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NEKTAR

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Nektar biography
NEKTAR is probably the most German-like of the Seventies British bands, a fame that owes a lot to the town in which this band was founded (Hamburg) and to their stylistic approach (Assimilated to Krautrock). NEKTAR was formed in 1969 by Allan FREEMAN (keyboards & vocals), Roye ALBRIGHTON (guitars & vocals), Derek MOORE (bass, Mellotron & vocals) and Ron HOWDEN (drums).

Their earliest albums were hard rock that drew heavily from the space-rock and PINK FLOYD styles of the same period. The 70's gave them the occasion to issue some masterpieces, like for example "Remember the Future" (1973) and "Recycled" (1975). Each is a conceptual album that is a nice blend of melodic guitar and keyboards with a vocal story. "Journey To The Centre Of The Eye" is a mindblowing epic with lots of echoplex guitar and dual Mellotrons which is quite in tune with the Krautrock stuff going on around them, yet is definitely British. "Tab in the Ocean" and "Magic is a Child" had shorter songs and were less less satisfying. Fortunately there is a compilation album just called NEKTAR (1976) which has all the best bits of the albums and is highly recommended.

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Buy NEKTAR Music


Remember the FutureRemember the Future
Cleopatra 2014
Audio CD$9.58
$8.99 (used)
Live at the Patriots TheatreLive at the Patriots Theatre
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.15
$15.75 (used)
Remember The Future - with 3D graphics Deluxe Box EditionRemember The Future - with 3D graphics Deluxe Box Edition
Box set
Cleopatra 2014
Audio CD$23.99
$22.72 (used)
Sunday Night At London Roundhouse - Limited Edition Colored Vinyl Sequentially Numbered for CollectorsSunday Night At London Roundhouse - Limited Edition Colored Vinyl Sequentially Numbered for Collectors
Cleopatra 2014
Vinyl$24.98
Journey to the Centre of the EyeJourney to the Centre of the Eye
Collector's Edition
Cleopatra 2013
Audio CD$10.99
$11.99 (used)
A Tab In The OceanA Tab In The Ocean
Cleopatra 2013
Vinyl$14.99
$10.99 (used)
Journey To The Centre Of The EyeJourney To The Centre Of The Eye
Cleopatra 2013
Vinyl$11.98
A Spoonful Of Time feat. Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Derek Sherinian, Rod Argent, et al.A Spoonful Of Time feat. Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Derek Sherinian, Rod Argent, et al.
Cleopatra 2013
Vinyl$7.24
$48.76 (used)
Time MachineTime Machine
Cleopatra 2013
Audio CD$9.01
$7.50 (used)
Sounds Like ThisSounds Like This
Cleopatra 2013
Vinyl$18.98
$40.39 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
NEKTAR**TIME MACHINE**VINYL US $15.77 Buy It Now 47m 23s
Recycled by Nektar *New CD* US $9.35 Buy It Now 1h 35m
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11h 37m
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Nektar "Remember the Future" Vinyl LP VG+ US $3.00 [0 bids]
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2 days
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More places to buy NEKTAR music online Buy NEKTAR & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for NEKTAR DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

NEKTAR shows & tickets


  • Nektar at London Barfly, London on 7 Oct 2014
  • Nektar at Blues Garage, Isernhagen, Hannover on 9 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nektar at Fair Cafe, Schortens on 10 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nektar at Rider's Café, Lübeck on 11 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nektar at Heimathaus, Twist on 13 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nektar at Blue Notez Club, Dortmund on 14 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nektar at Alter Schlachthof, Soest on 15 Oct 2014 - CANCELLED

NEKTAR discography


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

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

3.70 | 234 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Eye
1971
4.05 | 396 ratings
A Tab In The Ocean
1972
3.31 | 119 ratings
Sounds Like This
1973
3.89 | 343 ratings
Remember The Future
1974
3.41 | 125 ratings
Down To Earth
1974
3.75 | 226 ratings
Recycled
1975
3.01 | 81 ratings
Magic is a Child
1977
3.24 | 65 ratings
Man in the Moon
1980
2.92 | 43 ratings
The Prodigal Son
2001
3.38 | 66 ratings
Evolution
2004
3.31 | 52 ratings
Book Of Days
2008
2.72 | 51 ratings
A Spoonful Of Time
2012
2.88 | 39 ratings
Time Machine
2013

