Albedo 0.39 represents some of Vangelis' most fascinating material from the early portion of his career. Using transforming tonal washes and lengthy runs of calm but effective synthesizer passages, Vangelis tackles the wonder and allure of the galaxy and its planetary bodies, making for an entertaining display of his keyboard expertise. Likened to Heaven and Hell (but with shorter passages) and to Spiral, the album that followed Albedo 0.39, the tracks are mesmerizing trips of assorted rhythms that include elements of jazz and mild rock, adding some welcomed differentiation to the nine pieces. The title track includes narrated statistics about planetary distances and such behind a forwarding voyage of tempered notes, making for one of Vangelis' most novel compositions. Along with "Albedo 0.39," the two parts of "Nucleogenesis" are among the strongest cuts that keep his cosmic theme from deviating, while the livelier "Pulstar" involves some impressive instrumental range and electronic buoyancy. Even in shortened form, his distinct pastiches are quite compelling, and the stretches of notes and rhythms don't become weary or monotonous at any point of the album. Vangelis' intention of conjuring up the vastness and immensity of space is soundly accomplished, and for the remainder of his career he employed the same type of atmospheric sketching (taking advantage of technological advancements in the area of synthesized music, of course) for numerous soundtracks and other conceptual works.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne