Monday, December 12, 2016

Orchestra Njervudarov - 1979 - Con Le Orecchie Di Eros

Orchestra Njervudarov 
1979
Con Le Orecchie Di Eros




01. Tot stelle reflex (4:18)
02. Spleen, codice notturno (5:53)
03. Una baldoria verticale (4:52)
04. Tristessa (3:34)
05. Rapporto Njervudarov sulla teoria degli opposti estremismi (2:52)
06. Toujours l'amour (4:42)
07. Il montaggio delle attrazioni / Sinfonia Erotica (6:32)


- Bruno Mariani / guitar, synthesizer, percussion
- Piero Baldassarri / keyboards
- Piergiorgio Bonafè / saxophone, clarinet, recorder
- Roberto Costa / bass, synthesizer, trombone
- Adriano Pedini / drums, vibes, percussion, recorder


Orchestra Njervudarov was an Italian chamber rock/RIO band that released one album called Con le orecchie di Eros in 1979. However, they are rarely mentioned when RIO is discussed or even when one mentions Stormy Six, their fellow countrymen. And yet, this is an accomplished album quite deserving of recognition, especially given its year of release. This album has, as mentioned, a chamber rock/RIO sound as well as some jazz influences in it. There is one track (Rapporto Njervudarov sulla teoria degli opposti estremismi ) which is probably a sort of joke as it is a new wave/disco song and it is totally out of place here. But all the other tracks will reward the RIO/chamber rock and jazz-rock fans. This will be probably impossible to find and it's a shame. If you do have the chance to listen to this, don't hesitate. It might not be the best RIO album you'll hear but it sure is worth your time.

This album was released by EMI and got poor promotion and due to its limited edition got quickly out of stock and so was not known to many people. It has never been reissued on vinyl or CD.

Band members were from Bologna and Marche. The bassist Roberto Costa and guitarist Bruno Mariani have collaborated with Lucio Dalla (singer, songwriter, clarinet and keyboards). Drummer Adriano Pedini still plays jazz and has done many session recordings.


An amazingly rare album from Italy! Orchestra Njervudarov "con le orecchie di eros" it's a very curious and intresting recording from 1979. Actually the name of the band has been chosen only for the LP recording, the real name is actually Frogs. A very nasty quintet made by some great musicians and most of them seems still in musical scene, for example Roberto Costa made some arrangements for some famous musician for example Lucio Dalla, Ron, Gianni Morandi and even Luciano Pavarotti, same thing for Bruno Mariani. Adriano Pedrini it's a music professor and seems he is keeping teaching for some musical school in Italy. The album itself it's incredible, there is a lot of jazz, canterbury and avant garde chamber music influence, it's hard to describe the sound of this group. Take Picchio dal Pozzo and blend it with Universe Zero music, then add Area rhythms and passage and fill everything with some dark but immense and wide atmospheres. It's the best i can do for describe this album quickly for give an idea of this LP.

The album opens with Tot Stelle Reflex, a fast and very complex song! A great way to open an LP! You can sure notice a great work of bass and drums lines, simply fantastic! The instruments in this songs are like a puzzle, every part it's studied to attach to the other, and create a great mosaic of sounds and atmosphere! The ending also it's amazing too!

Next is Spleen Codice Notturno. This one it's more linear and smooth respect to the last one, it have more jazzy tunes and it's less complex. The sax fill most of the song creating some nice atmospheres. The keys are ok too, overall this song is also ok.

Una baldoria verticale begins with a drum riff and slowly the other istruments comes in with some difficult and complex patterns. The piano creates great passagess which are totally freaked. Most of the songs seems jazz improvised, but at last you can hear some nice guitar passage which slowly end the songs.

Another great song is Tristessa, which is one of my favourite here. It start with a smooth introwith synth and piano. The other instruments follow in creating some good atmosphere with. Also this track it's more linear respect the other one. It got some good taste of chamber music, remind me a bit Univers Zero or Henry cow in this one.

The we have Rapporto Njervudarov sulla teoria degli opposti estremismi which is one of very highlight of this LP! Surely if you're not italian you cannot understand or enjoy this track, beacouse it's joke track joking disco music and early punk. I think they have done this beacouse a lot of times italians talk english without kwnowing the words they are singing, infact a lot of times you can hear something like "PEOPLE DANCING" or "mmm... SEXY" without any counsistancy or meaning. The punk part it's also cool too, maybe the funniest part of this track and again it's full of nonsense and here you can hear something like "I've discovered america, iv'e invented the warm water" or my favourite "I ALWAYS DO THIS GRIND VOICE"! This song, for its consistancy remind me a lot Elio e le storie tese if you know what i'm talking about. You don't have to be serious to enjoy this song, just have some fun!

Now the LP becomes serious again, and we have Toujours l'amour, another outstanding and complex track like the first one, with a good use of synthsiezers, nice guitar phrases, great passage and tempo changing!.. as the first song it's hard to describe something like this, it's something that you have to hear!

Last track it's Il montaggio delle attrazioni / Sinfonia Erotica and again it's another strange avant grade song! it's the longest song so far but i don't know where Il montaggio delle attrazioni ends and Sinfonia Erotica begins... Maybe when the piano begin improvising... i don't know! Anyway it's again something very original with complex passages and immense atmosphere!...

It's been hard to describe this album, a reason more to hear this album, becouse i haven't been clear so much! (and my english it's not good...) Orchestra Njervudarov's "con le orecchie di eros" it's an excelent album and i ask my self why there isn't still a cd release or a vinyl reissue?! This is a very courious record and deserve to be heard by many progressive rock fans! The only reason why i don't give this album 5 stars it's beacouse it's hard to find and maybe it not worth as other R.I.O. albums. But i personally recomand this album becouse it's original and unique, maybe a lost classic! Recomand to every R.I.O., jazz, chamber rock and canterbury scene fan!

Septet Rousse - 1980 - Septet Rousse

Septet Rousse
1980
Septet Rousse


     

01. Opus 2 (Ivan Filev)*
02. Necronomikon (Angel Rangelov)*
03. Silhouettes (Staiko Staikov)**
04. Experiment (Ivan Kourtev)**

 Peter Petrov - alto saxophone *, tenor saxophone **
 Boris Roussev - alto saxophone **,  tenor saxophone *
 Ilko Petrov - drums
 Ivan Kourtev - piano, Fender piano, synthesizers
 Plamen Harizanov - bass guitar
 Staiko Staikov - synthesizers, percussions
 Plamen Nicolov - guitar

Recorded in "BALKANTON STUDIO" - Sofia 1980
Sound direction: Deyan Timnev, Vasil Stefanov
Sound engineers: Michail Bogerianov, Momchil Momchilov
Assistants: Lyoubka Parousheva,  Nicolay Hristov,  Alexander Daskalov




Excellent jazz fusion from Bulgaria. A deep, progressive sound that sounds free at moments but grooves. A nice mix of instruments with Rhodes, guitar, synth, horns etc...very much in the European/Russian fusion style.