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

2.64 | 18 ratings
Sunday Night at London Roundhouse
1974
3.18 | 18 ratings
Nektar - Live in New York
1977
2.43 | 12 ratings
More Live Nektar in New York
1978
3.14 | 9 ratings
Unidentified Flying Abstract - Live At Chipping Norton 1974
2002
2.00 | 2 ratings
Nearfest 2002 (Studio M Recording)
2002
2.79 | 10 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2002
3.67 | 22 ratings
Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse (1974)
2002
2.21 | 10 ratings
Door To The Future
2005
3.00 | 2 ratings
2004 Tour Live
2005
2.98 | 14 ratings
Fortyfied
2009
2.50 | 2 ratings
Live At The Patriots Theater
2014

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

3.95 | 14 ratings
Live
2002
3.93 | 13 ratings
Pure: Live In Germany 2005 (DVD)
2005

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

3.26 | 14 ratings
Nektar
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
Best of Nektar
1978
4.43 | 12 ratings
Thru The Ears
1978
3.50 | 4 ratings
Highlights - The Best Of Nektar
1994
2.45 | 5 ratings
The Dream Nebula: The Best Of 1971-1975
1998

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

3.00 | 3 ratings
Astral Man
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Fidgety Queen / Little Boy
1974
2.91 | 2 ratings
Flight to Reality / It's All Over
1975

NEKTAR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Journey To The Centre Of The Eye by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.70 | 234 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Eye
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FragileKings

3 stars This is not an easy album to appreciate despite the great effort that went in to creating it. Nektar had already recorded some fairly standard rock songs, which became known as the Boston Tapes, in 1970. However, when it came time to record a debut, the band insisted straight out on a concept album, a story about an astronaut who is met by aliens who take him to their galaxy where he learns to see with his mind and gains the power of the All- seeing Eye.

The band had it all figured out with songs telling the chapters of the story, instrumental parts providing music for the story, and lots of in-studio effects created with their equipment alone. The CD liner notes say that Frank Zappa was very impressed with the band's studio innovation and was interested in signing them to his own label. That, however, didn't pan out. Finding a label to take a new band and release a debut album that was based on a science fiction story and didn't seem to feature any good singles was a problem. But at last "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" was released with all the band's space effects, loud guitar and organ, and some instrumental segments that bordered on classical music performed by a heavy psych band.

I've listened to this album a few times now spaced out over several months (the listening periods were spaced out, not me) and some individual tracks a couple of times more. It's not an album for pulling apart, though "Burn out My Eyes" is good enough to stand alone. This is an album better suited for playing all the way through and then while reading the story details provided in the CD booklet. For just listening without knowing what is going on can have you wondering if someone didn't spend a little too much money for a group of guys to make experimental noise in the studio.

There are moments when I could imagine that this is what the Moody Blues could have been if they had dropped all the classical instruments and just went for all out space rock. Or perhaps there are some wires crossed with Ziggy Stardust. Did some of Pink Floyd's more adventurous studio efforts on "Ummagumma" have any influence here?

What makes this so difficult to assign a star rating to is that this could be a really brilliant album that is suffering just a bit too much from a weak recording and/or mixing. The vocals often sound like they were recorded in a room down the hall with the door open while the louder instruments sound like the speakers were crowding the mics. Actually, the first three Nektar albums all sound quite similar, though "A Tab in the Ocean" has some better examples of progressive rock in so far as tight and complex compositions are concerned. Here it's more the effort at creating a space suspense story soundtrack that earns Nektar prog cred.

I'd really like to say Nektar started their recording career with a stunning piece of work, but honestly it is not as easy to enjoy as "A Tab in the Ocean" or the much better "Remember the Future". This is a little too far out on a low budget for me to call it an excellent addition to any prog collection. Good but not essential would also depend. I hate to say it's for collectors and fans only but I can't feel justified in giving this one too much praise. High points for creativity and effort, but I feel the end result is an acquired taste.

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 Magic is a Child by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 81 ratings

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Magic is a Child
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by grom63

5 stars This album isn't a conceptual, but I'm not dissapointed in it. Opposite it's detached record in a Nektar's discography!

