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Nektar - A Tab In The Ocean CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.07 | 576 ratings

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5 stars IMHO: The most underrated prog artist in music history. Why Roye Albrighton's genius goes unappreciated I cannot fathom. He conveys emotion with his guitar with every strum! (Only surpassed in that department, IMHO, perhaps, by David Gilmour.) They toured with FRANK ZAPPA (who wanted to sign them to his record label)! Mick Brockett, their "liquid light" show man--who was always considered a full band member--had his start doing the light show for the SYD BARRETT PINK FLOYD! In a stretch from 1971 through 1976--the peak years of classic prog--the band produced no less than four prog near-masterpieces ("Journey to the Center of the Eye," "A Tab in the Ocean," "Remember the Future," and "Recycled") and three other very good albums--not to mention a great live album. Those who have been privileged to see them on tour know that this band was really a live band--their sets would usually go on for three to four hours--and their music was totally coordinated with Brockton's multi-dimensional "liquid light" show. Amazing to experience! And these guys' musical abilities and song structures are as complex as they get. I count NEKTAR as one of the 'Big Eight' who's music in the 60s and 70s forever shaped my musical preferences and open-mindedness for the rest of my life (so far). (The others are BURT BACHARACH, THE BEATLES, URIAH HEEP, GENESIS, BRIAN ENO, and MOZART.)

1. "A Tab in the Ocean" (9/10) The album's organ opening far surpasses that of Foxtrot's "Watcher of the Skies." The subtle, almost jazz guitar leads in Desolation Valley preceeding each buildup and eruption of are sublime. The buildups are amazing.

2. "Crying in the Dark" (9/10)

3. "Desolation Valley" (10/10) is, IMO, the greatest song Nektar ever made. The key, tempo, volume, and mood shifts are amazing--and they all work. Like so many Roye Albrighton riffs, the one that opens the song (first 25 seconds)--and is thereafter repeated several times--is one that gets under your skin and just won't let go.

4. "Waves" (10/10) is often included in "Desolation Valley" because of the lack of space between them--one started before the other ended--but the original album has them as separate entities. A beautiful, emotion- and hope-filled song.

4. "King of Twilight" (8/10) is a concert jam favorite but probably my least favorite

There is some lengthy dialogue ongoing as to whether the original German release, the later American release, or the recently re-mastered versions of ATitO is better (see the 52-page thread on ProgressiveEars--which includes the participation of no less than four of the original band members!!) I like them all. The least improvement is in the murkiness of the vocal harmonies. The greatest improvement is in the separation and clarity of the individual instruments--you can really hear the keys, bass, drumming and Roye's astoundingly subtle guitar virtuosity.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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