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Nektar - Recycled CD (album) cover

RECYCLED

Nektar

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 230 ratings

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Peter
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 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!

Peter | 5/5 |

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