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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


Refractions: Thru the Rhythms of Time 1989-1997Refractions: Thru the Rhythms of Time 1989-1997
Space Age Recordings 2004
Audio CD$9.70
$17.47 (used)
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Spectrum The Music of Fleetwood Mac CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 2h 22m
12" single DECECIO Spectrum W/ D.F.R. Remix TRANCE IMPORT Dance USD $3.50 [0 bids]
2h 23m
THE MUSIC OF ELTON JOHN - BY SPECTRUM!!; USD $3.50 Buy It Now 2h 34m
Greg Maroney-The Spectrum of Love CD NEW USD $14.57 Buy It Now 2h 38m
Spectrum SP-318 stereo Nm SZYMANOWSKY Violin Concertos HANNA LACHERT/ANTONI WIT USD $4.00 [0 bids]
2h 44m
Spectrum Music of Linda Ronstadt CD USD $12.93 Buy It Now 3h 14m
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Love Survive, Contemporary Ballads Performed By Spectrum USD $0.70 [0 bids]
USD $1.00 Buy It Now
3h 39m
Realistic Full Spectrum Of Quadraphonic Sound LP CSP CQ 10869 Miles Davis/Chase USD $6.99 Buy It Now 3h 44m
Diamonds & Rust by Joan Baez (CD 2003 Spectrum Music (UK)) ?? German Made, MINT USD $7.95 Buy It Now 4h 52m
Delilah by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (Rock) (CD, Jan-2004, Spectrum... USD $1.99 [0 bids]
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5h 53m
Jazz Spectrum Vol. 18: Count Basie, Al Hibbler, Joe Williams. Metro. NM Vinyl USD $7.00 Buy It Now 6h 15m
Motown Chartbusters - Vol. 10 by Various Artists (CD, polygram - spectrum) USD $4.00 [0 bids]
6h 16m
Ace Spectrum "Low rent rendezvous" Modern Soul Funk R&B Atlantic Records LP USD $15.50 Buy It Now 6h 24m
Steven Halpern CD Spectrum Suite A Personal and Planetary Attunement Sound RX USD $15.00 [0 bids]
6h 38m
Rebel by John Miles (CD, Mar-1987, Spectrum) USD $14.66 Buy It Now 7h 16m
The World Of by Barbara Dickson (CD, Jun-1996, Spectrum) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 7h 16m
LEVEL 42 cd On a Level MINT Mark King 14tk 1993 Spectrum Music 5500102 German USD $6.40 [0 bids]
7h 26m
AZYMUTH Spectrum LP Milestone M-9134 (1985) NM jazz album USD $4.99 Buy It Now 7h 27m
Little Love Affairs by Nanci Griffith (CD, Sep-2004, Spectrum Audio) USD $3.70 Buy It Now 7h 30m
Music of Barry Manilow by Spectrum (Easy) (CD, Sep-1993, Compendia Music Group) USD $12.95 Buy It Now 8h 17m
Singing We Go Phil & Marlene Dunaway Rare Autographed Xian LP Spectrum Records USD $21.95 Buy It Now 8h 20m
Slow Dazzle by John Cale (CD, Jun-2003, Spectrum) USD $15.99 Buy It Now 8h 29m
Nils Lofgren Shine Silently CD spectrum/karussell import I ship WORLDWIDE USD $19.87 Buy It Now 8h 31m
SPECTRUM - Murtceps - Testimonial - RARE OZ Prog LP USD $83.68 Buy It Now 10h 16m
SPECTRUM/S.T. LP 1979 JAPAN BREAKS FUSION DISCO USD $24.99 Buy It Now 10h 42m
Spectrum Music of Linda Ronstadt CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 12h 4m
SPECTRUM: 'Geracao Bendita Geracao' Rare Brazil Tropicalia Psych LP Pokora LTD USD $34.99 [0 bids]
12h 42m
Bachelors - Best Of Bachelors CD SPECTRUM USD $13.39 Buy It Now 13h 12m
LES DEMERLE - SPECTRUM [DIGIPAK] - NEW CD USD $13.98 Buy It Now 13h 22m
CD BURT BACHARACH A MAN AND HIS MUSIC 18 Tracks 58 Minutes UK Spectrum Music USD $7.64 Buy It Now 14h 28m
Spectrum Road - Spectrum Road (NEW 12" VINYL LP) USD $25.25 Buy It Now 14h 49m
Spectrum : Music of Neil Diamond CD (1995) USD $3.96 Buy It Now 14h 52m
OST DALLOS LP w/Insert JAPAN ANIME Horn Spectrum Jazz Funk Breaks USD $49.99 Buy It Now 15h 11m
Various Artists Sing SOS: Songs of the Spectrum CD USD $3.98 Buy It Now 16h 7m
Soul Spectrum 2 (Classic From The Radio Sessions: Compiled By Greg Edwards) USD $23.69 Buy It Now 16h 59m
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Garment District -Nature Nurture (Sonic Boom Remix) 7" spectrum spacemen 3 psych USD $9.99 Buy It Now 17h 44m
BILLY COBHAM SPECTRUM RARE 1973 VINYL ATLANTIC K40506 JAZZ ROCK JACK BRUCE USD $1.90 [5 bids]
18h 3m
THE CONTOURS Essential Collection NEW SOUL MOTOWN CD (SPECTRUM) R USD $9.46 Buy It Now 18h 10m
