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Nektar A Tab in the Ocean album cover
4.09 | 718 ratings | 57 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Tab in the Ocean (16:53)
2. Desolation Valley / Waves (8:13)
3. Crying in the Dark (6:29)
4. King of Twilight (4:22)

Total Time 35:57

Bonus tracks on 2004 remaster - Album's 1976 US Mix:
5. A Tab in the Ocean (16:04)
6. Desolation Valley / Waves (8:33)
7. Crying in the Dark (5:14)
8. King of Twilight (4:05)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roye Albrighton / guitars, lead vocals
- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, Mellotron, backing vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, backing vocals
- Ron Howden / drums & percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Helmut Wenske

LP Bellaphon / Bacilus records - BLPS19118 (1972, Germany)
LP United Artists Records - UAG 29499 (1972, UK)
LP Passport Records ‎- PPSD-98017 (1976, US) Remixed August 1976 by Derek More & Larry Fast

CD Bellaphon - 289-09-002 (1987, Germany)
CD Dream Nebula - DNECD 1201 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with 4 bonus tracks (1976 original US mix)

Numerous reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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NEKTAR A Tab in the Ocean ratings distribution

(718 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NEKTAR A Tab in the Ocean reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars "Tab In The Ocean" is one of my all time favourite progressive rock recordings. Psychedelic landscaped atmospheres in a classic progressive rock setting with the highest of crafted songs. "Tab..." is essentially 2 great epic tracks both of which approach the 20 min mark. In my opinion "Tab..." is perhaps the pinnacle NEKTAR album culminating some of their greatest pieces of work ever. Tab contains superb guitar/bass workouts which are layered with organ soaked melodies, vintage classic rock drumming and excellent vocal harmonies. The melodies here are simply amazing and will certainly capture the heart and soul of the listener. Without a question, "Tab In The Ocean" is essential progressive rock and remains to this day one of my all time most treasured progressive rock recordings.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars NEKTARr is another unique progressive band which can hardly be compared to any band. The songs here are varied. Lightly distorted organ is omnipresent. The epic 16 minutes "Tab in the Ocean" is made of aggressive symphonic keyboards and electric guitar full of distortion, near metal sometimes! "Waves" has mellow bits with pure electric guitar sounds. "King of Twilight" has some aggressive guitar parts, and there is a unique repetitive fast single note keyboards pattern a la GENESIS' "Watcher of the "kies". The bass is delightful. The singer's voice is good and even sometimes relax.
Review by Menswear
5 stars The Floyd is back. With more attitude, and heavier. Nektar scores high by their efforts of making hypnotic prog-rock. I'm a total newbie in this category. Don't get me wrong, I like Pink Floyd, but this is Barrett period material....who needs drugs? No need with that.

What struck me first is the alternation between heavy riffs and quieter parts. The switching between hard and softer parts is flowing and never forced, which testifies of thoughtful and careful writing and a desire to not rush things and getting heavy too soon. Good, very good.

Also the band has a powerful sound. Impressive for 1972. Powerful bass/drum interplay. A bit like Focus had in Moving Waves. This is your basic guitar/bass/drum/hammond band, and well, a bit more could've been welcomed. Anyway, the more you listen, the more you discover deeper stuff. Like the cool cat atmosphere of Desolation Valley. The guitar takes you right where you need to be, a bit jazzy, smooth, groovy bass...bullseye.

This record is certainly not a hole in one, but this is a newbie speaking. This is very comforting 'cause if you like the Floyd, jump on it. You'll be on known ground automatically.

I'd like to thank James Unger for the suggestion. Be sure to check out his website (listed in the ProgArchives prog links).

Review by maani
4 stars Although this album probably deserves only three stars, I am giving it a fourth both because of its interesting place in prog, and because the band's progression from Journey to Tab was so remarkable. It should be noted that Tab was released the same year as (among others) Foxtrot, Three Friends, Obscured by Clouds, and Thick as a Brick. In that regard, although it is perhaps not as "great" as any of those, it is nevertheless extremely creative, as well as providing numerous presages to what Nektar would eventually do in creating their three "masterpieces": Remember the Future, Down to Earth, and Recycled. / The somewhat nebulous concept running through the three extended suites on the album is the idea of putting a huge "tab" of LSD in the ocean. In this regard, the album was almost certainly meant to be heard under the influence of hallucinogenics, which definitely intensified the musical experience. However, even without it, the album's arrangements are deceptively simple, with lots of playing around with chromatics and the circle of fifths. / The extended title suite opens with some simple but effective ocean wave and electronic effects, moves into a nice organ figure, and then bursts into a highly theatrical "opening theme," almost like the prelude to a musical. (Stating a "theme" at the beginning of a song would later become a "signature" for the band.) After the extended introduction, there is a section ("Falling"), which is the first time we get a presage of some of the band's later work. Following this is an instrumental section featuring a repeated keyboard pattern (something that would become another "signature" of the band). We then get a beautiful example of Roye Albrighton's distinctive (and, yes, signature) arpeggiated guitar style. The piece ends with a nice recapitulation of the main theme via an organ-based outro. The second "suite" - Desolation Valley/Waves - opens with a very Pink Floyd-ish theme (I believe it may be taken almost directly from something on Atom Heart Mother, which came out the year prior), moving into a nice jazz-tinged section, including some really nice guitar and bass work. This segues into a much harder, "rock"-ier section, and back to the main theme. After another round of this, the piece moves into a quiet jam, with more arpeggiated playing that presages future Nektar works. The suite ends with a nice, peaceful jam. (The quiet jams in the song are strangely reminiscent of The Doors.) The final suite - Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight - opens with a neat wah- wah guitar figure, moving into a seriously "rock and roll" section that presages something (I'm not sure what) on Down to Earth. Then there is a wonderful jam, with the organ, guitar and bass really playing out, as well as one of Albrighton's best solos at 5:20-6:15. As "Crying" segues into "King," we get a solid rhythmic guitar figure (there is very solid rhythm/chordal guitar work throughout the album), and some very Moody Blues-ish vocal harmonies. The song cycles through three of these, plus a short, but particularly good break, and ends abruptly on the - appropriate - final word of the album - "Free." / Although there is some (possibly much) on this album that some might consider more "straightforward" rock than prog, there is no question that Nektar was using new-found prog sensibilities in a deliberate, conscious manner. And they would succeed in "pulling it all together" - spectacularly - with their next album, Remember the Future. In the meantime, A Tab in the Ocean deserves a place in your collection, both as a wonderful example of the band's progression, and as a highly creative, and arguably important, release at a fairly early juncture in prog.
Review by Muzikman
5 stars Folks unfamiliar with the band Nektar think they are from Germany. What actually transpired was the quartet of Englishmen met in Germany in 1969 and formed the band. Ron Howden (drums, percussion), Derek "Mo" Moore (bass, vocals), Alan "Taff" Freeman (keyboards, vocals) and Roye Albrighton (guitar, lead vocals) would become huge in Germany and nearly broke big the in the U.S.

Eclectic Discs/Dream Nebula Recordings have reissued the four critically acclaimed albums that defined the band's career. "A Tab In The Ocean", "Journey To The Center Of The Eye", "Remember The Future" and "Recycled" are lovingly remastered with detailed liner notes for former fans and the newly indoctrinated to enjoy. Their well- known masterpiece "Remember The Future" was appropriately chosen for the SACD format as well as "Journey To The Center Of The Eye".

Their sound was a progressive-psychedelic mixture of rock that was far ahead of its time. For this listener this was a new wonderful listening experience. Prior to receiving these CDs, I had not heard any Nektar music besides a video of "Remember The Future" on a DVD compilation. I can understand now what all the talk has been about the band reforming and going on tour.

