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SPECTRUM

Crossover Prog • Australia


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Spectrum biography
The Melbourne-based SPECTRUM was a highly regarded Australian progressive psych rock band that came together in 1969 around its central figure, expatriate New Zealand guitarist/singer/songwriter, Mike Rudd.

Rudd came to Australia in 1966 with the New Zealand group, CHANTS R&B, then moved through two other bands - PARTY MACHINE and SONS OF THE VEGETAL MOTHER - before assembling SPECTRUM with bassist Bill Putt (ex GALLERY and THE LOST SOULS), organist Les Neale (ex NINETEEN 87) and Putt's former GALLERY band mate, Mark Kennedy on drums.

In its formative year SPECTRUM played covers of work by its contemporaries, such established psychedelic / progressive artists like PINK FLOYD, SOFT MACHINE and TRAFFIC before developing a style of its own. The SPECTRUM sound was formed around Neale's skilled Hammond organ playing - mostly without the use of a Leslie speaker cabinet - and Rudd's extraordinary finger-picking guitar style (a style he reportedly used to avoid being compared to the more accomplished guitarists of the time), his often humorous and offbeat song titles and lyrics, plus his unusual and distinctive voice. Add to these two the very skilled and reliable rhythm section of Putt and Kennedy and the SPECTRUM equation is complete.

As regulars at many of Melbourne's concert venues SPECTRUM honed its sound and developed a swag of original material. This material would eventually find its way onto the first SPECTRUM album, "Spectrum Part One". SPECTRUM's polished stage show used a lot of equipment, a huge PA system and had a full light show. The hefty equipment costs meant that a lot of concerts were needed to create some kind of effective income, and bookings were not always easy to come by as some promoters thought SPECTRUM's sound 'too progressive'. As SPECTRUM is struggling to make ends meet via the concert circuit, a significant change comes about in Australian law when a number of states amend the Age Of Majority from 21 to 18. This lowering of the legal age for alcohol consumption gave birth to the pub rock scene, forever changing the Australian live music circuit; pubs had cheap beer to offer to a sharply increased cliental base, and could hire bands to play live music in the rowdy pub atmosphere that leant itself to the rock 'n' roll sound. This new phenomenon was to the detriment of the larger concert events held in unlicensed venues. SPECTRUM (and other "head" groups) needed the larger concerts and an audience prepared to sit and...
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Buy SPECTRUM Music