DEUTSCHE MARSCHE UND MARSCHLIEDER AUDIO SPECTRUM RECORD # SAS-1004 N/M. USD $14.95 Buy It Now 18h 11m
SPECTRUM (Japanese Funk Brass) - SUPER REMIX 1991 JAPAN CD OBI VICL-2047 USD $15.54 Buy It Now 18h 32m
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PRO-JECT THE AUDIOPHILE SPECTRUM 180 GRAMS ANALOGUE LP RECORD NEW USD $99.99 Buy It Now 19h 18m
Pearl Jam - Bootleg #25 - 29-06-00 Spectrum, Oslo, Norway 2 CD LIVE USD $22.25 Buy It Now 19h 33m
four tops early classics - spectrum 552119-2 - cd new/ss - 18 tracks - ref# 3511 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 20h 3m
RITA COOLIDGE - The Collection (Spectrum Music #551 816-2 - UK, 1995) - IMP CD USD $6.99 Buy It Now 20h 5m
SPECTRUM/MURTCEPS - GHOSTS-POST TERMINAL REFLECTION [CD NEW] USD $38.34 Buy It Now 20h 13m
NEIL DIAMOND - The Best Of (Spectrum) - CD NEW USD $9.93 Buy It Now 20h 13m
* ACE SPECTRUM Don't Send Nobody Else 70's MODERN SOUL 1974 Atlantic LP HEAR USD $9.99 [0 bids]
20h 26m
V/A Full Spectrum Quadraphonic Sound Realistic LP Columbia 1972 12" CQ 10869 USD $7.98 Buy It Now 20h 30m
D'ARTEGA TOSCANINI ORCHESTRA POP CONCERT CARNEGIE HALL Spectrum Vinyl LP SS11 USD $6.89 Buy It Now 20h 34m
THE MUSIC OF BILLY JOEL by Spectrum (CD) UPC#015095457820 USD $2.50 Buy It Now 20h 37m
SOFT CELL Down In The Subway (GERMAN SPECTRUM CD IMPORT) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 20h 54m
STOJCHE: SPECTRUM EP (12") USD $7.88 Buy It Now 21h 46m
The Spectrum Of Music - Level 6, Macmillan 7 Record Set USD $55.01 Buy It Now 21h 55m
Henri Lazarof: Concerto for Flute & Orchestra; Spectrum; Concerto for Orchestra; USD $5.10 Buy It Now 22h 11m
DON MIQUEL VALENCIA FURY OF THE MATADOR Spectrum Vinyl LP SS13 Bull Ring Music USD $5.69 Buy It Now 23h 2m
STAX CHARTBUSTERS VOLUME 2 Various Artists NEW SOUL BLUES R&B CD (SPECTRUM) USD $9.22 Buy It Now 23h 3m
Jackson 5 - Children of the Light (2000 Motown / Spectrum CD) USD $3.14 Buy It Now 23h 16m
Commodores - The Collection (2002 Spectrum Music CD) USD $3.14 Buy It Now 23h 16m
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101 STRINGS - THE QUIET HOUR ON AUDIO SPECTRUM AST 110 USD $6.50 [0 bids]
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23h 56m
SEALED STEREO BLUES LP - JOE LIGGINS - BLUES SPECTRUM 106 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Spectrum : Music of Phil Collins CD (1995) USD $3.25 Buy It Now 1 day
VA "The New Atlantis" 1996 Space Age Used CD/ Spacemen 3/ Spectrum/ Jessamine USD $5.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SPECTRUM Tim Love Lee PicDisc 7" Great Pop Supplement GPS54 US Seller SONIC BOOM USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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David Flagg: My God & I - Spectrum LPS-3001 VG Private Xian Vinyl LP Record USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ELLA FITZGERALD JAZZ SPECTRUM VOL. 1 LP 896 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Autographed LP~Little Pattie, Atlantics,Spectrum,Brian Cadd ++++ from 2002 Tour USD $64.04 [0 bids]
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VOIVOD - Spectrum Live 09/1987 CD - MINT Cult thrash Overkill USD $11.06 [0 bids]
1 day
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USD $9.98 Buy It Now
1 day
Music Of Whitney Houston Spectrum E446966 Very Good Audio CD USD $3.91 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
Spectrum Of Light 4260158972055, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $25.33 Buy It Now 1 day
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THE INCOMPARABLE HILDEGARDE LP STEREO SPECTRUM USD $2.00 [0 bids]
1 day
LES THATCHER Multiple Guitars with LP AUDIO QUAD SPECTRUM QS-3 QUADRAPHONIC USD $11.79 Buy It Now 1 day
Caromia - Spectrum [CD New] USD $12.65 Buy It Now 1 day
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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
4.08 | 15 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
4.08 | 15 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
4.08 | 15 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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