Roye Albrighton was the driving force of this band. His skilled guitar playing set the table for his fellow band mates. Each recording was outstanding and stands as a testament to their importance to the history of prog-rock music. What made this so interesting was how the label broke up each album into two parts respectively, the original recordings versus the newly remastered versions. You are now able to hear succinct differences between the two formats for the first time. Both versions are excellent and it was a treat to get the best of both worlds.

Any prog-rock listener will most certainly enjoy taking in this musical paradise in more than once, I listened to each CD four times myself and I know there will be many more spins of each CD down the road. I look forward to catching Nektar 2004 on the road this year to relive all of these great songs in a live setting. I never would have decided to see them in concert if it wasn't for this remastered series.

Rating: 5/5 overall

Review by Proghead
4 stars This was one of the first NEKTAR albums I ever bought, the American LP copy on Passport Records. I have not heard the original 1972 German Bellaphon version, I only heard the 1976 Passport Records version, which was remixed by Larry Fast (who was recording a series of electronic albums at that time on the same label as SYNERGY), so I really can't say the difference in sound. What I do know is "A Tab in the Ocean" is even better than "Journey to the Centre of the Eye", and that's saying a lot, because "Journey..." is such a great album. This time around, many of the spacy Krautrock experiments had been abandoned, concentrating more on great prog rock. No collections of cuts all segued in to each other like their previous, these are actual separate songs.

The album starts with the truly wonderful side-length title track, with plenty of wonderful instrumental passages, as well as vocal passages which tend to be short. "Crying in the Dark" is another favorite of mine, a great rocking number with a great organ solo from Allan "Taff" Freeman that reminds me of CAMEL (and remember this is 1972, when CAMEL were starting to get their recording contract, and they themselves wouldn't have an album released until the following year). "King of Twilight" is dominated by guitar riffs from Roye Allbrighton, and strangely enough, if I remember right, none other than IRON MAIDEN did a cover of this song years later. I understand the current CD reissue contains both the original 1972 mix and the 1976 Larry Fast mix on one disc, probably not to shock American buyers who might have only been familiar with the Passport Records version.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars From the opening strains of a monumental organ theme you know this is going to be Prog Heaven. Right on cue the band crashes in and off we go on a roller-coaster ride of majestic proportions. It is a journey that will take us stomping through rough seas of real heavyweight guitar action, sometimes floating lightly on a calm sea beneath the stars of some mellow verses, bobbing bemused on confused waters of quick-fire disorientating theme changes, or surfing serenely on giant Atlantic rollers as riff follows giant riff.

Along the way we open doors into worlds of such delight that no listener will be able to resist, wow moments that cause an involuntary physical reaction, maybe to break into a beatific grin accompanied by a sudden urge to thump something rhythmically. These guys had hit a rich seam of creativity at this time and few bars are without something exciting happening, toying with our emotions and leaving us wanting more.

Based on trademark riff structures from multi-tracked guitars, title track A Tab In The Ocean has a genuinely complex Symphonic Prog structure, with continuous organic progression throughout, awash with key, tempo and mood changes in an ever-flowing monster of a piece. It even has a final sting in its tail with a fantastic guitar motif at 16:00 that is gone before it has time to sink in. A Tab In The Ocean is one of those beloved 'epics' that ought to stand proud alongside Tarkus, Supper's Ready and Close To The Edge as a shining example of the best of Prog.

After a noisy start, Desolation Alley settles into a cool groove, jazz-inspired but with a hint of Floydian blues too, notable by some lovely touches from organ and bass. A mid-song instrumental ups the tempo with guitars and organ bashing away as the bass holds tension. Later, a languid mood is maintained by the wonderful Waves with its spoken vocal, an old Moody Blues trick and very well executed.

Crying In The Dark begins quietly, slowly building tension until a killer riff is finally unleashed. Forever shifting and changing within a hard rock framework, the track proceeds with organ and guitar soloing to segue into King Of Twilight which continues the mood with staccato percussion and a welcome touch of Mellotron choir. It also contains some stunning instrumentals including thrusting power space rock, and it rocks off to an unexpected abrupt end on the word 'free'. Rock doesn't get much better than this!