White, Green and Red - 1984 - Plovdiv Folk Jazz Band

White, Green and Red 
1984 
Plovdiv Folk Jazz Band




01. Blues In 10 + 9
02. Homesickness
03. Melody For Flute
04. In The Old Town Again
05. A Spring Song And Horo
Accordion – Петър Райчев


 Alto Saxophone – Трифон Трифоно , Венко Захариев (tracks: B1)
Bass Guitar – Пешо Конов
Clarinet – Иво Папазов
Congas – Димитър Гаджонов
Drums – Радул Начков (tracks: A3, B2)
Flute – Михаил Рашев
Guitar – Огнян Видев (tracks: A3, B2)
Music By, Arranged By – Димитър Трифонов
Percussion – Красимир Георгиев
Piano – Петър Джурков (tracks: B1)
Tenor Saxophone – Николай Маринов
Trumpet – Емил Плачков, Ненчо Христов




Named of course after the Bulgarian flag's colors, perhaps in order to conceal the fact this is not communist propaganda style music.  Which it definitely isn't, being progressive ethnic-flavoured (or smelling perhaps I should say) fusion of the highest calibre.
 There is one astounding fusion-orchestral work we already knew about from the same country, it was called Septet Rousse and it was released in 1980.  It recalls Orchestra Njervudarov, my favourite representative of this style and for me one of the all-time masterpieces of progressive composition. Of course it is not as good, but well worth seeking out for a listen.

Vesselin Nikolov - 1987 - Jazz And Something More...

Vesselin Nikolov
1987
Jazz And Something More... 




01. Valediction To Idols 10:20
02. Come Ye All To Me... 10:32
03. Gilgamesh 13:25
04. The Lonely Man (To Hristo Prodanov) 5:15

Bass Guitar – Docho Panov (tracks: A1, A2, B1)
Composed By – Vesselin Nikolov
Drums, Percussion – Radoul Nachkov (tracks: A1, A2, B1)
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Vesselin Koichev (tracks: A1, A2, B1)
Kaval – Theodossi Spassov (tracks: B1)
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Mbira – Vesselin Nikolov
Synthesizer – Kostantin Tsekov (tracks: A1, A2), Roumen Boyadjiev (tracks: A1, A2)
Vocals – Suzana Erova (tracks: B1), Philipopolis Vocal Ensemble (tracks: A1, A2, B2)

Notes
Recorded in Studio Balkanton 1987.




Vesselin Nikolov was born in 1938 in Bourgass but his life has always been connected to Plovdivs musical culture. He received his Masters Degree at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He was the founder of the Beli, Zeleni, Tcherveni (White, Green and Red) Jazz Formation, popularizing Bulgarian musical culture all over the world and has participated in the most prestigious jazz festivals in Europe, Asia and the USA.

He was also the founder of the "Philippopolis" male vocal ensemble performing East Orthodox church music, as a conductor and art director. The ensemble has had a large number of concerts in the country and abroad.

In the period 1992-1995 he worked as a director of the Bulgarian Culture Institute in Warsaw, where he created the "St.St.Cyril and Methodius" Choir, which under his conduction, performed and recorded  a large amount of East Orthodox church music performances.

He has taught History of Jazz and Problems of Improvising at the Bulgarian State Music Conservatory. Vesselin Nikolov is the author of a large number of musical works: ProtuBerances (Concert for symphony orchestra and jazz band), Prayer, Glory and Praise (oratories), Modus Mobile, Contemplation, etc. as well as film music - the soundtrack to a large number of popular BG films: Love is All, Attempt to Fly, Measure for Non-Deflection, Sky for All, Voyvoda Leaders, On the Roofs at Night, etc.

Vesselin Nikolov And His White, Green and Red - 1978 - Don Juan

Vesselin Nikolov And His White, Green and Red 
1978 
Don Juan




01. Гълъби/ Doves 6:05
02. Рифове / Riffs 7:25
03. Танц С Вино / Dance With Wine 6:00
04. Дон Жуан / Don Juan 8:35
05. Зверчета / Little Wild Beasts 9:25
06. Очите На Тереза / Teresa's Eyes 2:05

Bass [Fender] – Pesho Konov
Drums, Percussion – Radko Nachkov
Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Vesselin Nikolov
Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Ognyan Vivev
Piano [Fender] – Peter Dzurkov
Piano, Synthesizer [Moog] – Peter Dzurkov

Notes
Recorded in Balkaton studio, October, 1978 - Sofia



70s style fusion of the highest caliber. soprano sax wail above the thick electric eel of a piano riff, screaming in its poetic monologue a passion of exciting city nights and glorious emotion never held back. Play it loud!

Georg Lawall - 1981 - Palette

Georg Lawall
1981
Palette



01. Dos Chicas (Um Bocadillo) 4:30
02. Palette 7:35
03. Perpetuum Mobile 4:50
04. I Feel A Whole Lot Better Now 5:20
05. Trance-Aktion 5:00
06. Per-Dis-Kussion 5:00
07. Stilblüten 11:50
 a. Erdig
 b. Einfach Aber Wahr
 c. So Wirklich
 d. Gospelhorn

Aufgenommen am 19. und 20. Februar 81 "Live" in der "Bastion" Kirchheim/Teck

 Classical Guitar, Producer, Painting – Georg Lawall





An astonishing set of acoustic guitar music from this awesome genius, note that, so far as I can tell, only one song is borrowed from another disc, as was the case in the live album from pnf I think.

I think somewhere in the past I mentioned that artist shocks us by how uncompromising he was, even in 1982 he was still utterly dedicated to pursuing progressive avant-garde music even as the world was filling up with fuzak, digital keys and drums and all-round silliness everywhere.  And like the German band Alcatraz, he never gave up the progressive spirit.

Simply have a listen to the most wondrous track on this record, called 'perpetuum mobile,' and be prepared for your jaw dropping

Georg Lawall - 1981 - Orexis Live

Georg Lawall 
1981
Orexis Live




01. Dos Chicas (Umbocadillo) 4:10
02. Roses For Moses 6:35
03. Fingerstyle 6:31
04. Simple But True 4:38
05. Afrika 11:46
06. Inisoroma 2:48
07. Oasis 2:00
08. SDR "African Drive" (Roquefort) 6:00

Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Knut Rössler
Guitar, Sitar, Balafon, Percussion, Voice – Georg Lawall
Tabla, Bongos, Gong, Percussion, Flute – Dieter "Dizzy" Pandtle*
Xylophone, Balafon, Percussion, Voice – Gert "Medronho" Kilian*




To me here is a genre that is truly lost: progressive ethnic folk, not just simply composed, but filled with the complex european synthesis of classical composition on a background of folk instruments. This group is the brainchild of german guitarist George Lawall, who is responsible for most of the composition and (obviously) plays all guitars, as well as the sitar on some tracks. He is accompanied by flautist Knut Rossler and 2 percussionists. Amazingly Orexis produced something like 6 albums, including the self-titled debut, Inspiration and reflection, a spanish suite, communication, and this live album which has an absolutely fantastic sound quality for a live. As far as I know all these albums are lost to history except for a few vinyls here and there

Orexis - 1984 - Carnaval

Orexis 
1984 
Carnaval



01. Carnaval À Seix 6:05
02. Tapes Le Tapis 3:35
03. Aquarius 4:25
04. Highspeed Lady 1:49
05. Ballad Of The Mosquito 3:00
06. Morgentau 6:37
07. Auf Dem Sprung 4:04
08. Wintersun 3:43
09. Behind The Goose 4:36
10. Midnight Freaks 2:48

Congas, Tabla, Percussion – Willi Kappich
Guitar, Sitar, Gong, Percussion, Voice – Georg Lawall
Marimba, Xylophone, Percussion, Voice – Gert Kilian
Saxophone, Flute – Knut Rössler



Fantastic jazzy prog/acid folk krautrock with sitar, acoustic guitar,drums, percussion, tablas, flute and sax. A superb album and this was one of the best bands ever in this field!

