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Pulsar - The Strands Of The Future CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 135 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars European Prog acts in the 1970s could usually be pigeonholed as copycat analogues of their better-known British role models: the Italian GENESIS, the German ELP, and so forth. But the French band Pulsar was harder to pin down, existing somewhere between the symphonic grandeur of early KING CRIMSON and the ominous Space Rock of pre-"Dark Side" PINK FLOYD. The influences are clearly audible, but Pulsar was by no means another Continental imitation.

This 1976 album, only their second studio effort, saw the group nearing its creative zenith. The 22-minute title track in particular (filling all of Side One on the original vinyl) was a small miracle of mood and texture, balancing delicate acoustic flute and Mellotron interludes with dynamic passages of atmospheric jamming.

There's more than a hint of PINK FLOYD in the slow, spacey prologue, with Gilbert Gandil's opening guitar motif distinctly recalling Dave Gilmour's famous four-note signature to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", released the previous year. But after that the band forthrightly claims its own musical territory, creating a dystopian nightmare fantasy (judging from the eerie gatefold cover art) totally at odds with the typically blissful optimism of YES or the pastoral English whimsy of early GENESIS: perhaps one reason why this album was able to maintain its power long after Prog fell so far out of public favor.

The second half (or Side Two: a pair of likeminded mini-epics in the 10-minute range) isn't quite as successful, and the overall production lacks the crystalline sheen of their subsequent masterpiece, 1977's "Halloween". But the title track alone was strong enough (and long enough) to secure the album's status as a classic, and today it remains a prime slice of Golden Age Progressive Rock, from a band that in only two albums won an uncontested spot at the top of the Euro-Prog pyramid.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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