Forever AlienForever Alien
Reprise / Ada 1997
Audio CD$8.99
$2.01 (used)
Soul KissSoul Kiss
Limited Edition
Vinilisssimo 2012
Vinyl$30.63
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
WINGMAN LP 1984 JAPAN OBI ANIME WIND CONNECTION YUMESENSHI KEIICHI OKU SPECTRUM USD $39.99 Buy It Now 40m 23s
SPECTRUM - MURTCEPS - GHOSTS: POST-TERMINAL REFLECTION (RAVEN) USD $19.52 Buy It Now 1h 21m
Ace Spectrum "Don't Send Nobody Else" 70's Soul 45 Atlantic mp3 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
2h 19m
SPECTRUM_I'll Be Gone_used 45 VINYL_7"_shps frm AUS!_C2c USD $77.47 Buy It Now 2h 26m
SPECTRUM (1995) CD unmixed jungle drum & bass Dillinja Codename John USD $15.49 Buy It Now 2h 33m
1962 Discotheque! LP Design Spectrum Stereo SDLP-180 VG to VG+ Vinyl USD $8.40 Buy It Now 2h 33m
SPECTRUM drum & bass jungle CD 1995 DILLINJA GOLDIE NOOKIE REMARC LEVITICUS USD $7.74 Buy It Now 3h 23m
THE SUPREMES Baby Love The Collection NEW CLASSIC SOUL MOTOWN CD (SPECTRUM) USD $7.74 Buy It Now 3h 28m
SEVERED DIGIT..FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE..TECHDIFF/JONBOB/KNAR/PBF/ZARA/DIVTECH USD $12.39 Buy It Now 3h 47m
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE * SPECTRUM (SAY MY NAME) * UK 7 TRK PROMO * HTF! USD $54.26 Buy It Now 4h 34m
HELPS / IRELAND / SPECTRUM CONCERTS BERLIN - SHALL WE DANCE FOR PIANO / NEW CD USD $15.85 Buy It Now 4h 38m
THALIA MYERS - SPECTRUM & SPECTRUM #2: 50 CONTEMP WRKS SOLO PNO NEW CD USD $21.93 Buy It Now 4h 38m
BOB MINTZER Spectrum 1988 12 TRK CD USD $27.99 Buy It Now 4h 48m
Rare!! Ed Saindon and Spectrum - Different Strokes!! FREE SHIPPING!! USD $7.00 Buy It Now 4h 48m
Cher-Black Rose LP CD-#552-747-2-Spectrum-Made in Germany-8 Tracks-1999 USD $49.99 Buy It Now 4h 53m
Cher-United Kingdom-The Casablanca Years-Take Me Home-Outrageous-Spectrum-1998 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4h 53m
1962 I Can't Stand to Be Alone Spectrum SDLP-617 NM USD $2.00 Buy It Now 4h 57m
Thin Lizzy - Whiskey In The Jar [Spectrum] (1998) USD $1.53 [0 bids]
5h 30m
Vol. 1-Soul Spectrum Records - Soul Spectrum Records (2013, CD New) USD $14.64 Buy It Now 5h 33m
Soul Spectrum Records - Vol. 1-Soul Spectrum Records [CD New] USD $15.64 Buy It Now 6h 5m
Full Spectrum Sound Healing 0600835147521, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $50.21 Buy It Now 6h 34m
The Essential Syreeta GREATEST HITS (CD, Mar-2001, Spectrum Music (UK)) USD $6.00 Buy It Now 6h 47m
Northern Soul/Funk 45 BILLY SHA-RAE I'm Gone/Let's Do It Again on Spectrum USD $15.50 [4 bids]
7h 6m
SOUL SPECTRUM 1 / VARIOUS NEW CD USD $18.72 Buy It Now 7h 8m
Various Artists : Jazz Spectrum 2 CD (2000) USD $7.79 Buy It Now 7h 13m
Various Artists : Jazz Spectrum: Compiled By Keb Darge & Bob Jones CD (2000) USD $5.51 Buy It Now 7h 16m
Dance With Me performed by Spectrum 1995 [sealed CD] USD $2.99 Buy It Now 7h 17m
Unknown Artist SPECTRUM plays the music of Phil Collins CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 7h 25m
Spectrum Summer Jammin CD USD $4.98 Buy It Now 7h 32m
Sweet Soul Funk 45 SPECTRUM Let's Fall In Love/If You Wanna on Brown Dog VG++ USD $7.99 [0 bids]
7h 37m
Various Artists : Labelled With Love (Spectrum) CD (1998) USD $3.25 Buy It Now 8h 2m
SPECTRUM Rare 1971 Aust OZ 7" Harvest Label Single 45 "But That's Alright" USD $10.16 [0 bids]
8h 4m
TOCH / SPECTRUM CONCERTS BERLIN - ORCHESTRAL & CHAMBER WORKS NEW CD USD $15.85 Buy It Now 8h 8m