Orexis - 1980 - Communication

Orexis
1980
Communication




01. Six O' Rock 5:59
02. Septemberly 5:23
03. I Feel A Whole Lot Better Now 7:40
04. Thelonious Harmonious 6:40
05. Bassicly 3:37
06. Anthraxis 6:29
07. So Jetzt! 4:39

Classical Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar, Sitar, Producer – Georg Lawall
Double Bass – Wolfgang Lauer
Drums, Percussion, Gong – Joe Koinzer
Saxophone, Flute, Percussion – J.P. "Büdi" Siebert*


This one doesn't disappoint. In fact this entry is one of the best, without a doubt. Here's a band / artist who maintained incredibly high musical and imaginative standards through 5 albums -- Orexis, Inspiration, Reflection, Communication, and Georg Lawall Live, without really letting up at all the progressive spirit (similar to Alcatraz). This last album takes us out to 1980, when the world had pretty much given up on progressive music, but here nestled in Deutschland we still see the eagerness to fuse together every strand of human audiological experimentation: folk, classical, jazz, and blazing-fast virtuoso playing. The one element missing is the electric guitar. I cannot believe how sustained the compositions are and how unfair it is that Georg Lawall's work is lost to posterity and I hope the artists see it the way I do -- to share this immense priceless treasure from the past with as many people as possible.

I was excited to see the remarkable Budi Siebert playing saxes and flutes on this record along with Georg Lawall and the rhythm section of Lauer and Koinzer. What an incredible, amazing musician Siebert was / is and you can hear it in every note he plays on this set. Everything he touched turned to gold in this period of time.

We start with a quick uptempo ethno-folk jazz number called "Six o'rock." Here, use of the whole tones throughout make for a very interesting dreamy sound despite the uptempo. Thereafter a very beautiful evocative flute song called "Septemberly" really showcases our man Budi. Despite the old school jazz title this is a very progressive composed piece with odd changes.

The last piece on side 1 is another beautiful acoustic composition with an odd title (as seems the case throughout this record); it weaves together all kinds of gorgeous strands before kind of drifting out into nothingness at the end. Note the use of bowed playing of the double bass for deep sustained bass notes, later moving on to a cello-like use of plaintive high string notes with the bow. As mentioned before, these sustained notes on cello or (as here) on double bass always evoke the feeling of plaintive lamentation.

Side 2 opens with the awkwardly named Thelonious Harmonious, dedicated to Hermann Hesse (because of Siddhartha?). Part 1 (Communique) includes the Herbert Klein Tenor and altussolo and the choir of the god-vibration-monks introducing us with a classical choir composition getting us into a nice funereal mood. It passes into a pretty standard acoustic guitar E minor pattern with Budi's soprano sax singing out the song into more progressive territory (Vita Posterior). Really awkward title considering this song seems to be about reincarnation and death and has nothing to do with Thelonious Monk, musically.

Again the bassist is highlighted with a song, called "Bassicly". I admit to being a bit disappointed by this one slight dip in the musical quality since for the most part we hear an extended bass solo. The next track is one of the those typical german ethno-folk languorous slow evocative sunrise tracks with sitar playing from Lawall, e.g. Agitation free, Embryo, Dauner's Et cetera, etc. At least it builds up a bit of interest with Budi bringing in some sax winds to blow away the torpitude. Unfortunately we then get treated again to the descending minor guitar pattern (Led Zep's Babe I'm gonna leave you). This is the track that is co-written by Siebert. Probably this means it was mostly improvised.

The final track is a humourous jazz guitar thing. We've seen this on Lawall's records before. It reminds me a lot of association pc's toto blanke, which was almost 10 years before this record, showing how early and advanced association pc was in the sphere of complex euro-jazz.

Orexis - 1979 - Reflection

Orexis 
1979 
Reflection



01. Ibiziencos (5:46)
02. Moonreflection (4:36)
03. Wintersun (6:00)
04. Bassart (6:18)
05. Al Alborear (4:43)
06. El Canto De Piculives (4:30)
07. Cadenza (2:20)
08. Slype (5:30)
09. Baracca Barocca (4:40)


Wolfgang Lauer: bass
Gert Kilian: drums, percussion, bongos, gongs, xylophone
Dieter Bihlmaier: flute
Georg Lawall: classical gitar, 12-string guitar, sitar, percussion, composer
Bernhard Bruckdorfer: Oboe -
Trilok Gurtu: percussion, tablas, drums, darabuka, congas, drums

Recorded and mixed in May/June 1979 at Tonstudio Bauer, D-7140 Ludwigsburg by Carlos Albrecht


Orexis - 1978 - Inspiration

Orexis 
1978
Inspiration


01. Castello Do Sao Jorge 4:53
02. Roquefort 4:50
03. Turkish Blend 4:23
04. Chudie's Dance 6:55
05. Tom Bombadil 4:11
06. Jazzmine 8:58
07. Orientierung 6:20
08. Sam Bombadil 2:58

Bass – Wolfgang Lauer
Drums, Percussion [Bongos, Gongs], Xylophone – Gert Kilian
Guitar, Sitar, Percussion – Georg Lawall
Percussion [Tablas], Drums [Darabuka], Congas, Drums – Trilok Gurtu



In 1978 Lawall's Orexis were set for a new album.The line-up was expanded to a quartet with two percussionists, Gert Kilian, who played in the first album, and Trilok Gurtu along with Wolfgang Lauer, who replaced Erik Erker on double bass.The second work of Orexis was again recorded at Tonstudio Bauer in June 78' and released on Intercord Tontraeger.

Once more an Orexis' album is centered around Lawall's classical and 12-string guitars along with his composing talents with seven out of the eight tracks written by him, except ''Orientierung'', credited to Lauer.Orexis continue on their long experiments between jazzy improvisations and Ethnic orientations, blending Latin and Eastern influences with the free spirit of Jazz.The true difference with the first album is the fact they included a couple of more Prog Fusion-oriented pieces with a very energetic rhythm section and Lawall's dripping acoustic strings delivering plenty of stops and runs.Otherwise ''Inspiration'' hardly moves away from the familiar crescendos of Orexis' leader, supported by vibraphones, double bass and different percussions.Again the album has a strong academic feeling and leans towards experimental forms, focusing in the possibilities of freedom through music than any kind of structured ideas.

The pair of well-performed Fusion tracks is the main reason ''Inspiration'' is a bit better than Orexis' debut.Still this work comes recommended mostly to fans of Experimental Folk and Jazz.


Orexis - 1977 - Orexis

Orexis 
1977 
Orexis




01. Unter-Rock 6:10
02. Die Dritte Farbe 7:55
03. Cannonball 6:36
04. Tombstone 6:07
05. Girl Of My Dreams 6:00
06. Si Tard 2:18
07. Some Bassy Blue Samba 4:18
08. Appendix 1:28

Bass – Erik Erker
Congas, Bongos, Percussion [Timbales Cuban, Drums-set], Voice – Gert Kilian
Guitar [Konzertgitarre, 12-strings Guitar], Sitar, Percussion, Composed By – Georg Lawall

Recorded at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, Germany, Feb/ March 1977.



Orexis was more or less a German project created by guitarist Georg Lawall back in 1975.Their first work included also bassist Erik Erker and Gert Kilian on drums and various percussions, it was recorded at Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg between February and March 1977 and eventually released the same year on Intercord Tontraeger.

This is mostly a hybrid of Ethnic Jazz and World Music but not in the sense of KRAAN,this is basically an acoustic album with a very ''live''-like atmosphere, sounds a bit like full rehearsals at moments.Lawall uses classical guitar along with sitar and Kilian performs also on congas and bongos, the result though is a mixed bag of mellow jazzy atmospheres, sometimes closer to Lounge Jazz.The album actually suffers from the one-dimensional moods created constantly by the guitars and bass, which really dominate it, along with some overstretched individual solos, which are rather monotonous.Aa a result, ''Orexis'' could easily be used as background music, as it lacks any kind of energy and dynamics, though the musician perform with passion, no question about it.On the other hand the few full-blown jazzy passages on the first tracks with the members in orgasm indicate that Orexis were a band with true potential, but as it unfolds, the albums tends to be boring with much of a sef-indulgence feeling.