One thing about Nektar - each album had its own special imprint, a character quite distinct from its siblings. A Tab In The Ocean is their most overtly Classic Prog, less psychedelic and more assured than Journey To The Centre Of The Eye, darker and less 'vocal' than the funkier, more mainstream road they would later travel. Despite Albrighton's dominant, almost virtuoso, performance on guitar, there is little soloing as such, just lots of solid riffs and structured progressions dripping with Prog quality oozing from every pore.

Aside from his uplifting guitar, Albrighton's singing is fine without being special or noteworthy, perfectly in keeping with the mood of the music. Taff Freeman plays a mean Hammond throughout, only occasionally jumping to something different, but is slightly too recessed in an otherwise excellent transparent production. Mo Moore's bass playing is always strong, and quite forward, often playing semi-lead runs like Jon Camp of Renaissance as a counterpoint while at other times laying a solid foundation for the others.

A Tab In The Ocean was remastered and released in 2004 by Dream Nebula with two versions on the CD - the original German 1972 mix, and a vastly inferior USA 1976 version. Sound is good, though there would appear to some slight problems with a wobbly bottom on one or two occasions. It is presented with a decent booklet containing lyrics and extensive interesting notes.

In the 1970s, Nektar passed underneath my radar, as they must have for most British Prog fans of the time. It was only later I discovered them and soon realised the error of my ways, but I still find it sad they don't command the same respect as Yes or Genesis. A Tab In The Ocean remains a phenomonal achievement, well deserving of a place in all classic Prog collections.

And all this arose from a chance remark, while admiring the antics of some captive fish, wondering what would happen if someone dropped a giant tab in the ocean!

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nektar is another of those great bands which their better efforts were released in the early 70`s .

In 1971 their second album named A Tab in the Ocean with a better and more challenging sound as their first album, giving us a blend of symphonic sound, an strong symphonic sound in my opinion, with also their nature psychedelic sound, a bit alike to their contemporary Eloy for example.

The first song is by far the best song of the album, in all the ways, musically, lyrically and everything , it has a lenght of 16 minutes, so it`s an epic and a great introduction to the album, actually the beginning of the song reminds me a lot of Genesis, i can imagine Genesis influenced Nektar in so many ways (as well to other bands) , i said this because the organ sound is quite similar to those Genesis peak moments, then the composition and complexity of the song is excellent, in fact this song pass to me so quickly despite being more than 15 minutes, that`s a fact that i adore in the songs, i truly enjoy it and like all the beautiful and enjoyable things passes fast, honestly the whole album is great, but as a single song this is the best moment of it.

That`s why i could say that the album is losing a bit of great moments and it`s decadent during the other songs (which are great as well, but not as the same level of the self titled song).

For some strange reason i remember Focus in the second song, the guitar sound , not reminding me of the best Jakermann momens, but somewhere in Mother Focus i remember it, obviously Mother Focurs was released years after A Tab in the Ocean but i knew it before, this song also has a bit and rich jazz sound , but then the song becomes faster and greater, some changes and all oriented and leade by the guitar and drums.

I think the term of space prog is not so applicable here, is a vast term which could be used by any band trying to experiment some of those sounds and noises, creating different atmospheres and passages, in this album i dont think its full of those moments, despite it`s one of the best albums of this psych /space band, we notice in some moments a clear hard rock and great use of synths over it. The last song is great to finish the album , the music and harmony vocals are great over there , so what a best end to a nice album.