"Magic Is a Child" opens with song, which in a small time interval accommodates many unusual twists with not poor instrumental parts without vocals(as in all of this album) and we understand that it's NEKTAR(By the way, in a title track "Magic Is a Child" when I listened, had a sence of influence Pink Floyd, as in the "Down to Earth", but in this reflected on planning conception using entry sounds). Though compositions isn't directly related, each of other passes smoothly as the mood and as the instrumental part.

Generally first part of the album is classical Nektar, though in a slightly different shape, not paying attention to change a main vocal. Gradually guitar comes to the fore(there are hardest guitar playing of all times before), taking a break in "Listen", but in the last two compositions catching up! In last composition we hear simply hard rock song(guitar riffs similar on same year album of Rush), but it's perfect ending: artlessly, but overcome all difficulties(figuratively, of course, because music kept in suspense my mind during some part...) . Spesial I want to focus in a bass sound on "On The Run (The Trucker)". It seems as if Steve Harris from IM took a sample of style playing.

Finally i want to say, that this album differently wonderful. It's just as well that this album is not like the previous, Yes, there is less sincere, less magic, but change sound was going to happen and it's almost not affected the end-product.

4.5 stars.

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 Remember The Future by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 343 ratings

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Remember The Future
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Third album by Nektar ''...Sounds like this'' was released in 1973 and was a somewhat jamming effort with countless psych soloing on guitar and organ, leading to controversial critics and mixed reviews.Apparently they were compared to Man at the time, a band with which they travelled in England and gained a contract with the United Artists label.''...Sounds like this'' was also the first work of Nektar to be published in the States, followed in 1974 by ''Remember the future'', the fourth overall work of the band, which saw Nektar visit UK and recording the album at the Chipping Norton Studio in Oxfordshire.It was a concept effort, dealing with a blind boy, who comes in a touch with an extraterrestrial.The album was released on Bellaphon in Germany, Passport Records in the USA and United Artists in the UK.

This was a much more melodic offering by the band, showing a return to the sound of ''A Tab in the ocean'', albeit in a less grandiose and powerful package.The album consists of two long epics, placed in each side of the original issue, the 17-min. ''Remember the future part I'' being propably the best of the two.It sounds like the past and present PINK FLOYD sound mixed with some GENESIS symphonic overtones in the opening organ themes and a few YES touches in the quirky guitar parts.But most of all this is very good Psychedelic/Prog Rock with a deep sense of melody, written with the unique style of NEKTAR, offered in mid-paced grooves, polyphonic harmonies and changing climates, where laid-back tunes meet groovier and more emphatic passages, built on guitar and keyboards, closing with a great psych jam on organ and guitars.Very tight and convincing stuff.''''Remember the future part II'' is a bit more diverse and progressive in sounds and sights, it goes from a melodic, almost Canterbury-styled Prog Rock in the vein of CARAVAN to a dynamic organ-based style in a Kraut Rock enviroment and every possible range of power inbetween, always revisiting some of the PINK FLOYD-ian moods and even flirting with the more spacey stylings of HAWKWIND.Again the music is led by the solid rhythm section, the personal guitar touches of Roye Albrighton and the omnipreesent organ of Allan Freeman , being mostly pretty melodic and rhythmic with soft textures and occasional harder moves.While the result is not always great, you can't do else than admire the cohesion of Nektar's music, the arrangements are very compact with impressive twists between more complex instrumentals and mellow tunes.

Pretty cool stuff, one of the albums, where the epics seem to last shorter than their actual length due to the impressive musical cohesion.Solid Psych/Prog in the vein of PINK FLOYD, CARAVAN and HAWKWIND.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Sounds Like This by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.31 | 119 ratings

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Sounds Like This
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FragileKings

3 stars Nektar had already released two distinctive albums, the space rock / psychedelic concept piece "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" and the heavy psych / proto-metal / prog near masterpiece "A Tab in the Ocean". Their success in their adopted country of Germany was growing and opportunity came for them to reach out to an audience in their native land of Great Britain. With material already in place for what was to become their breakthrough album in the U.S., "Remember the Future", Nektar went ahead to record this intermediate album in order to first launch themselves into the U.K.