As with the Lucia, MccLaughlin and Di Meola trio, Orexis' debut would really have been a better effort if captured on a live footage, this is mostly music for seminars and not a world-wide product, even for prog fans.However the band won the prize for ''Musik Newcomer'' with this album and this fact says a lot about them.

Nektar - 1980 - Man In The Moon

Nektar 
1980 
Man In The Moon




01. Too Young To Die (4:17)
02. Angel (3:30)
03. Telephone (3:40)
04. Far Away (3:17)
05. Torraine (5:25)
06. Can't Stop You Now (4:18)
07. We (4:40)
08. You're Alone (4:05)
09. Man In The Moon (6:42)

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
10. Impossible Years (Too Young To Die) (4:17)
11. Straight Jacket (3:48)


- Roye Albrighton / lead & backing vocals, guitar
- Allan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards
- Carmine Rojas / bass, keyboards
- David Prater / drums, backing vocals



So Nektar survive into the 1980's. The drumming and bass playing positions have been subject to change, but principal songwriters and performers Roy Albrighton and Allan "Taff" Freeman remain on board. The migration from the unmistakably progressive band of the early 1970's to an AOR/pop rock outfit, which really began with 1977's "Magic is a child", continues unabated here. The songs are a mixture of upbeat sing-a-long anthems and power ballads, but always in the vein of STYX, FOREIGNER, JOURNEY, BOSTON, ETC.

The album opens with the upbeat "Too young to die", a fine if straightforward pop rock number. Certainly, the following two tracks "Angel" and "Telephone" are slower ballad type songs but their three to four minute lengths, pretty much the standard for the album, betray the fact that the songs remain undeveloped and straight forward.

And that's the way the album goes, a few faster upbeat songs, a few slower ballads, any of which would sound great on a rock radio station. There's no concept to tie the songs together, each stands or falls on its own merits. "Torraine" breaks the mould slightly, as it manages to combine a slow start with a more upbeat instrumental run through in its 5 minutes or so, and for that reason alone stands apart as at least a nod to the past.

"You're alone" is another touching ballad, Albrighton showing that vocally he is still as capable as ever. The closing title track has an impressively dramatic opening with drifting organ and cascading guitar bursts. The semi-spoken vocals over the organ are inadvertently reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"(!). There's some good synth too though, and overall the track works well.

The bonus tracks consist of an alternative version of "Too young to die" and a pseudo glam rock song best left unearthed.

It is of course easy to be over critical of such an album given Nektar's proud history in the field of prog. To be fair, when considered without preconceptions of the band and without any expectations of hearing a prog album, this is good quality pop rock which stands above the myriad of early 80's bands who were ploughing the same field.

If you're prepared to accept it on that basis, this is a pretty good album.

Nektar - 1977 - Live In New York

Nektar
1977
Live In New York






Original LP tracks:

01. It's All Over Now 6:31
02. Good Day 6:48
03. Remember The Future (Part 2) 8:19
04. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher 15:12
05. Desolation Valley 9:41
06. That's Life 8:00
07. Show Me The Way 4:43
08. I Can See You 7:27
09. King Of Twilight 10:22
10. Woman 4:06
11. Good Ol' Rock 'n' Roll 5:49

1978 - More Live Nektar In New York:

01. Fidgety queen (5:30)
02. That's life (8:10)
03. Show me the way (4:20)
04. Marvelous Moses (8:22)
05. It's all over now (8:25)
06. Astral man (3:10)
07. Remember the future part 1 (14:00)
08. Remember the future part 2 (8:16)
09. King of twilight (10:00)

CD Version:

01. It's all over now (6:33)
02. Good day (7:08)
03. A day in the life of a preacher (14:53)
04. Desolation valley (9:39)
05. That's life (8:00)
06. Show me the way (4:40)
07. King of twilight (9:54)
08. Woman (4:05)
09. Good ol' rock'n roll (5:40)

This 1CD version omits "Remember The Future (Part 2)" and "I Can See You" from the 2xLP set



Track listing of remaster (2004):
[consists of the complete concert, including material originally released as "More Live In New York"]

101. Introduction /Astral Man (4:00)
102. Remember The Future, Part One (16:15)
103. Marvellous Moses (8:36)
104. It's All Over (5:26)
105. Good Day (6:48)
106. That's Life (6:28)
107. Show Me The Way (6:28)

201. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher (15:43)
202. Desolation Valley (9:57)
203. Remember The Future, Part Two (8:16)
204. I can See You (7:45)
205. King Of Twilight (10:01)
206. Woman Trouble (4:09)
207. Medley (6:53)
208. Fidgety Queen (5:51)


Recorded live at The Academy Of Music, New York City on September 28th 1974


- Roye Albrighton / lead vocals, guitars
- Mick Brockett / lights
- Alan "Taff" Freeman" / keyboards, backing vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, backing vocals





Review by
Todd E. Carper (Edgewood, Md United States)
Nektar are a band that has to be caught live to be fully appreciated. This is a live recording of the band in its prime from 1974 in a city where they always seem to play at their best, New York. It is also the band in its original line-up with Roye Albrighton on guitar and vocals, Ron Howden on Drums, Mo Moore on Bass and Vocals with Taff Freeman on Hammond Organ and vocals. The band is young and hot, its chemistry obvious as its technical prowess and hooks. There are several versions of Live in New York, this is the best since it is all the songs, the complete show. The band hit the stage on fire with Astral Man and rock it hard. They hit a small snag on their hit Remember the Future part one when the power goes out but it is barely noticeable and the band does the right thing and keeps on going; in fact the band never slows down after that as they groove on Marvelous Moses, slowing ever so slightly for It’s All Over and then hit the gas again for their hyper driven rocker Good Day which is searing. Again they let off the accelerator slightly for a fantastic rendition of That’s Life and then punch it again for Show me the Way and then take things to the fever pitch that is Day in the Life of a Preacher. Through it all, the melody is all over every song with amazing interplay between the players; the intricate pieces fall together beautifully and flow one into the other as the set builds to its climax. Roye is in great voice, the solos on his guitar fit perfectly in every song in fact each of the players shine in turn in each and every song so there is no time lost. What is evident is the band work well together and each song is a highlight. Want something groove laden and Jazz flavored, try Desolation Valley which is superb. Want a rocker? Try out the previously mentioned Good Day, the equally smoking Day in the Life of a Preacher, or Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight or the closer Fidgety Queen. Then there is the Remember the Future Parts one and two which have all the moods rolled into 2 intricate suites of music; personally my choice is part two which has a brilliant guitar solo woven into the “Lonely Roads” part of the suite. The Rock and Roll and bluesy side are represented as well as this band shows it can do it all. There is something here for everyone, give it a listen and you WILL be rewarded. Rock on Nektar!