Which in my opinion is not a masterpiece, but an album which everyone could enjoy and must listen, so another 4 stars for me.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Following in the psychedelic path that their debut album "Journey to teh Centre of the Eye" had delivered so well in a well-accomplished somber mood, Nektar decided to create a ballsier mood and a tighter sound for their sophomore effort "A Tab in the Ocean". In my opinion, and I happen to disagree with most of Nektar experts on this, I don't find the repetoire as effective and accomplished as in their debut, since the musical ideas tend to be less elaborated and more focused on repeating motifs without too many noticeable variations on them. On the other hand, it's clear that Nektar didn't intend to blatantly repeat themselves, and even more: this one happens to be the album in which the prototypical Nektar sound solidifies, particularly regarding Moore's ever intruding bass lines. This time, they would explore the symphonic trend a bit further while preserving their relentless taste for psyche-rock driven jams. The opening namesake suite, which filled the 16+ minutes of the vinyl's original version is an example of the virtues and relative shortcomings of the album as a whole. The majestic organ chord progressions of the opening theme and the solid bass playing by Derek Moore encapsulate a musical box in which the drums create a tightly precise foundation and the guitar displays effective harmonies and catchy solos. The sections flow into each other in a seamless continuum, and that's good, but it's also true that the piece was conceived in such a manner that the complexity wouldn't become a "problem" for the performers. In a way it is a pity, since these guys can do more complex things regarding the links between diverse musica lsections, as they had already shown in the "Journey" album and repeat beautifully in their 1975's album "Recycled". Anyway, my personal balance for the 'A Tab' suite is positive, especially regarding that special magic Nektar-style. The dual track 'Desolation Valley / Waves' finds the band creating jams around Allbrighton's guitar from the nucleus of simplistic, catchy melodic lines. Some jazz in here, some hard rock in there, but mostly this is psychedelic prog rock somewhat related to PF and the melodic side of krautrock. The last two segued tracks are definitive highlights in Nektar's history. 'Cryin' in the Dark' is an energetic rocker whose expansions give enough room for alterated organ and guitar leads, while 'King of Twilight' brings the mst majestic passages in the album after the opening suite. The moderate complexity generated by its semi-epic structure allows this closure to end this album effectively. 3.5-4 stars for this one.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Climb aboard imaginary waves of thought beneath the veils of bluey green"

I was introduced to Nektar when a friend, who no longer had a turntable, gave me his entire vinyl collection. While much of the music he gave me was dance and pop related, there were a few more interesting albums, including four by Nektar.

Unlike their emphatic opening statement, "Journey to the centre of the eye", the band's second album, "A tab in the ocean" is not a complete concept album. That said, the whole of the first side is occupied by the single piece which give the album its name. The lyrics of this track are suitably psychedelic, with a drug related undercurrent and imagery, along the lines of "Lucy in the sky with diamonds".

The track opens with drifting ocean sounds which are quickly overtaken by a building organ motif, followed by an ELP like marching theme. We are then taken through a succession of FLOYDIAN themes leading to the opening distorted vocals. The piece has a distinctly heavy feel, while staying well away from any metallic influences. The organ playing of Allan "Taff" Freeman's (no relation to "Fluff") is dominant throughout as the piece weaves it way through successive melodies and moods. It is interesting to speculate on what might have become of this epic had it been recorded by ELP or YES. There can be little doubt that, but for the inexplicable lack of awareness of the band especially in the English speaking nations, such pieces by them would now sit alongside "Close to the edge" and "Tarkus" at the top table of prog masterpieces.

Taking of "Tarkus", these is a bit of a feel of two sides to the story with "A Tab in the ocean". The second side is occupied by four shorter tracks, paired together to make two longer ones. "Desolation valley/waves" has many of the ingredients which make the epic title track so appealing, but somehow lacks the refinement of the finished product. It is nevertheless, a fine piece of music which leans towards early GENESIS ("Trespass", "Nursery Cryme") to a greater extent than most of Nektar's output. "Cryin' in the dark/King of twilight" sounds great, with some superb guitar work by Albrighton. Here too though, the track is overshadowed by what has gone before.

The main gripe about "A tab in the ocean" is that it is woefully short, even for an LP. At less than 34 minutes, and only 16 minutes for the title track which occupies the whole of one side, there is a real feeling that the album is over far too quickly. Some CD reissues attempt to rectify this by simply including different mixes of the album.

