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Nektar - Journey to the Centre of the Eye CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.83 | 442 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A fine spectacle

We are fortunate that Roy Albrighton decided to remain in Germany after the demise of the Rainbows, while his band mates went on to form the short lived STILL LIFE (also listed on this site). He formed Nektar there, a band comprised of British members, but with obvious influences from continental Europe. The fact that they chose to remain in Germany has meant that they have always suffered from a significant lack of recognition in their homeland. "Journey to the centre of the eye" was Nektar's first album, and may even have represented the birth of the neo-prog sub-genre (perhaps that is would make a good topic for debate in forum!). Recorded in 1971, this ambitious concept album consists of 13 distinct but linked tracks. The music is simultaneously symphonic and psychedelic, but always Progressive with a capital P.

After opening with an early PINK FLOYD like psychedelic "Prelude", we move into "Astronaut's nightmare". The initial MOODY BLUES sound of the track is deceptive as it quickly becomes darker with opaque guitar sounds and distorted vocals. As the track develops, the repetitive driving sound of HAWKWIND begins to feature with hints of KANSAS thrown in for good measure. And thus we have the essence of Nektar in the first 8 minutes of the album.

The album's concept is that of a rocket leaving earth just prior to a world-wide nuclear war, and encountering strange new galaxies where time and space do not exist as such. The "eye" in question is "The all seeing eye", which contains all the secrets of the universe. This concept is largely played out instrumentally, rather than being described verbatim in the lyrics. The accompanying sleeve notes however describe eloquently the stages of the story.

At times, things can become just a little too indulgent, such as on the chaotic but tuneless "Warp oversight". Things are always tightened up quickly though, in this case by the thundering guitar chords which introduce "The dream nebula".

Those coming to this album now, should remember that it dates from 1971, and thus by today's standards may sound contrived and dated. Conversely, the many influences it displays, even though these date only from the period immediately before it was recorded, imply that the album is not quite as original as it sounds. That said, Nektar have taken those influences and melded them into something which is unique for the period.

In any event, the overriding fact which mitigates anything else is that the music here is well composed, the performances are exemplary, and the album is highly enjoyable. It is all too easy with such albums to attempt to dissect them into their perceived constituent parts, where in reality the best thing to do is to sit down and simply derive pleasure from the music.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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