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Spektakel - Spektakel CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.82 | 39 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The sole, namesake album by Spektakel is an uncrowned top achievement in the history of Germany's symphonic progressive rock. Having been a live sensation in their country's underground scene, it is a pity that this band couldn't expand their work further beyond this album, since the traces were clear of a certain grandiosity that put them above the likes of Eloy, Novalis and Grobschnitt. Do not be misled by these words ? I love the aforementioned bands and ponder their input for the evolution of German prog rock very positively, but the truth is that the finesse and energy created by Spektakel were superior highlights in the first half of the 70s. You can notice an important recurrence of Floyd- friendly ambiences in many passages, but there are also shades of yes-inspired splendor, as well as slightly Gentle Giant-based resources strategically located in some places when a weird dynamics is required. The album gets started right away with rocking colors, featuring a robust mixture of psychedelic atmospheres and effective drum rolls: this is the beginning of 'The Eternal Question', the track that occupies the first 15 ½ minutes in the album. Once an agile 5/4 jam and a latter ethereal sequence full of typically progressive textures follow, the stage is set for the installation of the main motif. The magical vibration of Yes and Genesis is fluidly intertwined with the mesmerizing spacey overtones that traditional German prog has made its own. At around the 7.30 mark, things get intensified with the arrival of a set of bizarre moods, including chimes, sundry percussive effects and Gothic organ chords, eventually leading to a refined dissonant passage. Once the languid ambience returns, the stage is set for the elaboration of a bombastic climax, which keeps things controlled enough as to not become overdone. 'Big Boss' Eyes' rounds like a mid- tempo early Yes accurately seasoned with some Minnear-esque keyboard and Green- esque guitar inputs. The track keeps an attractive pace with a moderate use of variations; the final 4 minutes are employed for the affirmation of a melodic architecture from which the final motif emerges and settles coherently. Even though this track doesn't equal the efficient majesty of the opening track, it is a powerful progressive adventure in itself. '7 Pounds Tommy' is the long track in charge of the ambitious track to fulfill the album's second half ? 17+ minutes of progressive greatness. With the influences from Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis being moderately recurrent, you can also notice some coincidences with the type of sound that by then, at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Happy The man were doing during its prehistoric age. Rich ambiences and suggestive ornaments get through in order to elaborate melodic motifs that in themselves are not too complex. Later on, a monotonous passage is reiterated to form a cacophonic background for a strange set of effects: a plane that seems to be falling down, people walking and running, a church bell, a clockwork ticking, a woman's gentle orgasm, a newborn crying? those sorts of things? The end of the track states a well-balanced closure for the album's official repertoire. The bonus track is yet another long adventure, this time recorded live: 'No No Not You' lasts a bit longer than 20 minutes. After an extended cosmic intro with heavy avant- garde trends, a jazz-rock jam follows in order to spice things up with an exciting exercise on consistent dynamics, while retaining the density generated during the preceding section. Next is a minimalistic section featuring dual mellotrons, very much a-la Tangerine Dream. Gradually, the band sets up an expansion of musical colors, and when the rhythm section completes a new framework, an extroverted interlude gets in, ultimately leading to a powerful climax. Both Spektakel and "Spektakel" are highly recommended names in a collector's list of next purchases or actual collection of German progressive gems. It is a good sign of the talent comprised in this band that half of it went further to the best progressive trio ever from Germany - Schicke, Führs & Fröhling. As for this band itself, well, I've praised them enough already.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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