The album is entirely instrumental, apart from Vangelis' processed vocals on "Ballad" (one of the few occasions where his voice can be heard on his albums). Vangelis plays synthesizer, sequencers, electric piano, drums and percussion. It is the first album on which Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer, on which he relied heavily in subsequent work.
Spiral is a futuristic album, and Vangelis makes extensive use of the synthesizer technology of the day; this album is probably the most sequencer-based on his recording career. Each piece has a unique style, and deserves individual treatment.
"Spiral" builds on an arpeggio chord that is panned in stereo to give the listener a spiralling sensation; the piece continues along a sequenced synthesizer pulse and develops into a slightly black, somewhat bluesy piece that builds on Vangelis' patent brass.
"Ballad" is a calm piece, building on electric organ, harmonica (probably a synthesizer patch) and Vangelis' voice run through filters and a reverb. It climaxes on brass and timpani, then losing steam and returning to harmonica calm.
"Dervish D" is, according to the sleeve notes, "inspired by the Dervish dancer who by his whirling realises the spiralling of the universe". Musically, there is little that reminds one of Turkish music: a sequencer arpeggio base, percussion and synthesizer melody. The use of blue notes gives the piece a blues feel.
"To the Unknown Man" is a piece in three parts. It starts off minimalist with a slow pulse sequence and a simple guitar-like melody. Strings come in, and the piece progresses to the march-like second part. In the third part, the melody disappears, and is replaced with a rock beat and organ chords.
"3+3" is, true to its name, built entirely in threes. It consists of three parts, and although the measure changes several times, all parts are either 3/4 or 6/8 (although some appears to be 9/8). An elaborate 12/8 pulse sequence runs along the whole piece. The brass chords in the course of the piece resemble a true big band, no small feat with 1970s synthesizers. Of the album's tracks, this piece arguably has the most blues overtones.
Upon a request of a fellow Demonoider, here is Albedo 0.39, 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.
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.
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