In all, this is a fine second album by a criminally under recognised band. Those who enjoy powerful symphonic prog should investigate without delay.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Nektar was one of my first prog bands that i own. I did not consider this one a masterpiece of the early'70, not even on thier own catalogue, but for sure is better then the previous one from 1971. The best Nektar to me is Recycled, however their is some difference between this one and later on albums. This is more spacy with lots of mid tempo keys, something ala Pink Floyd but more vague. 3 stars for this one, and i do not consider a must, but wort check out.
Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Are they not Germans?

My first introduction to NEKTAR was “Remember the Future” album. A nice record (two side-long epics), a bit boring and predictable at times, but a real gem for ELOY lovers. It had that unique German rough sound, and bordered Symphonic Prog at times. “A Tab in the Ocean” followed almost the same scheme – rough soundproducing, rock drive, but gentle melodies, long interplays and obvious FLOYDian spirit. Tracks like “King of Twilight” are absolute rockers, cool and enjoyable. To be short – Kraut meets Mike Oldfield! If you’re into early 70s unsophisticated sound and atmosphere and haven’t experienced NEKTAR yet, you should do yourself a favour. Recommended.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

TAB IN THE OCEAN is often considered by many fans of the group as their crowning achievement and i can understand why even if i prefer JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EYE. This album is definitely more mature than its predecessor, less ''smoky '', more organized, but it also has lost its psychedelic craziness that was present on the first album.

We have more of a serious album a la YES with a very well worked long suite which take the ex- whole side 1 of the LP and 3 tracks on side 2. The space side of the band is gone for sure to leave room for more structured compositions and a more (hard!!!) rock edge.

The best song is of course the title track, a real prog classic any symphonic rock lover will like.Especially the beginning is absolutely GRANDIOSE and is as great as prog can be. Majestic organ a la FOCUS, a nice guitar riff and pounding marching drums bringing you all the way to total ecstasy, very symphonic: a total delight that has to be heard by any prog lover. I am surprised to notice that this album and other NEKTAR albums from their golden era are getting just a few reviews...on a prog site.

Please stop listening for a moment to FOXTROT and CTTE and make yourself a favor: get NEKTAR, get early NOVALIS, get GROBSCHNITT and discover absolute symphonic jewels fom the time when prog was king.They deserve to be discovered and you won't be disappointed .

The second side is more of a straightforward affair ,with a harder sound of guitar! No, that's not metal but remember IRON MAIDEN made a cover of the last song KING OF TWILIGHT!! that's telling you something! DESOLATION VALLEY is a very nice moody tune that is still played live by NEKTAR these days. CRYING IN THE DARK is kind of hard rockish, with a lot of ALLBRIGHTON playing the guitar hero, not too prog enough for my taste.

A very good album that should be in any prog collection, at least for the self titled suite, a monument to symphonic prog. Also the cover is wonderful and is a pice of art, well in the spirit of these times!!


Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars A year after their debut album (but this was the pace in those days : one album per year), "Nektar" released "Tab". The band has evolved considerably in this short period of time. Almost of the glorious psychedelia has gone. Songs are on a longer side as well, more sophisticated, elaborated. Harder and rockier.

The title track and central piece of the album is a highlight of course. Lots of themes available (even some sort of "Bolero" is featured). I have mentioned many times that the "Watcher" riff has been "borrowed" a lot but "BolÚro" holds the comparison. This track reminds me at time ELP or Wakeman ("Tab" of course, not the "BolÚro"). Church organ to start. A bit pompous. Vocals are not superb but Ilike very much the instrumental parts (although more on the heavy side at times). The closing section is particularly well polished and bombastic. This part is probably the best one of the album.

But this album is worth more than just one track. I like very much "Desolation Valley". Probably the most related to space-rock although a bit jazzy during the intro. Second part is the best one. "Waves" is more tranquil, very soft intro. Nice background "vocals".

