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Nektar - Journey To The Centre Of The Eye CD (album) cover

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EYE

Nektar

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.71 | 231 ratings

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maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
2 stars I love Nektar. I consider their central "trilogy" (Remember the Future, Down to Earth, Recycled) absolutely required prog listening, and possibly even near-masterpieces. However, their debut album, Journey to the Center of the Eye - despite all the accolades by others - is a case of the emperor having no clothes. (OK, maybe underwear and socks...) Because although there is certainly creativity going on, an interesting concept, and a valiant attempt to create a true "concept album" around that concept, the album is ultimately "naive" and, sadly, simply not very interesting. The music is not very original (influences include Floyd, Moody Blues, Crimson and, oddly, The Who), and the studio tricks and effects used are, by 1971, actually rather passe. Indeed, if we consider that by the time this album came out we already had both of The Moody Blues' seminal works (A Question of Balance, On the Threshold of a Dream), every PF album through Atom Heart Mother, In the Court of the Crimson King, Trespass, and even the debut albums of Gentle Giant and ELP, this album truly begins to sound immature. / Opening with a short sound effects intro, the album gives us "Astronaut's Nightmare," which is basically a riff on the Am-G-F-E progression already done much better by The Beatles (While My Guitar Gently Weeps) and even Chicago (25 or 6 to 4). Yet in "Countenance," the band sees fit to use the progression yet again (!), this time with only minor modification. "The Nine Lifeless Daughters of the Sun" is laden with sound effects all previously better used by Floyd, Crimson, Moody Blues, et al. "Warp Oversight" is the first interesting track, and leads into the two- part "Dream Nebula," which is where the album finally shows some degree of originality. Although it opens very much like the verse to "Epitaph" (with very "Lake"- like vocals, and a build-up to a mellotron and flute section), it has a good guitar theme, and a more well-realized arrangement. "It's All in the Mind" has many hints of what Nektar would eventually become, especially in the repeated keyboard figure and jam from 4:00 on. "Burn Out My Eyes," "Void of Vision" and "Pupil of the Eye" are reasonably interesting. "Look Inside Yourself" and the first minute or two of "Death of the Mind" have a quasi-operatic quality that reminded me of The Who's Tommy (which was released the previous year). Then the band returns to end with the Am-G-F-E progression - this time unabashedly evoking The Beatles' by singing the words "my eyes gently weeping" over that progression. / Given how much had come before it, how derivative it is overall, and its failure to successfully execute its intended concept, I must sadly relegate this to "collectors/fans only" status. On a happier note, the band progressed (...) rather wonderfully by its second album.
maani | 2/5 |

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