Nektar - 1977 - Magic Is A Child

Nektar 
1977
Magic Is A Child




01. Away From Asgard (5:30)
02. Magic Is A Child (4:06)
03. Eerie Lackawanna (3:29)
04. Midnite Lite (4:27)
05. Love To Share (keep Your Worries Behind You (4:07)
06. Train From Nowhere (4:12)
07. Listen (6:02)
08. On The Run (the Trucker) (4:41)
09. Spread Your Wings (4:40)

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
10. Away From Asgard (Original Demo) (6:18)
11. On The Run (Alternate Mix) (4:43)
12. Train From Nowhere (Alternate Version) (4:12)
13. Midnight Lite (Live) (5:07)


- Dave Nelson / guitars, vocals
- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, synth, vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / basses, vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion, vocals

With:
- Robert Fripp ("Walt Nektroid") / guitar (6,12)
- Larry Fast / synthesizer
- Julien Barber, Kermit Moore, Michael Commins & Anthony Posk / string quartet
- Stephan Galfas / string arranger




 Magic is a child, or, to be a bit more precise, magic is a floating Brooke Shields with glowing feet by a waterfall. Nektar were trying to hold on to the magic without Roye Albrighton, and Dave Nelson seemed game for the challenge. The shifting away from the band's early psychedelic freakouts continued dramatically here, but there's no mistake that this album is still very much prog, and one I consider more entertaining than a lot of other progressive groups' efforts around this time.
The album starts off on an upbeat note; a jaunty and fun ride away from Asgard and towards the land of somewhat poppish yet very adventurous prog rock. Within its 5:30 frame there is enough material for 3 songs due to its various ideas and licks compacted into a not so epic runtime. This makes the song busy, yet a ton of fun. The music is played reasonably tight, which underscores how far they've strayed from the ultra space rock of their early days.

Other aspects distinguish this effort from their early days (and space rock in general), those being the growing influence of the southern boogie bands at the time and a straight 70's rock plus an AOR touch to a decent portion of the songs. It's a strange blend, and certain songs work better than others as a result, but when it works, it COOKS. Train from Nowhere cooks like a fresh buttocks on sauna coals. The best track on the album, it pinballs its way between heavy jazzy prog rock and Steve Miller style boogie deftly with some memorable licks and one killer little guitar solo. It's the kind of song you could play in some southern country bar without angering the locals, although they'd probably think someone spiked their mugs of Budweiser with some "funny stuff".

A couple of songs don't work out so well: Eerie Lackawanna isn't so bad due to the funky guitar playing, but it does sound like The Doobie Brothers playing naked Twister with Lou Rawls in late 70's easy listening mode. Then there's Love To Share with it's cribbing of some riffs right out of The Beatle's He Said She Said as a homage, sounding considerably goofy as a result despite the coolness of the riff itself.

Those looking solely for the unabashed tripped-out rock of early Nektar might at least dig Listen, which definitely goes down easy with a few bong hits, although don't expect to journey into the center of your own eyeballs. Spread Your Wings is another fun number, basically a straight up rock song with a bit of complexity thrown in for good measure, although the musical embellishments might not be immediately apparent since the focus would most likely begin with the cock rock lyrics. LOOK OUT LADIES, NEKTAR'S IN TOWN!

Is it a great album? Not really, but it has plenty of stellar moments and is a hell of a good time if you don't throw this on expecting a rehash of their early 70s music. Prog music for those who drink cheap beer, in which quantity matters more than quality. Keep on chuggin'.

Nektar - 1975 - Recycled

Nektar 
1975 
Recycled




- Recycled, Part 1 :
01. Recycle (2:47)
02. Cybernetic Consumption (2:32)
03. Recycle Countdown (1:51)
04. Automaton Horrorscope (3:08)
05. Recycling (1:46)
06. Flight To Reality (1:18)
07. Unendless Imagination? (4:36)
- Recycled, Part 2 :
08. São Paulo Sunrise (3:05)
09. Costa Del Sol (4:04)
10. Marvellous Moses (6:37)
11. It's All Over (5:11)


Bonus tracks on 2004 remaster:
- The Geoff Emerick Mix -
12. Recycle (2:49)
13. Cybernetic Consumption (2:10)
14. Recycle Countdown (1:51)
15. Automaton Horrorscope (3:03)
16. Recycling (1:51)
17. Flight To Reality (1:25)
18. Unendless Imagination? (4:38)
19. São Paulo Sunrise (3:05)
20. Costa Del Sol (4:03)
21. Marvellous Moses (6:35)
22. It's All Over (5:25)


- Roy Albrighton / lead vocals, guitar
- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, backing vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, backing vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion

With:
- Larry Fast / Moog & Moog orchestral arrangement
- The English Chorale / chorus vocals
- Robert Howes / choir conductor
- Christian Kolonovits / choir arrangement





RECYCLED, released in 1975, is the last of Nektar's five-star works, and their crowning achievement. (Prior releases REMEMBER THE FUTURE and DOWN TO EARTH are also indispensable for the band's fans.) If you were to buy only one Nektar disc, this is the one that I would urge you to select.
RECYCLED, in classic progressive rock fashion, is a concept album with two suites of thematically-linked songs that segue, one into the next, to form a seamless whole. The first suite, "Recycled Part One," deals -- almost presciently -- with a future in which "recycled energy becomes the only form of life as it was," while "new forms are molded from patterns already used in a struggle to survive." (Thanks to man's ongoing devastation of natural habitats, we now forever lose a different animal species each day. Genetic engineering, anyone?) The lyrics are rightly disquieting, and are more timely and relevant now than ever. For example, though penned several years before the emergence of AIDS, and its horrific decimation of sub-Saharan Africa, a line in "Flight to Reality" could well represent the plight of poor countries like Uganda, whose populations desperately need, but cannot afford, the West's anti-HIV medication: "A nation's urgent need fulfills another's greed."

The second set, "Recycled Part Two" (the original vinyl's side 2), is less futuristic in scope, but no less urgent in theme. "Sao Paulo Sunrise" and "Costa Del Sol," with ironically danceable beat, tell of the despoiling of a tropical "paradise" by ever-increasing numbers of developers and tourists. Next, the lighter-hearted "Marvelous Moses" presents the tale of a modern-day miracle man and "tourist attraction," before the album comes to a moving close with the requiem-like "It's All Over." As the title would suggest, the song warns of the seemingly inevitable result of humanity's suicidal obsession with economic "growth," at the expense of the ecology that makes life on the planet worthwhile, and even possible.

The music accompanying this clarion call for greater environmental and humanitarian responsibility is harder-edged progressive rock, which expertly incorporates jazz, psychedelic, Latin, Caribbean and funk flavors. Guitarist Roye Albrighton's trademark catchy riffs and soaring slide work have never sounded better, and his vocals are delivered with impressive conviction and passion. Ron Howden's drumming is precisely as it should be, and bassist Mo Moore's thunderous Rickenbacker gives a solid foundation to the proceedings, while propelling them forward with tremendous impetus. Keyboardist Taff Freeman provides evocative synth "atmospherics," and displays a seasoned virtuosity on the piano, while guest musician Larry Fast of Synergy (who would go on to a fruitful collaboration with Peter Gabriel) supplies lush "orchestral moog arrangements" to further sweeten the prog pot. Top all this off with some moving choral sections and backdrops courtesy of The English Chorale, and you have a true progressive rock masterwork!

While all too many may elect to tune out RECYCLED's rather grim message, the music which sweetens this acrid but vital medicine is not to be overlooked! Mercy, mercy me -- an essential classic! Start "Recycling" today!