The plan was simple: record live in the studio and release a double disc of material. And this is exactly what they did, playing in studio as they would live. However, in the course of their creative growth, this album comes across as a giant leap backwards. The songs barely give any hint of what the band was capable of with regards to carefully crafted longer compositions or short but tightly-connected conceptually related songs. This album was more like a hail to the good old days of fun guitar rock.

Perhaps Nektar saw this as their last chance to record some of their "old" favourites that had never been committed to vinyl. Songs like "New Day Dawning", "Do You Believe in Magic", and "Good Day" had already been recorded on what were called "The Boston Tapes" back in 1970 (later to be released on the bonus disc for "Remember the Future" on the Purple Pyramid reissue of that album). Back in those days, the band was pretty much just another guitar-based rock band with an organist in the line-up. The songs on this, their third album, are more or less in the same mould, despite three tracks being over 12 minutes and two of those coming in three parts.

With this in mind, you can expect exactly what you'll get: a double disc of rock songs with some good melodies and some parts showcasing the guitarist's abilities, some enjoyable heavy guitar workouts and some rather lengthy jam sessions. This album resembles "A Tab in the Ocean" only in sound (Nektar "Sounds Like This" is an appropriate title in so far as "sound" is concerned); the guitar and keyboard settings are more or less the same, though very different on "Remember the Future".

This is not to say that a fan of early 70's heavy guitar / organ rock will be disappointed. In particular, "A Day in the Life of a Preacher" and "Oddysee" exhibit some heavy rock jamming that fits in with contemporary Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. "Cast Your Fate" and "Do You Believe in Magic" also have their heavy moments. But for the most part you have to think of these longer tracks as four to five-minute songs filled with a live jam session. Notably, "1-2- 3-4" is just a short song, which can be heard as just that on the radio edit on the bonus disc, but gets an additional 10 minutes of jamming, featuring solos on guitar, organ, and bass. Yes, there's a drum solo coming, too; it's on "Oddysee".

The recording quality of the album suffers a little in my opinion because of the live-in-studio approach (that's "live" as in rhymes with "five"). The band wanted to capture that live feeling and I think they did and rather well at times, but I am not much of a fan of live recordings. This album is not mixed cleanly. There are no overdubs or efforts to make it sound like a studio recording. It's live with no audience except whoever was working in the studio at the time. The Purple Pyramid bonus disc includes a studio radio version of "Do You Believe in Magic" and for me, this version is much more enjoyable, even though the album version includes a heavy guitar solo section completely separate from the actual song. The sound of the radio version is polished and cleaner compared to the live-in-studio version.

This album is said to be Nektar's heaviest and I have to agree based on what I have heard ("Tab", "Remember" and "Recycled"). I think it's because of the energy they put into their live set and the extended guitar workouts that they sound heavier than usual on this particular album. What fails to impress me, however, is that these songs are often allowed to carry on as a live performance where, if you are present at the show, it might be enjoyable to listen to an extra few minutes of instrumental exercises. But as a studio band, Nektar are very capable of putting together cohesive, multi-part songs that don't feel unnecessarily extended and even short but concise numbers when it suits the continuity of the album. I personally would have appreciated more a single disc of well-recorded and mixed studio tracks, selecting the best of the lot represented here. But that's just me.

"Good" is really a matter of opinion. I think it's good enough but not worth the three-star interpretation of "Good". But it is better than two stars. I give it a weak 3.

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 Remember The Future by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 343 ratings

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Remember The Future
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FragileKings

4 stars Every so often I find an album that I not only really enjoy listening to completely through from start to finish but also find myself with the music stuck in my head when I wake up, thus making me want to listen to the album yet again. Nektar's 'Remember the Future' has surprisingly become such an album.

After 'A Tab in the Ocean', this became my second purchase of Nektar's music. Initially, 'Tab' had left me with a decently good impression but had not inspired me to order more Nektar albums just yet. However, some months later I found myself enjoying the album more and I decided on buying 'Remember the Future' over 'Recycled' only because it was a little cheaper. As a concept album containing only one song divided into ten parts which are all segued together save for the break between sides one and two, this album already seemed fated to rare plays simply because of the time it demanded. I couldn't just pick a couple of favourites to play during my on-foot and in-transit commutes during the day; I had to commit to at least one whole side. As such, I first listened to each side only twice and then tended to a couple of dozen other albums I acquired within the same three months, searching for new favourite songs to add to prog and metal playlists.