THE STANSHAWE (Bristol) BAND 'Spectrum' 1974 UK Vinyl LP EX/EX Rare SAYDISC USD $10.84 [0 bids]
8h 17m
Raw A3 poster from classic rave flyer eclipse biology shoom sunrise spectrum USD $10.84 Buy It Now 8h 17m
Raw A3 poster from classic rave flyer eclipse biology shoom sunrise spectrum USD $10.84 Buy It Now 8h 20m
DETROIT SPINNERS The Essential Collection NEW SOUL R&B CD (SPECTRUM) MOTOWN USD $7.74 Buy It Now 8h 22m
STEVIE WONDER Early Classics NEW CLASSIC SOUL R&B MOTOWN CD (SPECTRUM) USD $7.74 Buy It Now 8h 22m
Kid Ory's Jazz Spectrum New Orleans Classics George Lewis LP Vinyl Import VG+++ USD $16.00 Buy It Now 8h 40m
ACE SPECTRUM: Live And Learn / Mono 45 (dj, close to M-, sm tol) Soul USD $30.00 Buy It Now 9h 13m
JOHN PHILLIP SOUSA MARCHES PIPE ORGAN PLUS AUDIO SPECTRUM RECORD ALBUM LP USD $13.00 Buy It Now 9h 40m
GENESIS:It's A Shame-Euro. LP 0087DJ,Live Philadelphia Spectrum 27-11-83,PCV DJ USD $48.98 Buy It Now 9h 44m
Spotlight On Eddie Condon by Eddie Condon vg++/vg+ Spectrum LP Jazz USD $7.95 Buy It Now 9h 59m
GARY WAR Jared's Lot LP NEW VINYL Spectrum Spools Human Teenager Mego Synthwave USD $28.99 Buy It Now 10h
Spectrum "Let's Fall In Love/You Wanna Party" Sweet Soul/Funk 45 Brown Dog mp3 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
10h 7m
Spectrum saxOfonis Vol.2, New Music USD $14.62 Buy It Now 10h 15m
BILLY SOBHAM SPectrum P-8384 OBI LP AU1862 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
10h 17m
Top Shelf "Let Them Keep Talking" Sweet Soul 45 Spectrum mp3 USD $7.99 [1 bids]
10h 46m
SPECTRUM Schubert ROGNER Symphony #7 BERLIN RADIO SYMPHONY SR-116 NM USD $10.00 Buy It Now 10h 55m
Les De Merle - Spectrum NEW CD USD $16.08 Buy It Now 11h 5m
FRANK ZAPPA - SPECTRUM PHILLY (UK Import 2 X CD) USD $23.00 [0 bids]
11h 17m
A TRIBUTE TO STING - SPECTRUM!! NR!! USD $3.49 Buy It Now 12h 31m
The Very Best of Ernest Tubb by Ernest Tubb (CD, Oct-1997, Universal/Spectrum) USD $6.92 Buy It Now 12h 39m
Spectrum by Billy Cobham (Rhino (Label)) USD $12.54 Buy It Now 12h 39m
True Colours by Split Enz (CD, Jul-2002, Universal/Spectrum) USD $9.29 Buy It Now 12h 39m
PAUL GRIFFIN THE SWINGIN SOUND OF SOUL AUDIO SPECTRUM RECORDS SAS-606 USD $0.99 Buy It Now 12h 39m
Small Axe by Bob Marley & the Wailers (CD, Sep-2010, Spectrum Music (UK)) USD $9.53 Buy It Now 12h 39m
The Essential Collection by Shorty Long (CD, Jul-2000, Spectrum) USD $6.10 Buy It Now 12h 40m
The Best of the Velvelettes [Universal/Spectrum] by The Velvelettes (CD,... USD $6.08 Buy It Now 12h 40m
Very Best of Kathy Kirby by Kathy Kirby (CD, Dec-1996, Universal/Spectrum) USD $6.46 Buy It Now 12h 40m
Halfway to Paradise [Universal] by Billy Fury (CD, May-1993, Universal/Spectrum) USD $9.50 Buy It Now 12h 51m
Buscrates 16 Bit Ensemble "The Spectrum" VINYL LP NM Alpha Omega Records 2014 USD $23.48 [0 bids]
USD $39.13 Buy It Now
13h 18m
The Music of Genesis Performed By Spectrum CD USD $4.50 [0 bids]
13h 22m
Sweet Little Rock N Roller by Rod Stewart (CD, Oct-2002, Universal/Spectrum) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
13h 47m
Don Miguel Valencia "FURY OF THE MATADOR" Spectrum Records Album LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now 13h 57m
STEVEN HALPERN "Spectrum Suite" Record Vinyl Album LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now 13h 59m
BILLY COBHAM Spectrum DVD AUDIO USD $68.00 Buy It Now 14h 59m