Nektar - 1974 - Down To Earth

Nektar 
1974
Down To Earth





01. Astral Man (3:07)
02. Nelly The Elephant (5:02)
03. Early Morning Clown (3:21)
04. That's Life (6:49)
05. Fidgety Queen (4:04)
06. Oh Willy (4:00)
07. Little Boy (3:03)
08. Show Me The Way (5:55)
09. Finale (1:36)

Bonus Tracks on 2005 remaster:
10. Astral Man (2:59) *
11. Nelly The Elephant (4:47) *
12. Early Morning Clown (3:23) *
13. That's Life (6:44) *
14. Oh Willy (4:08) *
15. Show Me The Way (5:57) *
16. "Robert Calvert out-takes" (2:07)

* Original Chipping Norton mixes


- Roy Albrighton / guitar, lead vocals
- Allan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, backing vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, backing vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion

With:
- Stephen Wick / tuba (1)
- Phil Brown / bass tuba (1)
- Butch Hudson / 1st trumpet (2,5,6,9)
- Ron Carthy / 2nd trumpet (2,5,6,9)
- Steve Gregory / tenor sax (2,5,6,9)
- Chris Mercer / baritone & tenor saxes (2,5,6,9)
- Chris Pyne / trombone (2,5,6,9)
- Chipping Norton Mandies Choir / chorus vocals (2,9)
- P.P Arnold / backing vocals (3,4,7)
- Kenneth Cole / backing vocals (3,4,7)
- Bob Calvert / voice - ringmaster (1,2,4,5)
- Dieter Dierks / effects





DOWN TO EARTH is the second of Nektar's three essential albums, and, like its title would suggest, is less psychedelic and science-fictional in sound and subject matter than both its predecessor (Remember the Future) and its successor (Recycled). Though this is classic 70s progressive rock, the emphasis is decidedly and delightfully upon the ROCK. Furthermore, rather than dealing with an enlightening alien contact, or a dark future of genetic engineering and ecological disaster (hmmm, sounds familiar), our setting this time out is a circus, complete with (an English-speaking) German ringmaster.
The evening gets off to a flying start with the entry of "Astral Man," a rocking, and catchy tune about a high-wire man. Then things slow down a little -- but gain in power -- and the whole tent reverberates as "Nelly the Elephant" thunders in (complete with brass fanfare!), an "extraordinary exhibition" of good-humoured versatility by the band. Next we take a look at a sadly beautiful "Early Morning Clown," and the keyboards and acoustic guitars shine in the dawn, as "warm rays" fall on the dew-speckled leaves. That's life, one might conclude, and indeed "That's Life" ends "side" one. Things get deeper on this great and longer track, as guitarist Albrighton, cranking out funky, infectious riffs, reflects upon life in the vocals, while stalwart bassman Mo Moore provides a masterfully solid prog underpinning with his Rickenbacker (the same bass that gave Chris Squire his trademark sound on the classic Yes albums). "Side two," -- or act two, if you will -- opens with the frantic "Fidgety Queen." Albrighton really excels on the slide on this rocker, but whereas Yes's Steve Howe oftimes uses slide when things slow down and get "prettier" (as on "To be Over"), Albrighton uses his "tubular" finger to fly! The following track, "Oh Willy" is another up-tempo number where the rhythm section of Moore and drummer Ron Howden more than earn their keep, while in a quieter middle-part, Albrighton lays down some very tasty and dreamy licks, only to have the crisp drums and bass urge him to run with them once more. We then take a hushed and melancholy look at one of the younger members of the circus troupe, a "Little Boy," before Albrighton, ably assisted by "Taff" Freeman (keys) and the rest of the band, enters again with his slide to get powerful closer "Show Me the Way" off to a rousing start. Albrighton, always good, but never particularly outstanding or distinguished as a singer, really manages to inject some passion into his vocals here! Just when you think the show has ended, however, the band fades back up for a short "Finale" repeat of the "Nelly" theme, thereby neatly bookending the proceedings. With that, the show really is over, and some thirty-seven highly-pleasurable minutes have flown by beneath the "big top," bringing you once more "Down to Earth."

I was fortunate enough to listen to this superb and uplifting disc today (for the eleventy-first time!) while driving down the highway in a large, powerful -- and borrowed -- car with a large and powerful stereo. With Albrighton speeding along on the slide, it was hard not to do some speeding and sliding on the winter roads myself! This disc is a must for Nektar fans, and as good an intro as any for the uninitiated. Highly recommended!

Nektar - 2002 - Unidentified Flying Abstract - Live At Chipping Norton 1974

Nektar 
2002 
Unidentified Flying Abstract - Live At Chipping Norton 1974




01. Desolation Valley (9:06)
02. Oops - Unidentified Flying Abstract (6:02)
03. Mundetango (6:38)
04. One Mile Red / The Ticket (9:51)
05. We Must Have Been Smashed (6:31)
06. Summer Breeze (2:48)

- Roy T Albrighton / vocals, guitars
- Alan Freeman / keyboards
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion
- Derek Moore / bass




In the beginning of 1974 Nektar were busy finalising their latest recording effort "Down to Earth". On March 27th 1974 they entered a recording studio in a town called Chipping Norton to celebrate bass player Mo Moore's birthday. They celebrated it with a live-in-the- studio jam session. This session, which took place between 2 am and 5 am, was recorded and now released on this cd. From the six songs, five were new and only one "Desolation Valley" had been released before (on the 1972 album "A Tab in the Ocean").
The cd opens with "Desolation Valley". A great dynamic, jazzy track with subtle guitar lines. "Oops - Unidentified flying abstract" is heavier and more jammy with a great spacy organ sound and a wah-wah guitar solo. The third track, "Mundetango", sounds great with the tango time signature. Next is the bluesy "One Mile Red" which flows into rock 'n' roll with "The Ticket". This will not really appeal to fans of progressive music. "We Must Have Been Smashed" is a jazzy piece with again wah-wah guitar and nice organ. The last track is "Summer Breeze". It is a guitar instrumental which was inspired by the descending chords of Yes' "Starship Trooper".

The tracks 2, 3 and 6 had already been released on the album "Sunday Night at London Roundhouse" together with two live recordings. But it is a good thing that finally the complete session is released on cd. Both sound and playing quality is excellent. The jam- character of the music makes it a nice album to listen to. The music is not very complex or inventive (except for the first track), but it just sounds good. It can be compared to the music that was released on the album "Sounds Like This".

Nektar - 1974 - Sunday Night At London Roundhouse

Nektar 
1974 
Sunday Night At London Roundhouse




01. Desolation valley (9:50)
02. A day in the life of a preacher featuring the birth of oh Willie (11:30)
03. Oop's (unindentified flying abstract) (6:37)
04. Mundetango (6:25)
05. Summer breeze (2:40)


A-side recorded live at London Roundhouse sunday night November 25th 1973 by the Pye Mobile.
B-side recorded live at Chipping Norton Studio 27th March 1974 from a jam between the hours of 2.00 and 5.00 a.m..
Remixed at Chipping Norton Studio 31st March 1974.


CD Reissue

101. Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight 12:08
102. Desolation Valley / Waves 09:00
103. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher (Including The Birth Of Oh Willie) 19:48
104. Summer Breeze 03:01
105. Cast Your Fate 05:38

201. Remember The Future Part I 19:11
202. Odyssey (Ron's On) 11:12
203. 1-2-3-4 14:46
204. Remember The Future Part II (Let It Grow) 05:13
205. What Ya Gonna Do? 06:08

Recorded live at London Roundhouse sunday night November 25th 1973 by the Pye Mobile.

- Roy Albrighton / lead vocals, guitars
- Mick Brockett / lights
- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass




The vinyl version was always a bit misleadingly named, since only the first two tracks (side 1) were from the 1973 Roundhouse show as billed. The remaining three tracks were recorded at a rehearsal session at Chipping Norton studios in spring of '74. To further confuse things, Bellaphon Records has issued the full Chipping Norton session on a 2002 release called Unidentified Flying Abstract. So the longtime Nektar collektar risks some unwanted duplication I'm afraid.

The more recent & expanded CD release of the Roundhouse show is clearly the one to get. The 1973 show is now presented in full, the studio tracks having rightly been removed (they now appear on the Flying Abstract album mentioned above.)

What's a bit sad is that the vinyl album is rather a nice package, but there's really no point in finding it now that its content has been shown to be redundant and inaccurate. I sold mine once I got the live and studio CDs.