I came back to the album earlier this year and gave it an attentive listen and found I really enjoyed side one, parts a) to d). There are some great vocal melodies and the singing sounds very much in the mid-70's rock style, which I say with a compliment here. The music leans more toward the guitar this time round with the organ spending less time at the forefront. Apparently they put the guitar through Lesley cabinet speakers for the Hammond organ so the sound of the guitar is different and very pleasing. Side one alternates between melodic slower passages and more heavy rock passages with one part resembling Uriah Heep slightly. The close of side one is a spacey guitar effects solo that is pretty wild. I have to add that the rhythm section is wonderful with both bass and drums working hard to keep the background solidly strong and worthy of attention.

At first I thought side two was less exciting than side one because I felt there was less transition in tempo but listening more made me aware of some wonderful guitar bits and once again more of what made side one so pleasing. The last song really grooves with an early disco-style rhythm but with rock guitar. It's boogie time!

The length of each side is actually very manageable with side one just under 17 minutes and side two a little over 19 minutes. Unlike some great double disc concept albums that are like the audio version of a feature length film, I can get through 'Remember the Future' well before my commute to work is over and still have time to enjoy reading or perhaps some other songs from playlists in my iPhone.

I bought the remastered double disc edition of this album and the second disc includes a 9- minute radio edit version of the album. The first couple of times I listened to it, I thought this was a great substitute for the whole album as it had most of my favourite parts with some of the longer sections edited down. But after really becoming acquainted with the album I noticed that a lot of good music was missing. There is also a collection of songs called 'The Boston Tapes' which were early recordings by Nektar back in around 1970. These reveal a more usual rock band and don't really hint anything about the great band that would give us 'A Tab in the Ocean', 'Remember the Future', and 'Recycled'.

A final note on the music, it's very tight and well-executed with some wonderful performances by all. But as far as progressive rock goes, it seems to be progressive in that the group were striving to create a full, stand-alone album with some excellent music that has some wicked abrupt changes in tempo and atmosphere. However, it doesn't have the more progressive attributes that one finds on albums by Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, ELP, or even Jethro Tull. Still, it's well above the standard rock fare of the same era. Since coming to appreciate this album, I have purchased 'Recycled' and 'Sounds Like This' but not even 'Recycled' comes as close as 'Remember' to winning my favour. A strong four stars from me for prog. But I'd give it a full five for a rock music album.

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 Time Machine by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.88 | 39 ratings

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Time Machine
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "Seems like I've been here before / Singing the same old song..."

The first words of the opening cut off their latest album ring all-too true for this veteran '70s outfit, currently adrift without a rudder in the 21st century. Give them credit for avoiding the copycat avenues followed by other Prog acts riding the nostalgia bandwagon: the ones that sound an awful lot like classic GENESIS or YES (with the emphasis on 'awful'). But after four decades Nektar still hasn't managed to locate a distinct musical identity of its own.

In their prime the band was often mistaken for Germans. Today they favor a bland, contemporary rock aesthetic, while occasionally pushing a few well-worn Prog buttons: big symphonic chords; portentous MOODY BLUES narration (in the song mistitled "A Better Way"); trippy cover artwork, and so on.

The opening moments of the album show promise, full of big Neo-Prog guitar chords and clever rhythmic syncopation, before the ennui sets in (when the singing begins). And there are some nice instrumental passages in between the routine songwriting, including a groovy title track, and a cool break in the middle of "Juggernaut", with hazy electric pianos and synths drifting across a flowing bass ostinato. But the music too often takes a path of least resistance, falling into that shapeless area between Progressive Rock and just plain Rock, in songs like "Destiny", and in the cantina pop nadir of "Set Me Free, Amigo".

It doesn't help that Roye Albrighton's 64-year old voice is more than a little insecure these days. Or that Billy Sherwood's production of the music was so impersonal. Besides playing bass guitar, the ex-Yes factotum recorded and mixed the album at his own studio, investing it with the same faceless professionalism he brought to the latter-day Yes low-point of "Open Your Eyes".