Full Spectrum Voice by Thomas Buckner, Thomas Buckner USD $3.19 Buy It Now 15h 22m
Spectrum - Ghost & Other Great Hits - Robin Hood - Terminator 2 - New CD USD $1.99 Buy It Now 15h 28m
Spectrum - New Country Hits - New CD USD $1.99 Buy It Now 15h 28m
Motown Chartbusters - Vol. 10 by Various Artists (CD, polygram - spectrum) USD $4.00 [0 bids]
15h 37m
The Spectrum Between by David Grubbs (CD, Jul-2000, Drag City) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 16h 3m
Hello Dolly! Bye Bye Birdie - Broadway Musical Comedy - DLP 171 Stereo Spectrum USD $5.00 Buy It Now 16h 6m
David Grubbs - Spectrum Between (2000) - Used - Compact Disc USD $2.95 Buy It Now 16h 36m
THE COASTERS GREATEST HITS ATCO USA LABLE 33-111 FULL SPECTRUM USD $14.99 [0 bids]
17h 18m
Kitaro - Ten Kai - Wergo/Spectrum SM-1021 NM USD $16.00 Buy It Now 19h 4m
Carpenters Reflections Music Cassette Spectrum Label USD $3.91 Buy It Now 19h 6m
Full Spectrum Blues by Various Artists (CD, Jul-1996, 4 Discs, Star Sounds) USD $18.00 [0 bids]
USD $25.00 Buy It Now
19h 7m
Binder Vs Lambart - Spectrum Northbeat Z Audio #184367 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 6m
Spectrum Is Green - Spinning Marcus - Phood #77119 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 6m
Spectrum 311 - Lying Eyes - 162A - 2004 #131767 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 6m
Johnny Fiasco - Spectrum EP - Penetrate - 1996 #137815 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 36m
El Bruto - Hypnotic Spectrum - Death Becomes Me #288150 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 36m
ROBERT TURMAN Flux 2x LP NEW VINYL Spectrum Spools USD $37.99 Buy It Now 20h 51m
Audio Spectrum - Disco E.P. - Inertia - 1994 #306912 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 53m
DJ E - N13 - Spectrum Audio 11 - 2001 #67271 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 54m
Dr Kucho & Wally Lopez - The Spectrum 16K - 2001 #73113 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 54m
Spectrum (Heavy Duty Hard Mix/Trance Mix) #157315 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 20h 54m
Fusion Feat Matt Hardwick - Spectrum - Joof #77487 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 21h 21m
Spectrum Is Green - Fire In The Hole EP - UTC #67953 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 21h 21m
Spectrum - Air Red Rip EP - Alien Records - 2001 #71484 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 21h 21m
HH - Spectrum EP - Planetary Consc. - 1998 #17885 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 21h 56m
Manhattan - Spectrum EP - Capital Heaven - 2001 #70046 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 21h 56m
Labelled With Love (Spectrum) USD $7.01 Buy It Now 22h 19m
SPECTRUM: Geracao Bendita Geracao Rare Brazil Tropicalia Psych LP Pokora SS LTD USD $34.99 Buy It Now 22h 20m
Beyond The Spectrum:creamy Spy Chroni 0094631209222, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $26.21 Buy It Now 22h 30m
Spectrum Road (2012, Vinyl New) USD $20.58 Buy It Now 22h 33m
SPECTRUM - FUNKY CHRISTMAS (BOOGIE ALL THE WAY) 7" VINYL USD $10.06 Buy It Now 22h 49m
Spectre - Spectrum - NEO - 1999 #35697 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 23h 4m
Spectrum - Your Love (Drives Me Crazy) - 1995 #155411 USD $6.19 Buy It Now 23h 4m
CD geracao bendita
SPECTRUM
~ USD $13.62
LP geracao bendita
SPECTRUM
~ USD $19.83
LP the light is dark enough
SPECTRUM
~ USD $10.88