Releasing a live LP with side A containing one and a half song from a recorded concert and side B containing three cuts from a jam that lasted several hours was not a very sensible thing to do in 1974. The LP was titled Sunday Night At London Roundhouse, and its release looked somewhat overdone between the steady flow of album releases the band had anyway in those days (ten sides of vinyl in three years). I never though it was a very good album; it was too short. Too short for a live album, and too short to show anything that the band could do when jamming.

Nektar recorded their last date on the English 1973 tour (in support of their early 1973 album ...Sounds Like This, although the masterpiece that was following it, Remember The Future, was released two days before this concert took place) on November 25th, because the record company wanted a live album. Good idea, why not, although the band were more into their next studio album, of course.

Early the following year, while recording the following studio album Down To Earth, the bass player's birthday was a reason to go jamming for a few hours having the tape recorded running - it was March 27th, 1974. A good reason! Besides the opener Desolation Valley, many of the music that followed was pure improvisation or at least unreleased material. And sometimes very unlike their usual sound.

With recordings like that I could never imagine how a record company could take only two songs from the live concert for one side of a live album (Desolation Valley and A Day In The Life Of A Preacher including the birth of Oh Willie, the latter was even cut in half for the release) and making a very short B side with Oops - Unidentified Flying Abstract, Mundetango, and Summer Breeze from the jam session. I once wrote that the only reasonable thing the record company could do is release a double CD of the full concert and if necessary a multi CD set of the jam.

Well, what do you know? They did almost exactly that! First, there is a double CD featuring the complete concert in wonderful stereo quality. Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight is good, great to hear Cast Your Fate and especially Odyssey of which I knew only one other live version. Remember The Future and 1-2-3-4 are wonderful. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher is at last complete, and a special version indeed as it has the origins of what would become Oh Willie on the following studio album Down To Earth. It shows how the band could jam while in concert, it shows how tight the unit of these musicians was, and it shows the diversity in their musical ideas. With the following jam, titled Summer Breeze, the sound is going from dreamy to heavy agressive. I have always loved this contrast in the band's sound.

The album also shows that after ...Sounds Like This and Remember The Future, the band was letting in the guitar more and more, a little away from the somewhat psychedelic sounds of the first album and the title track of A Tab In The Ocean, though still being progressive. Well, with Down To Earth coming on, this is hardly a surprise. Playing A Tab In The Ocean live in 1976, it was like the band was saying they never stopped liking their earlier sound, but they were just exploring further. (It is beyond the scope of this review to go into the sound of the album after that, Recycled, but on there, the keyboards regained importance.)

Being more of a progressive rock fan than a rock and roll fan, the rock and roll medley show closer is less interesting, but what's 6 minutes on a 100 minute show, eh? But also being a fan of early blues and hard rock, songs like 1-2-3-4 and Odyssey are just marvellous! The emotion that is feeding the musicians results in such performances that is best heard live. With the band having reformed, I am very much looking forward to seeing them on stage!

The other side of the original Sunday Night LP received the same "and now a proper CD release" treatment, resulting in a 41 minute disc. Significantly more than the 15 minutes on the LP. I guess these are the parts from the jam that were worth a commercial release. I am still curious to what the rest of the tapes hold secret, but I am more than satisfied with what is offered here.

It is starting with a song we all know, but you can hear and feel the band is more relaxed than in front of an audience. You can hear it on other recordings as well, but not as clear as here, how subtle a guitar player Roye Albrighton is.

The other tracks are all otherwise unreleased. One Mile Red and Summer Breeze were played in concert several times, though. The first definitely bears the Nektar signature on it. But the remaining tracks all have something surprising, making this release a very special one. Being in a relaxed environment obviously lets the musicians play looser tracks, almost jazzy as in We Must Have Been Smashed or Oops, although the latter was not that laid back.

These CDs are a real treat for Nektar fans! Fans will have it already, it's not for them I write this. If you like Nektar and would like to hear how they sound live, get this Sunday Night album right away! Unidentified Flying Abstract is amazing for fans, but there are other albums to hear first if you want to get to know the band.

Nektar - 1973 - Remember The Future

Nektar 
1973
Remember The Future




101. Remember The Future, Pt. 1 16:41
a) Images Of The Past
b) Wheel Of Time
c) Remember The Future
d) Confusion
102. Remember The Future, Pt. 2 19:00
a) Returning Light
b) Questions And Answers
c) Tomorrow Never Comes
d) Path Of Light
e) Recognition
f) Let It Grow


Radio Edits
201. Remember The Future 09:54
202. Let It Grow 03:52
203. Lonely Roads 02:18
The 1970 Boston Tapes
204. New Day Dawning 05:36
205. Do You Believe In Magic 03:40
206. Candlelight 04:00
207. Good Day 08:51
208. The Life I've Been Leading 04:34
209. Where Did You Go 05:27
210. Sealed With A Kiss 03:36
211. Our Love Will Last Forever 04:53

- Roye Albrighton / lead vocals, guitars
- Allan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion, vocals




Remember The Future is another superior concept piece from Nektar exhibiting yet further progression from their roots. Gone are the heavy and psychedelic Germanic riffs, intricate musicianship and complex Symphonic Prog structures, to be replaced by a more song based mainstream 'Americanized' sound. Backed by appropriately detailed and airy production values, this album is altogether lighter in feel and tone, its songs supported by foot-tapping funky or disco grooves.
In essence, Remember The Future is a single continuous 'song cycle', divided into two parts due to the needs of vinyl LPs. The suite comprises seven distinct conjoined songs, plus a couple of short instrumental links. These songs are self-contained musical compositions which flow together in a more or less natural manner, maintaining stylistic consistency while progressing the album's concept, rather like The Moody Blues achieved with their early concept works.

The sound can best be described as 'commercial' and smooth! Organ and bass smoothly support Albrighton's melodic guitar, which in turn provides suitable counter to his vocal. Indeed, this is a very 'vocal' album: songs are structured concisely, centred on his sweet vocals, often with lush harmonies playing an important role in the overall mix. Clearly, the progginess factor is somewhat diluted compared to its predecessors.

Musicianship is of a very high standard, as we might expect, but mostly understated and kept very sparse and simple without recourse to complex overdubs: a fundamental Prog Rock palette of guitar/organ/bass/drums is used almost exclusively throughout. Guitar is the principal instrument, not loud and heavy, but light and floating, mostly as a rhythm support, but occasionally performing a heavier riff, or even a lead solo. The other instruments simply fall into line - even the organ rarely rises to the surface, though when it does it makes a strong impression.

The story is about the nature of life and existence as told by a kind of re-incarnating misfit ('Bluebird') to someone to whom his abnormalities have no meaning - a blind boy. Bluebird appears to be a Christ-like figure who has to be crucified before being reborn in the boy. The boy absorbs stories of the past and future, the meaning of life, before becoming the future with the promise of eternal life. The story ends with Bluebird imparting some sound and thought-provoking advice.

For me, there are two stand-out songs. Title song Remember The Future is, at heart, a soft poppy number, but it is accompanied by the best instrumental parts of the album, including a repeated 'Remember The Future Theme' which is both melodic and heavy. At the end, turn up the volume for a stunning sudden flip-over to a short but evolving riff-tastic work-out. This fades to be replaced by a psychedelic instrumental piece alive with extended wah-wah guitar thrashing over rolling bass figures. Bliss!

The other stand-out is Lonely Roads [or Path Of Light] from the second section, which replaces the predominantly pop and funk material with a blues based song straight out of a Pink Floyd songbook. Slow and sedate, with some glorious bluesy guitar fills and organ figures to the fore, it establishes a mellow mood and a stately pace, Albrighton's emotional vocals exuding the melancholy in the lyrics. It even comes complete with an exquisite Gilmour-like guitar solo as a coda.