It's always good to hear any band from Prog Rock's golden age still alive and kicking. But not when their well of inspiration is so conspicuously dry.

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 A Spoonful Of Time by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.72 | 51 ratings

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A Spoonful Of Time
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Well ... this is a love and hate kind of album as it is basically a tribute album to the music of others - be it a progrocker or a straight pop rock artist. Those who hate it have their own standings on why they hate it as Nektar has been viewed by many people as one of pioneers of progrock especially in space rock arena. As I am a newsletter member of Nektar, I knew the plan to make this album long before it was recorded and i expected they would make all tribute music become spacey as Nektar music is. When this album came to me last year there was basically no major suprise as I listened to barely minimum improvisations from the original version of the music. I felt indifference actually ...

But ..let me put it this way: whatever setlist the band has selected I can see they are all the songs that at least appricated by the band as having good composotion or whatsoever. This came to my mind when I looked Fly Like an Eagle as one of the setlist played here. I even almost forget this song and the artist who played in the past until I found in the credit list it's Steve Miller. Hah? Steve Miller? I can not understand this straight pop rock music being covered by Nektar? Oh No .... But hold on .... I honestly like this version by Nektar! It's probably when the original version was played as radio hit in the past (something in 80s) I did not pay much attention of the song at all. And now...because it's Nektar, then I enjoy it now. It also happens to the track that I have never heard before: For The Love of Money - which is basically a disco track. But ...surprisingly I can enjoy this version by Nektar.

Another point is that I appreciate the collaboration efforts made by Nektar with other musicians, some are younger generation. I can see the impact when I heard Wish You Were Here where Nektar brought in Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream. The song tastes differently than original Pink Floyd track. Nektar is quite adventurous as they put Mark Kelly play in The Spirit of Radio. There is something disconnected between the music of Rush and Marillion but ,...the result is a good taste of music.

Even though at first I felt indifference ... I can now enjoy the music due to the appreciation side of the thinking like I explain above. And of course I love the cover art work as well. It's basically a good tribute album by Nektar. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 A Tab In The Ocean by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.05 | 396 ratings

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A Tab In The Ocean
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FragileKings

4 stars I am always glad to find out about a progressive rock band whose career spanned several years during the seventies because for me those were the golden years of music and creativity. Eloy, Kaipa, and now Nektar have earned space for themselves on my CD racks. "A Tab in the Ocean" is my first Nektar purchase and will soon be joined by at least a couple more.

Nektar appeal to me for two reasons: that they are considered both a progressive rock band and a proto-metal band. I purchased this CD for the progressive rock but interestingly, after putting it aside and acquiring a stack of proto-metal CDs, I came back to this album and my ears really picked up on the proto-metal elements. As I bought the recent reissue on Purple Pyramid, I got the original 1972 release, the 1976 American re-mix, and the complete album performed live. The digipak CD comes with a booklet explaining the story behind the album, something I always really appreciate when I buy a CD of a band I know little about. I found it interesting to know that Iron Maiden covered "King of Twilight". A fan of the Maiden's earlier material, I never heard them perform this song.

I would say that on this album, Nektar play the kind of guitar-driven rock with hints of jazz now and again that was common among many proto-metal bands of the early 70's but they also include plenty of organ as was also common in many progressive heavy rock bands of the time. While there are no real head-crashing metal moments as one can find on more influential contemporaneous proto-metal bands, Nektar do know how to rock out when it suits them. Instead of going for an audio onslaught, the music of "A Tab in the Ocean" interweaves plenty of subtlety and style with moments of power and energetic finger work on both the fretboard and keyboard. When I first listened to this album it was able to appreciate the music for what it was but wasn't in the mind frame for picking up on the songs well enough to truly enjoy them. However, after my recent proto-metal excursions, I have come back to this album and given it a new ear and I find it a very enjoyable piece of work.

