresome experimental dabblings of subsequent efforts. ALBEDO represents the composer at his most 'electronic'. The album can best be describes as 'Space Rock', with each of the eight tracks having an astronomical theme and a cosmic atmosphere. There is little in the way of the orchestral simulations that have typified most of Vangelis' work, and we are left with a series of very precise pieces full of lively fuzzy basses, jangly fills and synthetic solos. This does not undermine the composer's celebrated sense of melody, however, as ALBEDO is loaded with catchy tunes, and every piece shows lots of musical interest. The standout track must be 'Main Sequence', a blistering assault of stunning percussion work and dazzling keyboard virtuosity. This is electronic rock/fusion at its wildest, punctuated by sudden bursts of melody amidst a crashing cacophony. 'Sword of Orion' is one of Vangelis' most beautiful and soaring pieces of electronic music. 'Pulstar' is instantly recognisable owing to its frequent use on television programmes, while the album concludes with the title track. This features the man himself, reciting a series of cosmic facts about the earth as it travels through space. Not that musical, but a fascinating science lesson for those who are interested! For Vangelis fans, ALBEDO 0.39 is essential listening. Fans of electronic music with an astronomical theme should also check out Brian Eno's 'Apollo' Soundtrack.
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on 6 June 2007
Albedo 0.39 was released in 1976 and finds Vangelis using a mix of synthesizers, percussion and a variety of other instruments. Some of the more melodic tracks achieved quite wide exposure at the time, most notably "Alpha", which was used on the American television series "Cosmos".

The album sounds very much of its time, especially with regard to Vangelis's use of the Apollo astronauts' voices in "Mare Tranquilitatis" and the British Post Office 'speaking clock' at the end of "Pulstar". Some of the tracks have an experimental feel and don't really work, most notably "Main Sequence". However, the "Sword of Orion" has a poetic elegance and the two "Nucleogenesis" tracks, very much 1970s rock but with unusual use of the organ, still sound quite exciting.

The narrator of the atmospheric "Albedo 0.39" track is not credited and some people assume it must be Vangelis himself, but apparently it was the album's recording engineer.

In summary, an interesting album but not as good as Vangelis's "L'Apocalypse des Animeux" or "China".
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on 21 June 2008
Produced in the 70's before he really hit the big time, this is a slice of what made Vangelis the master of synth rock. This is up there against Tomita and J.M. Jarre, and comes out very well. We all gasped that only one man was making such wonderful music, remember this was before PCs and samples took over the world. There are complex and melodic pieces alongside percussion. There is an other worldly feel to the pieces which explains why this music was used in Carl Sagans "Cosmos". The spoken title track is quite haunting and ethereal, the sound effects of the speaking clock and telephone dialling a little twee. A great introduction to synthesizers and the template for many a late night session staring at the clear night sky as a callow youth, dreaming about the Chariot of the Gods.
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on 5 September 2002
It is astonishing that this record was released in 1976. 'Freefall' is comfortably 20 years ahead of its time and is reminiscent of Boards of Canada's quieter moments. Ignore the unhinged and unrepresentative 'Main Sequence'; the scary 'Intestinal Bat' and the title track are far superior.
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on 17 January 2009
I agree with almost all that Mike Slade in his review (other than, apparently, it's not Vangelis going the title track vocal).

For me, this is the grand daddy of all Vangelis albums. It's all terrific, and I still have the 7" single of Pulstar and Alpha too....

Interesting for some.... two years ago I was in Athens at a conference. We were in a huge hall - and during the drinks/eating greet and meet they played this album - LOUD. As in it was echoing around this huge space... it was as cool as cool can be, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Nice to know this one isn't forgotten.
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According to Mark griffin's biography of the composer, Vangelis's 1976 release was inspired by a book of photographs taken in space. `Albedo 0.39' has then a cosmological theme. Vangelis himself noted that its recording was more spontaneous and less symphonic than `Heaven & Hell'. (Btw, albedo is a measure of a planet's reflective qualities, and the term appears in the final track where Earth's vital statistics, such as `Density 5.41' are read out by the album's recording engineer.)

This is a review of the original work transferred to CD without any remastering. Its recording comprised countless overdubs and over three-hundred edits, such were the constraints of 1970s technology. But the result is a true tour de force: there are no duff tracks, and two of the nine are worthy of five stars. These two are `Pulstar' and `Alpha'. The former comprises essentially one theme that is repeated over and over, but the fantastic arrangement never sours the listener's enjoyment due to the constantly changing arrangement and accompaniment. The latter, in a similar manner, cleverly re-invents a theme as the music progresses.

Other notable tracks include `Main Sequence', which combines electronic keyboards with a jazz freeform - it must have been a nightmare to co-ordinate but, amazingly, it does work - and `Nucleogenesis', with its opening organ and halting drama revisiting the territory of `Heaven & Hell'.

In short, this forty-two minute CD is overflowing with ideas, and has something that will appeal to the lover of music, be it classical, jazz, pop or rock. Here, Vangelis sets out the possibilities available from the nascent synthesiser, possibilities that will be established and built upon by both him and a myriad other artists in this and the following decade.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 August 2011
Albedo 0.39 was the third LP I bought of Vangelis's. It never struck me as his best but certainly one the most interesting. The double-gated LP had an intriguing NASA launch-watching spectator rear cover photo(which appears on the CD insert).

This to me, whether then or on the replacement CD was more of an intergalactic journey. Some planets interesting, some boring, some ugly, others very beautiful. Certainly, back in the early '80's when I bought LPs like the end of the world was nigh, apart from Star Trek and the occasional TV series, this sort of thing was the only scifi escapism a lad like me had. Not that I'm a fan of scifi, generally, though!

'Alpha' always was my favourite, the theme to Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' series. The 7" single had on its thin paper sleeve all those red blotchy faraway spots of cosmic light that fed my imagination and the music recreated that; the stereo separation of my "hi-fi" back then becoming even more impressive when this was played!

Today, technically at least, there are slicker and shinier examples of synth rock, or whatever you want to call it. Some tracks do crash about a bit and get a bit too involved but all in all, this is an album of variety and substance over continual perfection and has indeed, stood the test of time. And what schoolboy, however 'young' can fail to be coolly impressed by that final soothing mathematical countdown - to Albedo 0.39?
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When I first played this, I was staggered at the age of the recording. Although it has to some degree dated, it still sounds well ahead of its time, possibly due to the superiority of the synthesisers used at the time - remember, it was still early days for this type of instrument.

Albedo 0.39 is packed full of atmosphere and includes the fabulous 'Pulstar'. Many of the tracks sound out of this world and the complexity of the compositions and melodies is fabulous.

An absolute cracker of an album.
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2010
Having listened to a lot of German electronic music from the 1970s, I decided to take a punt on Vangelis who I recall charting comfortably with this during the same era. While it's mostly pleasant and occasionally surprising, it doesn't overwhelm me. He has some pretty tunes, such as on 'Pulstar' and 'Alpha' but for me the album needs more depth to be fully stimulating. The 'Nucleogenesis' tracks, on which he combines his synths with some Gothic organ have more about them than the rest of the album, but after listening to the likes of Cluster, who are admittedly a tougher proposition on first play, it all sounds a little shallow. As usual, I guess it's just down to personal taste.
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on 11 April 2013
I bought this for my son as a present and he loves it! its a beautiful mind blowing c.d. very thought provoking. Vangelis a very tallented artist I think, I have all his other albums he did.
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