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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

3.75 | 335 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars Achtung! NEKTAR are NOT German, despite the band being formed in Munich at the tail end of the 1960's, and despite them being based in Germany for much of their career. No, this band are as British as tea and crumpets and a game of croquet on an English summer lawn. Nektar have had a long and illustrious career, with many changes of line-up along the way, and it all began with this spacey album, the intriguingly-titled " Journey to the Centre of the Eye" (1971). The band are still going strong 13 albums and nearly 50 years later with their latest album "The Other Side" due for release in 2020. This album consists of 13 tracks, although it's really just one long spacey suite of music as there are no noticeable breaks between the songs. Let's travel back in time now to the halcyon days of 1971 and take a "Journey to the Centre of the Eye."

The album opens appropriately enough with "Prelude". This brief 1-minute prelude features spooky, swirling sound effects and mysterious noises to put you in the mood for some classic Space Rock. We're in Hawkwind territory here, so hold on tight and prepare for an ""Astronaut's Nightmare". Strangely, the opening to this song reminds one of a Beatles' number, but that first impression doesn't last for long. This is pretty impressive stuff with the keyboard player going hell for leather on the Hammond organ and with the singer sounding like he's on some far-out psychedelic acid trip. The guitarist is no slouch either as he fires off some stunning guitar leads, not to mention the drummer, who's pounding away on his kit in true Space Rock tradition. It's freaky, it's spacey, it's mysterious, but most important of all, this is great music. Prepare to be amazed! If you can't "Countenance" that, then how about this, because this is Track 3: "Countenance". The pace is now slowed down somewhat with some very pleasant and laid back organ playing. Don't be fooled though, because that was just the opening and there's a wild psychedelic guitarist on the loose and he's here to show you what he's made of with some good solid riffing. The song ascends triumphantly into a tremendously uplifting crescendo of sound to take you into Space Rock heaven. We now arrive at "The Nine Lifeless Daughters of the Sun" which is presumably about the nine planets of the solar system, although there's nothing lifeless about the Earth, or indeed this instrumental rip-roaring organ-driven number. Onwards now at Warp Factor 5 to Track No. 5 "Warp Oversight". There are lots of spacey plinky-plonky noises to be heard in this eerie number with a Hawkwind-style spacey rhythm phasing in and out of the mix. It's all very atmospheric and mysterious, but no less than you'd expect from a classic Space Rock album. We're now almost halfway through our journey as "The Dream Nebula I" closes out Side One. Just lie back and enjoy because this is beautiful music, and there's more to come too as "The Dream Nebula II" continues on the opening of Side Two of the album. "It's All in the Mind" is up next, although it's not all in the mind that this is a great song and a superb album overall. And now onto "Burn Out My Eyes", the longest track on the album, running at nearly 8 minutes long. Again, this is another song that's designed to carry you into orbit on a rocket- propelled blast of Hammond organ, wild guitar riffs and a powerful singer soaring on a wave of emotion. Onwards now to "Void of Vision", a manic free-for-all as the Hammond organist takes off on a flight of fancy, throwing caution to the wind. Track 11 "Pupil of the Eye" gallops along at impressive speed, firing on all cylinders with a pounding rhythm and the vocalist giving it his all and more besides, in the style of David Byron of Uriah Heep. "Look Inside Yourself" now for the penultimate song on the album with our fantastic journey nearly at an end. It's a short 1-minute barnstormer of a song which takes us into "Death of the Mind" to close out the album. The grand finale to the album is a bombastic and grandiose song full of triumphal pomp and ceremony to conclude this superb album in fine style. The journey ends, but this was just the beginning for Nektar!

This marvellous album of classic Space Rock has really stood the test of time and it's sure to delight fans of Hawkwind. The album sounds as fresh today nearly 50 years on, as it did at the time of its release when Space Rock was just taking off, way back in 1971. "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" deserves a treasured place in any Prog-Rock/Space Rock music lover's collection. With a debut album as impressive as this, Nektar's later albums have got to be well-worth a listen too.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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