Perhaps like Eloy, Nektar found it easier to write concept albums early on. I am expecting "Remember the Future" in the mail any day now and "Recycle" is on standby in my Amazon shopping cart. I am looking forward to seeing where Nektar went after this well-crafted recording. The second album for a band is often the most difficult because it is usually where they must decide whether to repeat the formula of the debut or take a risk and attempt to move in a new direction. I don't know Nektar's first album but I think this might be one of the better-executed sophomore albums that I have heard. Worth checking out if you enjoy a nicely balanced blend of not-too-heavy proto-metal and not-too-over-the-top progressive rock.

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 Time Machine by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.88 | 39 ratings

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Time Machine
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Still I have to say wow to this record. Wow to a lot of magic stuff and possibilities here, perhaps loosing on some decisions or just my taste, but I must say this record is better than you think it is. Nektar is a long living group which released their first record 1971 an now 2013 they have made their thirteenth studio thing "Time Machine". The band consists of two orginal members: Roye Albrighton (guitars and lead vocals) and Ron Howden(drums and backing vocals) plus the bassist Billy Sherwood and the keyboard player Klaus Henatsch. The record lasts for 67 minutes and there are ten songs of varied quality. The cover picture is very much new age or like a fantasy world, a good one.

So many great components are put together here and I see the thoughts are big, they want something with their music. I here it and therefore I feel the music is honest and a little brave. The instrumentation is extraordinary, every instrument is perfect played. Nektar is also symphonic in many ways, more than psychedelic. It's a lot of sweaping and dreaming here. My big problem with Nektar is the vocals. Sometimes they are pure and good but I can't help feeling they're false, week and maybe badly mixed. The vocals don't work for me!

The best track on the album is as usual the second longest: "If only I could", a perfect prog song with almost everything you would expect. We have the seventies feeling a lot of power AND good vocals(8/10). "Tranquility" (7,5/10) is almost as good and "Set me free amigo" is a different one with good vocals and a latino feeling(7/10). The introducer "A better way" is a powerful piece of prog, unfortunately with inferior vocals(7/10) and "Mocking the moon"(7/10) and "Diamond Eyes"(6/10) are also nice. The other tracks interest me less. The title track for example is rather good with professional instrumentation but vocals and especially the chorus destroy everything(5/10). "Destiny" doesn't either work(4,5/10) and "Talk to me"(5/10) and "Juggernaut"(5/10) are quite bland.

So, as I have written, this is a record with many ingredients I like and a lot I dislike. Don't overlook this record, at least listen to 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7, especially "If Only I Could". Though do they have real problems which results that this could never be a favourite. Three stars!

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 Time Machine by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.88 | 39 ratings

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Time Machine
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Do you know who this is? No. It's Billy Sherwood!

Time Machine is the fourth studio release since Nektar's comeback in the new millennium (not counting the unnecessary cover album A Spoonful Of Time). Out of these four albums 2004's Evolution is my favourite, but Time Machine holds up well with the other recent Nektar albums such as the previous Book Of Days. This time they have enlisted Billy Sherwood (ex-Yes) to play bass as well as to mix and produce the album. Sherwood's Chris Squire-like bass guitar and production talents have left their stamp on this album and is a nice addition to the classic Nektar sound which is still carried by Roye Albrighton's vocals and guitars and Ron Howden's drums and backing vocals. The four man line-up is completed by Klaus Henatsch on keyboards. Some moments even have a slight Sherwood-era Yes feel.

Perhaps it comes with their age, but the mood and themes are generally reflective and backward-looking. It is fair to say that this album has a somewhat softer edge and more ballads than some previous albums, but this is mostly for the better as some of the band's previous attempts to Rock out were less than successful. Especially when they drifted into plain Blues Rock--thankfully, there's none of that here. The material took some time to sink in, and I was initially somewhat disappointed. But after repeated listens a set of good songs revealed itself. The only exception is the embarrassing, Mexican-flavoured Set Me Free, Amigo which I would rather have done without altogether! There are no stand-out tracks as such, but the rest of the songs are all worthy.

Anyone coming to this album expecting another Remember The Future or Recycled is bound to be underwhelmed by Time Machine. But those whose taste extends deeper into the Nektar catalogue (and especially if it covers the band's more recent efforts as well as the older classics) are probably going to like this one too. It is hardly revolutionary, but it maintains the good quality that I have come to expect from Nektar.

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