Nektar cannot be accused of standing still, as no two albums are alike. While this is clearly A Good Thing as it means they [and we] did not get stale, it also means they stray into territory some of us may wish they had left unexplored. Personally, I find Remember The Future's simplicity and poppiness wander uncomfortably close to the line of unacceptability, taking me to places I would not normally care to travel, successfully challenging my perception of my own musical preferences. That, too, has to be A Good Thing!

Dream Nebula's 2004 re-mastered edition is, as always, excellently presented with some in-depth liner notes to add to the lyric sheet. They also include three bonus tracks, all of which are edits of material from this album but add little to its value. For an album recorded during just a single week in August 1973, Remember The Future is a stimulating work of well crafted memorable songs performed superbly by a set of gifted musicians. While falling short of being a Prog classic, it is nevertheless highly recommended.

Nektar - 1973 - ...Sounds Like This

Nektar 
1973
...Sounds Like This





101. Good Day 06:45
102. New Day Dawning 05:03
103. What Ya Gonna Do? 05:25
104. 1-2-3-4 12:43
105. Do You Believe In Magic? 07:16
106. Cast Your Fate 05:25
107. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher 12:58
a) Preacher
b) Squeeze
c) Mr. H
108. Wings 03:47
109. Odyssee 14:25
a) Ron's On
b) Never, Never, Never
c) Da-Da-Dum

Recorded Live November 13, 1971
At Bassunger Turnhalle In Darmstadt, Germany

201. Good Day 07:59
202. Odyssee (Da-Da-Dum) 06:51
203. 1-2-3-4 13:34
204. Do You Believe In Magic? 04:55
205. Odyssee (Ron's On) 10:42
206. New Day Dawning 07:30

- Roye Albrighton / lead vocals, guitars
- Allan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion, vocals




 "Dieter remixed side four before breakfast ..... "
..... so say the excellent liner notes for the Dream Nebula remastered edition of Sounds Like This which clearly demonstrates how different it all was 30 years ago. Whilst recording the classic A Tab In The Ocean the boys in the band had the notion of tidying up a lot of unrecorded loose ends from their past. Two studio sessions were subsequently undertaken with the bulk of the material originally released in 1973 coming from the later session in February 1973. Unusually, the decision was taken to record live-in-the-studio with no overdubs, resulting in a very raw take-it-or-leave-it production.

Those expecting Nektar's regular brand of muscular Symphonic Prog might get a severe shock, as this album is unremittingly pure heavy rock: high quality, inventive and exciting, but stripped of Prog fancies. Indeed, Albrighton has here become an axe god and the band have morphed into Uriah Heep, giving a flavour of their concert sound - loud, proud and very energetic, the sound of a tight outfit who know and understand each other well and are prepared to stretch themselves on long improvisational jams. The guys had fun with this album, their performances exuberant yet assured, creating what must have been an electric atmosphere in that Cologne studio judging by the noises-off.

Material ranges from classy tuneful rock ballads, a couple of more typically AOR style mid-tempo rockers and surprisingly some southern boogie. The rest is hard rocking all the way - oh, and aided by a spot of Norwegian Wood! One of these, the 12½ minute 1-2-3-4, becomes my favourite track once the unfortunate song part is dispensed with: the energy levels get almost too hard to bear as they crank it up higher and ever higher. Darker and slower, A Day In The Life Of A Preacher is another cracker, probably the nearest they come on this album to anything progressive.

The first CD of Dream Nebula's latest 2CD set contains the entire original album as released in 1973, expertly remastered as always and excellently packaged. The second disc contains previously unreleased material left over from the original recording sessions from October 1972. Generally, this earlier material is inferior, justifying the band's decision to re-record it. Only some tracks are duplicated while others were redeveloped.

At judgement time, you need to be a fan of heavy rock to get the most out of this. I always felt it was too long and overpowering to be heard in one go, even more so now with 2½ hours on the latest issue! In Prog terms, this really is only for fans of the band, but it gains a point for sheer quality.

Nektar - 1972 - A Tab In The Ocean

Nektar
1972 
A Tab In The Ocean




The Original 1972 Mix 
101. A Tab In The Ocean 16:52
102. Desolation Valley / Waves 08:12
103. Crying In The Dark 06:28
104. King Of Twilight 04:22
The 1976 U.S. Mix
105. A Tab In The Ocean 16:03
106. Desolation Valley / Waves 08:33
107. Crying In The Dark 05:13
108. King Of Twilight 04:05

Official Bootleg
201. A Tab In The Ocean 17:45
202. Porcelain Valley (Later Called 'Desolation Valley') 11:33
203. Crying In The Dark 09:16
204. Desolation Valley / Waves 08:24


- Roye Albrighton / guitars, lead vocals
- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, Mellotron, backing vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, backing vocals
- Ron Howden / drums, percussion, backing vocals




The band's progression from Journey to Tab was so remarkable. It should be noted that Tab was released the same year as (among others) Foxtrot, Three Friends, Obscured by Clouds, and Thick as a Brick. In that regard, although it is perhaps not as "great" as any of those, it is nevertheless extremely creative, as well as providing numerous presages to what Nektar would eventually do in creating their three "masterpieces": Remember the Future, Down to Earth, and Recycled. / The somewhat nebulous concept running through the three extended suites on the album is the idea of putting a huge "tab" of LSD in the ocean. In this regard, the album was almost certainly meant to be heard under the influence of hallucinogenics, which definitely intensified the musical experience. However, even without it, the album's arrangements are deceptively simple, with lots of playing around with chromatics and the circle of fifths. / The extended title suite opens with some simple but effective ocean wave and electronic effects, moves into a nice organ figure, and then bursts into a highly theatrical "opening theme," almost like the prelude to a musical. (Stating a "theme" at the beginning of a song would later become a "signature" for the band.) After the extended introduction, there is a section ("Falling"), which is the first time we get a presage of some of the band's later work. Following this is an instrumental section featuring a repeated keyboard pattern (something that would become another "signature" of the band). We then get a beautiful example of Roye Albrighton's distinctive (and, yes, signature) arpeggiated guitar style. The piece ends with a nice recapitulation of the main theme via an organ-based outro. The second "suite" - Desolation Valley/Waves - opens with a very Pink Floyd-ish theme (I believe it may be taken almost directly from something on Atom Heart Mother, which came out the year prior), moving into a nice jazz-tinged section, including some really nice guitar and bass work. This segues into a much harder, "rock"-ier section, and back to the main theme. After another round of this, the piece moves into a quiet jam, with more arpeggiated playing that presages future Nektar works. The suite ends with a nice, peaceful jam. (The quiet jams in the song are strangely reminiscent of The Doors.) The final suite - Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight - opens with a neat wah- wah guitar figure, moving into a seriously "rock and roll" section that presages something (I'm not sure what) on Down to Earth. Then there is a wonderful jam, with the organ, guitar and bass really playing out, as well as one of Albrighton's best solos at 5:20-6:15. As "Crying" segues into "King," we get a solid rhythmic guitar figure (there is very solid rhythm/chordal guitar work throughout the album), and some very Moody Blues-ish vocal harmonies. The song cycles through three of these, plus a short, but particularly good break, and ends abruptly on the - appropriate - final word of the album - "Free." / Although there is some (possibly much) on this album that some might consider more "straightforward" rock than prog, there is no question that Nektar was using new-found prog sensibilities in a deliberate, conscious manner. And they would succeed in "pulling it all together" - spectacularly - with their next album, Remember the Future. In the meantime, A Tab in the Ocean deserves a place in your collection, both as a wonderful example of the band's progression, and as a highly creative, and arguably important, release at a fairly early juncture in prog.