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SPECTRUM shows & tickets


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SPECTRUM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SPECTRUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 10 ratings
Spectrum Part One
1971
4.04 | 17 ratings
Milesago
1971
2.08 | 3 ratings
Warts Up Your Nose
1973
3.07 | 5 ratings
Testimonial
1973

SPECTRUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 3 ratings
Terminal Buzz
1973

SPECTRUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SPECTRUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SPECTRUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.09 | 2 ratings
Breathing Space (EP)
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
Breathing Space Too (EP)
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Breathing Space As Well
2011

SPECTRUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spectrum Part One by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.09 | 10 ratings

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Spectrum Part One
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars From way down under comes this amazing (at times) bunch. Their second album "Milesago" is a terrific piece of hammond drenched hard rock prog, spiced just a tad with psychedelia. This their first album is very much a prototype to that album. Heavy on the organ, british in some mellow kind of way but sprinkled a bit more with the psychedelic spices.

The opening "Make your stash" is quite a good track, as is "Fiddling fool". The first opens in an eerie way, before heading into a mellow piece. The same could be said for "Fiddling fool", though this piece is decidedly more psych.

"Super boy" is a great track. Yet again mellow, with beautiful organ. "Drifting" heads into some jazzy rock territory. Quite good. "Mumbles I wonder why" is my favorite track. It sounds naive in an endearing way and offers fantastic organ playing. The next one "Launching place part 2" is really alright aswell. They end it all with the Manfred Mann's Earth Band track "I'll be gone". The original track may be better but this one really is interesting.

Overall it is quite an arlight album. Well played, organic and endearing. I really like Spectrum and the sound they make. They hold a tone of their own, quite Australian in that je ne sais quoi kind of way. It is good but when push comes to a shove it is no more than that. I would recommend "Milesago" over this but still, it has loads of charm an ideas.

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 Milesago by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.04 | 17 ratings

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Milesago
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Australian prog is not overly reviewed on PA. At least that is my conception. It may be wrong but I might be right. It seems, however, that Spectrum is not one of the most listened to bands on this site. Apart from a very precious few ratings and even fewer written reviews there seems to be little attention given to these proggers from Oz.

I bought myself this album as a christmas present back in 2009. The deluxe Aztec edition, I might add. Now, I am not reviewing that edition, though I strongly advise you to get a hold of it if you can. This review regards the original album as it appeared upon release in 1971.

The first thing to say about this album is that it is very raw and dirty, as far as the production is concerned. It is very heavy in parts, in no small part due to the excellent organ and guitar, of which both are very distorted. This fact makes me really enjoy the album. The rawness, alongside the quite impressive musical vision, gives the album an edge. I could compare it to a more progressive Deep Purple, circa 1970 - 1971. Overall, the musical ability is great. The vocals are heartfelt and gritty and the instrumentation is very well performed.

The songs ranges from rock'n'roll (But that's alright) to ballads (Love's my bag), hard rock (What the world needs now) to soaring progressive rock (Milesago) and all epic prog (The sideways saga). It is a great and somewhat eclectic collection of songs, which despite seeming sort of schizoid at first really merges together nicely.

My favorite track on the album has to be "What the world needs now". The track is driven by this unbelievable organ, distorted and played with such emotion. It starts off with this noise, made by the organ, resembling the noise made by the great Jon Lord on "Lazy" (from Made in Japan). It takes off and becomes this really outstanding song. If you are into organ, this is really a track to check out, as is the entire album.

As with any prog from any country, australian prog has it's own flavor and so has Spectrum. It is like a twisted form of british prog and I cannot point my finger at what it is. I do think, however, that in Spectrum's case it is a question of great musical vision, coupled with a psychedelic-progressive will, all mixed with a dose of "to hell with it all" and a sense of humour. It stands on it's own, majestically so. All in all, this album needs to be discovered by more people.

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 Terminal Buzz by SPECTRUM album cover Live, 1973
3.08 | 3 ratings

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Terminal Buzz
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars This live album captures for posterity the final concert of Spectrum & Indelible Murtceps, before Ray Arnott joined Mighty Kong (Australia's own post-prog supergroup a la Asia, except ten years earlier...we were ahead of the curve for once), and the rest of the band regrouped as Ariel.

The first disc features the Indelible Murtceps version of the band - ie upbeat, simple rocking songs with mostly scatalogical lyrics, featuring electric piano instead of organ. They were in a jamming mood that night, three of the four tracks stretch well past ten minutes, but not in a way that would greatly interest prog fans - they kept the groove and kept things simple.

