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Specimen 37

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Specimen 37 The Endless Looping Game album cover
3.91 | 12 ratings | 4 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Awake With a Shock (2:06)
2. What Is Life? (6:05)
3. Monday (7:05)
4. Blow Things Up! (5:44)
5. Logging On (9:00)
6. DownCast (4:55)
7. Thursday Morning Jogger (8:11)
8. Helix (4.02)
9. Twilight (6:43)
10. The Endless Looping Game (6:50)
11. Randy and the Gogzies (7:37)

Total Time 78:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Empathy/ vocals, guitars, synths samples
- gEE-rOj/ vocals, synths, samples
- MojoNine/ drums (acoustic and electronic)
- Ponder/ vocals, synths
- Sketch Element - bass

Bass on track 1 by Yrgol
Guest vocals on track 3 by Kookina
Acoustic Piano on track 3 by Muse
Lyrics for tracks 5 and 11 written by The Ferg
Original song structure for track 9 by Boone

Releases information

Chronic Pink Productions

Thanks to Empathy for the addition
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The Endless Looping GameThe Endless Looping Game
Chronic Pink Productions 2004

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SPECIMEN 37 The Endless Looping Game ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SPECIMEN 37 The Endless Looping Game reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I very nearly stopped listening to this CD after the first 2 tracks as they're a bit too electronic for my tastes but then the third song "Monday" came on. Wow, what a difference! a fantastic track with notable female guest vocals and the best number on the CD, certainly the most melodic. This song had me hooked after the first listen and I've been playing it ever since.

Although the band are classified under psychedelic/space rock, the music here shows a wide range of influences from electronic to progressive metal with a bit of the afore-mentioned psychedelic space rock in between. Some of the music is reminiscent of Magellan. Heavy guitars and drums give the music an edge over the top of the electronics and voices and the musicianship is as excellent as the production. The tasteful guitar playing is a major feature of this CD. The only downside of it is that perhaps the variety of styles may mean that, like me, you love some of the songs and don't like others.

The album itself is meant to depict "seven days in the life of the nameless 'specimen', one man locked in an existential struggle to find meaning in everyday mundane acts."

Amongst the other tracks,"Thursday Morning Jogger" starts off with a nice slow bass line and features some nice jazzy guitar over swirling electronics and voices, "Twilight" is another slower number with some more excellent guitar work and "Logging on" speeds things up (literally) and has more Gilmour style tasteful guitar before the vocals come in. "Randy and the Gogzies" features a dreamy guitar refrain played underneath bizarre spoken lyrics about Super Morphing Tractors and remote control diskette scanning machines.

A solid 3 star album, the only thing preventing the fourth star is the fact that some of the more electronic tracks are not to my personal taste, but this shouldn't prevent anyone else from checking this out.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A fine specimen

"The endless looping game" is SPECIMEN 37's second album, released some four years after "Adverse reaction".

In true prog concept album style, the tracks segue to form a whole. There is indeed a concept based on a man's (i.e. the specimen) attempts to put a meaning to his life, seen through the period of a week. A more cynical version of Mike Rutherford's "Smallcreep's day" perhaps? The lyrics can be difficult to decipher, but are helpfully repeated on the band's website.

It is hard to pigeon hole the band in terms of a sub-genre, such is the diversity of their music. They have described their music as "Psychetronic Rock" (psychedelic electronic rock), but even this seems inadequate.

At times this album could be a continuation of PORCUPINE TREE's "Voyage 34", yet there are also sections which are almost mainstream pop. The highly melodic male/female (guest singer Kookina ) vocal interchanges of "Monday" for example has echoes of THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH, while also incorporating some retro sounds and fine guitar work by Empathy (yes that is his name! What's more he is an active participant in this website).

There are certainly (prog) metallic elements, such as the heavy riff of "Blow things up!" which becomes increasingly chaotic as it progresses, Early PINK FLOYD meets DREAM THEATER perhaps?

For me, the standout tracks are the longer, more intricate ones, although it is all relative, and there is nothing here which might be described as "simple". The nine minute "Logging on" starts with a repeating piano rhythm which is quickly overtaken by a superbly developed guitar section that gains volume and pace until it gives way to the vocals. The track ends with a softer, more ambient guitar. "Thursday morning jogger" also moves from a heavier start to an lengthy ambient guitar play-out. Here, the PORCUPINE TREE similarities, especially from their "Sky moved sideways" era, come to the fore once again. The striking title track burst forth with some highly melodic vocals, a bit like a laid back HAWKWIND, or something from TIMOTHY PURE's excellent "Island of Misfit toys". Once again, this time after about three minutes, the track changes course completely, with a distorted rap section(!) which sounds like a psychedelic version of AEROSMITH's "Walk this way".

