Albedo 0.39

Infobox Album |
Name = Albedo 0.39

Type = Album
Artist = Vangelis
Released = 1976
Recorded = Nemo Studios, London, 1976
Genre = Electronic
Length = 42:30 (9 Tracks)
Label = Windham HillRCA (LP) # 3017
Producer = Vangelis
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|3|5 [ link]
Last album = "Heaven and Hell"
This album = "Albedo 0.39"
Next album = "La Fete Sauvage"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = Album

Lower caption =
"Albedo 0.39" is an album by the artist Vangelis, released in 1976. It is a concept album around space and space physics."Albedo 0.39" was the second album produced by Vangelis in Nemo Studios, London, which was his creative base until the late 1980s. It contrasts with his previous album, "Heaven and Hell", which was classically inspired and choral, while "Albedo 0.39" has blues and jazz overtones. Nevertheless, both albums share a classic, 1970's aura of intense electronic majesty.


The album title refers to the average albedo value of the planet Earth as it was in 1976. From the explanation on the back of the LP cover : "The reflecting power of a planet or other non-luminous body. A perfect reflector would have an Albedo of 100%. The Earth's Albedo is 39%, or 0.39".

Due to a variety of solar, atmospheric, electromagnetic, seasonal, and pollution issues, earth's albedo value is in constant flux. See 'Sources', below, for data pertaining to the issue.


Vangelis plays all instruments. Although it is uncertain which synthesizers Vangelis employs on this album, other instruments include acoustic drums, bass, percussion, a xylophone, a gamelan (track 2) and recordings of the speaking clock ("courtesy of Post Office communications") and the Apollo moon landing ("courtesy of NASA"). It appears Vangelis alternates synthesizer and acoustic basses on different tracks.

The only vocal is the narrative on the title track, which is uncredited. It was later revealed to be the voice of Vangelis' sound engineer, Keith Spencer-Allen.


"Pulstar" (supposedly a contraction of "pulsar" and "star") was to be the most popular track, building on a synthesizer pulse sequence, a trumpet main line and various other synthesizer brass lines. It ends with a recording of the speaking clock.

"Freefall" builds on a gamelan sequence, two flutes and a synthesizer line.

"Mare tranquilitatis" is a quiet synthesizer piece featuring recordings of several Apollo moon landings. Samples of this track can be heard on Enigma's album, "The Cross of Changes" (uncredited).

"Main sequence" is propelled by a pulsed synthesizer sequence, along which a trumpet- and drums-based jazz track develops. It calms down and flows into—

"Sword of Orion", built on an arpeggio chord, trumpet melody, and percussion.

On "Alpha", Vangelis employs a composing technique he would use extensively on later albums (e.g. Direct): a simple theme of a few bars is developed through increasingly complex instrumentation. Instruments include a slow synthesizer arpeggio, synthesizer mallet melody line, xylophone, percussion and (later) acoustic drums. It is a rather upbeat piece.

The "Nucleogenesis" suite conveys a somewhat darker mood, employing a church organ, an organ synthesizer pulse, various lines of Vangelis' patent synthesizer brass, acoustic drums and basses. Although hard to classify, the pieces appear to hold a ground between classical, blues and hard rock.

The title track, "Albedo 0.39" is an atmospheric track building on waxing and waning synthesizer chords and arpeggios, while a voice with a British accent narrates various physical properties of the Earth, such as its mass, length of the year in various measurements, and, finally, its albedo (amount of light reflected back into space).

Excerpts from "Pulstar" and "Alpha" can be heard on episodes of Carl Sagan's documentary series "", along with several other Vangelis themes. "Alpha" was used over animation illustrating evolutionary theory.

"Pulstar" was used as the theme music for a children's BBC television programme, "Horses Galore". It was also used as an early theme tune for ESPN's "Sportscenter" and ABS-CBN's news program TV Patrol. Pulstar is also the name of an arcade shoot 'em-up published by SNK in 1995.

Track listing

All songs written and arranged by Vangelis

#"Pulstar" – 5:45
#"Freefall" – 2:20
#"Mare Tranquillitatis" – 1:45
#"Main Sequence" – 8:15
#"Sword of Orion" – 2:05
#"Alpha" – 5:45
#"Nucleogenesis (Part One)" – 6:15
#"Nucleogenesis (Part Two)" – 5:50
#"Albedo 0.39" – 4:30


*Vangelis - synthesizers, keyboards, bass, drums
*Keith Spencer-Allen - engineer


The album reached # 18 in UK Album Charts


* [ Album lyrics]
* [ 'Vangelis Movements' webpage entry]
* [ 'Elsewhere' webpage entry]
* [ "Inside the Synth lab"] interview with Keith Spencer-Allen
* [ Samples]
* "Albedo" information : [ 1] , [ 2] , [ 3]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • albédo — [ albedo ] n. m. • 1901; en angl. 1859; bas lat. albedo « blancheur » ♦ Phys., astron. Fraction du flux total de particules incidentes renvoyé par réflexion diffuse à la surface de séparation de deux milieux. Un corps noir possède un albédo nul.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Albedo — Albédo Type de surface Albédo (0 à 1) Surface de lac 0,02 à 0,04 Forêt de conifères 0,05 à 0,15 Surface de la mer 0,05 à 0,15 Sol sombre 0,05 à 0,15 Cultures 0,15 à 0,25 Sable léger et sec 0,25 à 0,45 Glace environ 0,60 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • albedo — ALBÉDO subst. Mărime care indică fracţiunea din energia luminoasă incidentă radiată în mod difuz de un corp. – Din fr. albédo. Trimis de ana zecheru, 12.11.2002. Sursa: DEX 98  albédo s. n., art. albédoul Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • Albedo 0.39 — es un Álbum conceptual de música electrónica compuesto por Vangelis. Características Fue grabado en 1976 en los estudios Nemo de Londres, y fue el segundo álbum producido por el mismo Vangelis. El nombre hace referencia al albedo promedio de la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • albedo — lúnula de la uña. Blancura Diccionario ilustrado de Términos Médicos.. Alvaro Galiano. 2010. albedo Blancura, particularmente como superficie de reflexión. Diccionario Mosby Medicina, Enfermería y Ciencias de la Salud, Ediciones Hanc …   Diccionario médico

  • albedo — (n.) ratio of light reflected from a surface, 1859, from L. albedo, lit. whiteness, from albus white (see ALB (Cf. alb)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • albedo — (Del lat. albēdo, blancura). m. Fís. Razón entre la energía luminosa que difunde por reflexión una superficie y la energía incidente …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Albedo — Al*be do, n. [L., fr. albus white.] Whiteness. Specifically: (Astron.) The ratio which the light reflected from an unpolished surface bears to the total light falling upon that surface. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Albēdo — (lat., »die Weiße«), nach Lambert das Verhältnis der von einem beleuchteten Körper nach allen Richtungen diffus ausgestrahlten Lichtmenge zu der auffallenden Lichtmenge. Nach Zöllner ist die A. des weißen Papiers 0,7, d.h. weißes Papier wirft 0,7 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Albedo — Albedo, s. Absorption des Lichts, S. 3 …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Albedo — Albēdo (lat., »die Weiße«), in der Photometrie das Verhältnis der von einem rauhen, nicht spiegelnden Flächenstück zurückgeworfenen zu der von ihm empfangenen Lichtmenge. In der Astronomie wird der Ausdruck A. für die Helligkeit der Planeten… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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