The second disc focuses more on Spectrum material - the difference by now meaning Hammond organ, ponderous slow tempi, and rather anarchic playing compared to their much tighter Murtceps material. In the studio, relatively new keyboardist John Mills had begun to use synthesizers and other keyboards, broadening the Spectrum sound palette, but here on stage he restricts himself to organ - "Essay In Paranoia" suffers from the absence of the synth. He is a much more technically advanced and melodically inventive player than was Lee Neale, I enjoyed listening to the detail of his playing on the older numbers, however he lacks the 'fiery' sound of Neale. "Essay In Paranoia" stays relatively faithful to the studio arrangement, while "Superbody" goes off on a completely different tangent, and "What The World Needs" is also distinguished from it's studio version by Mills more structured playing.

The first new piece, "Crazy Song" begins promisingly, with an unusually (for Spectrum) chromatic theme that made me think of Gentle Giant or Syrius, and finishes equally strongly with a fast running figure, but in the meantime we get an awful lot of atonal noodling. It segues into a simple four-chord jam "Goodbye". From here they segue again into the inevitable "I'll Be Gone" before encoring with another new number "i Want To Know', which returns to Murtceps territory.

Although there is some good music here - this is certainly an album any Spectrum fan will want to own - one would have to conclude that they'd made the right decision to break up at this time. The album shows clearly the disconnect between the Spectrum and Murtceps personae, and the declining level of inspiration on the Spectrum side of the equation. The first Ariel album featured a much rejuvenated group of musicians, finally capable of reconciling their two musical personalities into something exciting and new.

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 Spectrum Part One by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.09 | 10 ratings

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Spectrum Part One
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars The band hails from my adopted country, Australia, where Prog was never "abundant". I may have heard this LP a long time ago. If so, then it didn't leave a lasting impression on me - for I can't recall. Recently, I was given the chance to hear it (again?)

Firstly, I feel terribly sorry for these well-meaning musos attempting to deliver some rather original material. Their difficult task in creating what resembles prehistoric Psychedelic material wasn't assisted by the recording process. Apart from that the material sounds like just a collection of demos, the mix is just horrible - and that's before we get to the artwork.

I was a bit taken aback by the vocals that don't sound anything I could compare with. Original would be the least I could say. More like indulgently experimental that compromises the entire works. A stroke of genius, or substance abuse - I couldn't possibly say, but it fails to impress.

The sound of the Hammond brightens things a bit, but apart from a few little runs on it, it's the actual rich sound of the organ that pleases - in place of the keys played. The bass player is definitely trying his best, but is left excessively loud in the mix thus, the somewhat amateurish delivery is further exposed.

The whole "album" tends to be devoid of any bulk, just repeatedly falling apart, due to indulgent gaps and a serious lack of arrangements. With some professional editing and mix this could be a 3 star work, but as it is I couldn't possibly call it good.

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 Breathing Space Too (EP) by SPECTRUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Breathing Space Too (EP)
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars It's the same band that recorded the first Breathing Space EP, and continues to sound very little like the original Spectrum.

Having said that, Rudd's songwriting is much stronger on this second release. His humourous side comes out on "Xavier Rudd Is Not My Son" (in case you're wondering, neither is Kevin his brother) and "Sensible Shoes" (a sequel to "What The World Needs Is A New Pair Of Socks"?), while "Hotels, Motels" is a poignant tribute to the struggles of his generation as they move beyond middle age.

Still not remotely a prog record, still not near the quality of Part One or Milesago, but as it's a step up from the first Breathing Space I think it deserves a higher rating.

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 Breathing Space (EP) by SPECTRUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
2.09 | 2 ratings

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Breathing Space (EP)
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

2 stars Why has the name Spectrum been resurrected for a band that bears so little relationship to the original band? Yes, Mike Rudd and Bill Putt are both involved - but Rudd and Putt have never stopped working together, moving straight from Spectrum to Ariel, and then to a succession of later bands including Instant Replay, The Heaters and WHY, on solo and duo projects, before finally deciding to take the Spectrum name for a project that has no more relationship to the original than any of these other bands. When Ray Arnott left Spectrum in 1973, that was considered to be sufficient reason to break up the band, even though the rest of the lineup and the musical direction remained intact into the first incarnation of Ariel. The new Spectrum does not have Arnott, or any other early member, nor does it sound much like the original band. So why? Other than maybe it's easier to get people to gigs, or to buy new records, when the Spectrum name is involved? That's the only reason I can think of.