Some of the tracks, or sections of the whole as they should more rightly be described, are less impressive. "Helix" pastes together some heavy vocals and sounds with some avant-garde effects, but for me the results are disappointing. The closing " Randy and the Gogzies" does for this album what "The hare who lost his spectacles" did for "A passion play". Actually, that's a bit unfair, as the instrumental melody is pleasant, it is just the spoken narrative which is superfluous.

In all, this is an impressive album by some highly competent musicians. While there are clearly many diverse influences, the music is original and creative. Highly recommended.

Review by Bob Greece
4 stars This is progressive rock - it changes throughout. It's a bit psychedelic, a bit neo prog, a bit prog metal maybe with just a touch of RIO! It is a concept album about the repetitive nature of daily life. The Endless Looping Game is a great title for an album. Don't most of our lives seem an endless looping game? Why are we wasting our lives away sitting in offices? Time is passing us by. We should spend more time on important things, such as the music.

"Awake With a Shock" is 2 minute electronic instrumental. It's a mellow laid-back start to the album.

"What is Life?" starts with pounding heavy guitars and spoken chorus. This is interspersed with smoother verses. The second half of song is spacey keyboards and sound effects. The song ends with angelic sounds that sound like some kind of revelation with a weather forecast imposed over the top of the music just to highlight how mundane everyday life is.

"Monday" starts with a vocalist that sounds bit like Madonna! It is a pleasant-sounding song with a nice tune. The male vocals that follow remind me of the vocals of neo-prog band Jadis. The lyrics are about the money-oriented nature of today's society. The song finishes off with a guitar solo in the mold of Dave Gilmour.

"Blow Things Up!" is a song about a Tuesday and what a Tuesday was selected for this song - Tuesday September 11th. It's an angry song with heavy guitars, angry spoken vocals and police sirens. It finishes with a heavy guitar solo in a similar vein to O.S.I.

"Logging On" starts with a repetitive bass line and is instrumental up to 3 minute mark. It's a song about Wednesdays - "2 more days until we live again".

"Downcast" is exactly what it says. It starts slow and sad and but gets slightly heavier later.

"Thursday Morning Jogger" is an 8-minute laid-back psychedelic instrumental that has a little rest in the middle, just like a jogger!

"Helix" is my favourite track on the album. It's fast and has a much happier feel than the rest of the songs. This must be the Friday song although the word "Friday" is not mentioned specifically in the lyrics!

"Twilight" is another instrumental but in a different vein. This first half is a Dave-Gilmour- style guitar-led piece with spacey keyboards. The second half loses focus somewhat with its spacey keyboard sounds and lack of rhythm.

"The Endless Looping Game" has lyrics that say that it is not just our daily week that is an endless loop but the whole of history. It starts off mid-tempo but about halfway through gets heavier.

"Randy and the Gogzies" starts off as a children's lullaby that turns into laid-back psychedelic music. It has lyrics about the adventures of Randy and his Super Morphing Tractor in Beirut and Berlin. It finishes with the lyrics "Each one thought the other cursed with some perverted sin. God's balancing act saw to it that neither one would ever win", which must be an observation of the never-ending state of war in the world. The song (and album) finishes with spacey noises. This seems to be a disappointing end until you realise that the end loops back onto the beginning and the album itself is an endless loop. How very post-modern!

I can feel the influence of Pink Floyd in a lot of songs, which have a philosophical, mid- tempo and melancholy feeling to them. All in all though, this album packs in a bit of everything and it's certainly progressive. The concept of the album and the lyrics will strike a chord with most of us. If you think that modern music isn't progressive anymore or you want something a bit different, give this album a try.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The second album from Boston band Specimen 37 is a concept which "chronicles seven days in the life of the nameless "specimen," one man locked in an existential struggle to find meaning in everyday mundane acts. Sitting in traffic. Eating. Dating. Working. The specimen is antagonized by the world's myopic preoccupation with fame, religious conformity, war and material wealth. The specimen's debilitating fear is that he'll never find meaning in a world that seems to turn on an axis of meaninglessness, and in this chapter of the specimen's life, it's never clear whether or not he finds hope." As it started with layered keyboards and some weird sounds and clips I was starting to wonder what on earth I was listening to. It wasn't Tangerine Dream or Pink Floyd, but there are definite similarities.

But as the album progressed (good use of words here), I realised that this was an extremely complex world where rock and weird synths could sit happily side by side. This is prog music, but not the common or garden type and is all the better for it. Finally it came to me who this band reminded me of, the mighty Poisoned Electrick Head who took their love of all things unusual and blended it with space rock to create something new, and although Specimen 37 are in many ways very different they are also similar in others.

The more I played this the more I liked it. The more I liked it the more I became convinced that Empathy, Gee-Roj, Mojonine, Ponder, Sketch Element and their guests have created a mighty album that should appreciate to fans of good music, whatever the genre.

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