Spectrum have actually been back on the live circuit for over a decade, and have previously released two CDs under the moniker Spectrum Plays The Blues. This initial 'reunion' was a three piece, with no keyboardist (something else I don't understand, when Lee Neale's organ was the most distinctive feature of the original band's sound). By the time they got around to recording the Breathing Space series, they had a keyboard player, but in contrast to the 'fiery' style of Neale or the multi-keyboard layering of John Mills, this guy is so self-effacing you barely notice he's there. The writing is low-key adult-oriented rock. The only time it starts to sound at all like the old Spectrum is on "Second Coming", during an instrumental break where the organ briefly cranks up (albeit with little more than some held chords) while Rudd plays the kind of hypnotic more-with-less guitar solo he was famous for.

It is good to see Rudd's humour is intact - in the song "I Play My Guitar" he notes "you say I play my guitar like I make love to you". Considering how famously self-deprecating he is about his guitar skills, this is pretty funny - especially since he gets former Ariel colleague Tim Gaze to play the solo! (And fine playing too)

The EP is not without its charms - but if you're looking for the Spectrum of the 1970s, you'll be disappointed.

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 Testimonial by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.07 | 5 ratings

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Testimonial
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars Although there was an attempt to keep the Spectrum and Indelible Murtceps personae separate, there was inevitably some confusion between the two bands, and so the next album was jointly credited to both entities. There was an attempt to keep a demarcation between the two though, each track being assigned to one name or the other, with clear instrumentation and genre differences. Instead of this diversity being a strength, as it was on Milesago, it becomes jarring. The Murtceps numbers are generally straight-forward boogie numbers (with apparently an ear to the success of Daddy Cool - the guitar riff in "Indelible Shuffle" is very reminiscent of their "Hi Honey Ho"), with keyboards restricted to piano. The Spectrum numbers are ponderous mid-tempo numbers with a fuller range of keyboard sounds (courtesy new member John Mills), including the first use of synthesizers, but little of the fire we used to get from Lee Neale - or from anyone else in the band. The best number on the album is the one Murtceps number to break the genre straightjacket imposed on each identity, "Real Meanie". The best of the Spectrum numbers are "I Think I Even Missed The Station" and Ray Arnott's grooving "It Would Be Nice". "Essay In Paranoia", apparently a stage favourite at the time, is the most overtly proggy in it's multiple sections and use of synthesizer.

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 Warts Up Your Nose by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.08 | 3 ratings

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Warts Up Your Nose
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

2 stars Despite a national #1 single in "I'll Be Gone" and two gold albums, Spectrum were near broke - the Australian market wasn't large enough to provide a large royalty income, and they couldn't get many gigs outside the small inner city circuit because their music was too complex - even a massive hit single couldn't get you gigs at the suburban dances that were still the mainstay of musical life in Australia. Spectrum were not the only band to adapt to circumstance by playing simpler, more commercial material at suburban gigs. However, they hit on an ingenious solution which allowed them to do so without compromising the credibility of the Spectrum name - they adopted an alter ego, the Indelible Murtceps (spectrum spelt backwards, geddit?) who would play the suburban dances, with less equipment, while reserving the Spectrum name for their more ambitious material. Murtceps developed somewhat of a following in their own right, which led to recording under that name. They had a minor hit with the double-sided single "We Are Indelible"/"Esmeralda" - the first song celebrating that "now we are sellable", while the other was a tribute to a hard-working prostitute. The album Warts Up Your Nose followed, and was a sign that band really weren't taking this too seriously. Most of Mike Rudd's songs are credited to "My Crudd", and, as the name suggests, most of them are throwaway songs concerned with scatalogical themes - "Blue Movies Make Me Cry", "In The Bog", "Excuse Me Just One Moment" (which captures the drinking culture of the gigs they were playing), "Hand Jive", etc. It's fun, but it's of no interest to prog fans. There are no organ solos, no atmospheric instrumentals (although there is a long jam in the middle of "Some Good Advice"), no multi-part suites - very little of what made Spectrum interesting in the first place.

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 Milesago by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.04 | 17 ratings

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Milesago
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

5 stars By the time Milesago was recorded, Spectrum had already established their 'commercial' alter ego Indelible Murtceps, for which Mike Rudd was obliged to write simpler, more coherent songs. This sharpened his skills, and resulted in a much better material for Spectrum's second album. The first album was characterised by comparatively flimsy one-verse songs which then became the launching point for extended instrumental jams - if you preferred that side of Spectrum, it's still present in tracks such as "Love's My Bag", "Your Friend And Mine", "What The World Needs (Is A New Pair of Socks)", and "Fly Without It's Wings". But we also get some well-written short-snappy songs ("But That's Alright", "Untitled", "Virgin's Tale", "Tell Me Why", "Don't Bother Coming Round), some more structured long pieces ("The Sideways Saga", "Milesago"), and some psychedelic numbers that rely on more than one verse and a long organ solo ("Play A Song That I Know", "A Fate Worse Than Death", "Trust Me" - written and sung by new drummer Ray Arnott). Best of all, we get our first great glimpses of Rudd's sick sense of humour ("What The World Needs", "Virgin's Tale", "A Fate Worse Than Death", "The Sideways Saga", "Mama Did Jesus Where Makeup?"). Lee Neale uses a more diverse range of keyboard sounds, relying less on his 'fiery' organ (although it's still just as 'fiery' when it does make an appearance), and using more electric piano, with occasional harpsichord, clavinet and piano. In general, the more diverse sounds and songwriting approaches make this a much stronger record than the debut, one that is justly considered to be a high point of the early 1970s Australian underground/progressive rock scene.

The Aztec re-release includes several bonus tracks, including the single versions of "Trust Me" and "But That's Alright", b-side "Going Home" (somewhat of a sequel to "I'll Be Gone"), the rare soundtrack recording "Dalmas" (more in the style of the first album), a couple of live tracks from the Sunbury Festival of 1972, and a cigarette commercial! I'm glad to have these tracks, but unhappy they interfere with the original sequence of the four sides of vinyl.

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 Spectrum Part One by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.09 | 10 ratings

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Spectrum Part One
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

4 stars Spectrum were one of the most original bands to come out of Australia in the early 1970s - they simply do not sound like anyone else I can think of. In a genre that generally prizes virtuosity they are an anomaly, original drummer Mark Kennedy being the only real virtuoso in the band - but they were masters at creating atmospheric music that keeps the listener enthralled, particularly when Lee Neale cranks up the Hammond.

On this first album, Mike Rudd hasn't really developed the strong song-writing skills he would eventually become famous for. The songs are generally little one-verse affairs that then become the launching pad for extended instrumental passages. Nevertheless, Rudd already displays a strong gift for melody on tracks such as "Superbody", "Drifting" and "Mumbles I Wonder Why", while the comparatively low-key vocal melody of "Fiddling Fool" is lifted by a memorable organ riff. The most memorable tune is Ross Wilson's "Make Your Stash", borrowed from Wilson's 'special occasion' band Sons of the Vegetal Mother, with whom Rudd occasionally played - Wilson's more hyperactive version was eventually recorded by Daddy Cool - Spectrum play it their own way, using it as a lauching pad for a dissonant (in a good way) guitar/organ workout. The instrumental passages in "Fiddling Fool" and "Superbody" rely on atmosphere more than musical invention (particularly Rudd's use of recorder on the latter). The arranging skills step up more on the last two tracks - "Drifting" features some great organ/bass interplay and a good excuse for Kennedy to shift the beat around. "Mumbles I Wonder Why" starts in a similar vein, before finishing with a recorder/organ duet that I consider to be one of the most beautiful moments in all Australian prog.

The Aztec re-release contains no fewer than three versions of Spectrum's contemporaneous smash hit "I'll Be Gone" (including a demo bereft of the famous harmonica riff, but with a more fiery organ part), two versions of it's b-side "Launching Place part II" as well as the considerably rarer part I, and a demo of the unreleased "You Just Can't Win" which is reminiscent of Traffic.

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Thanks to t.rox for the artist addition.

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