"King Of Twighlight" is another very good song from this album. It is a fine summary of what's available : harmonious intro, the song will get harder and harder. It finishes as a great hard-rock one but with subtle and very pleasant vocals. The keyboard riff is really great.

"Crying In The Dark" explores more their rocking side : heavier and really powerful. Vocals are fully Greg Lake oriented.

I preferred their first opus for its psychedelic and "Floyd" approach. This one is more related to ELP although more personal.

Still : four stars.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Nektar cranks up the power chords and decides to rock!

This album tends to become less inspiring over time, though there's a fair bit of creativity. The first thing that pops out after repeated listens is the quality: it's 1972, and this muddy sound is the best you can do? Maybe they should have stayed in Britain--if this would have gotten Who's Next production, then we may have close to a masterpiece. As it stands, many of the good ideas lose some of their impact, and the result is a good, yet not great, album.

A Tab in the Ocean. This one really loses interest over time for me. There are different themes, and each is fairly catchy, but there's no denying that this is basically fifteen minutes of quarter notes and keyboard triplets. Also, I haven't seen anyone else mention this, but it seems that they really struggle to keep up the tempo in places--this should be much bouncier, but as it stands, there's a lot of dragging going on. The guitar is very simple (though the power chords are largely effective), and the organ is basically at beginner's level. The title track could have been much better, given the decent melodies and song structure.

Desolation Valley/Waves. A jazzy piece, slightly reminiscent of Yes' beginnings. There is some rocking guitar, but the mellow parts make it difficult to listen far enough to appreciate them properly.

Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight. Unlike most reviewers, this is the absolute highlight of the album for me. These two tracks are basically one 10 minute, hard-rocking tour-de-force. There is no problem with production, tempo-dragging, or holding back (especially on the guitar and drums) here. The guitar section in Crying in the Dark has an incredible, face-melting build, and just when you think it's over, Nektar kicks it up a notch for the killer King of Twilight. One of the best album endings out there for me!

Don't get my 3 star rating wrong--you probably need this album in your prog collection, but it shows both the strengths and limitations of Nektar. Too bad they couldn't find a middle ground between this and their next album--the rocking on this album and production of Remember the Future would have made a killer combo.

Review by russellk
3 stars No doubt in my mind that this is superior psychedelic rock.

The title says it all. A tab of what? Where? Apparently the eponymous tab would explain why fish behave so strangely ... and, I'd imagine, was a signal to prospective purchasers that they were in for forty minutes of drugged-out bliss. The title track is an excellent epic, with a gentle start and a powerful finish, with much to entertain the listener in between. Guitar and keyboards lay an impressive foundation for the vocals, which, along with the lyrics, are perhaps the weakest part of this outfit: very generic sounding, which was never a curse with PINK FLOYD, but is definitely a handicap here.

'Desolation Alley/Waves', the second suite, is good old blues with a psychedelic twist. It contains a killer riff and wonderful bass lines, and is easily the most immediate of the three suites on the album, paying out on the first listen. 'Cryin' in the Dark/King of Twilight' is less immediate, but is still a considerable achievement, with pride of place going to ALBRIGHTON's guitar.

Not quite four stars, but a competent effort nonetheless. NEKTAR would get better from here.

Review by FruMp
4 stars A Tab in the Ocean certainly lives up to it's name.

This album is a gem of the space-rock genre and contains some of the finest space-rock material I've heard, unfortunately though there is quite a disparity between the good tracks of this album and the not-so-good tracks.

Starting off, the title track is easily the best song on the album with some very strong melodies some great heavy organ work and some engaging vocal harmonies, this is one of the best sapce-rock epics there is and unfortunately it really overshadows everything else on the album. 'Desolation Valley' is a slower song that is quite good when it's upbeat and faster but fails to really carry on the momentum of the title track. 'Crying in the Dark' is probably the weakest track on the album as it's a more straight up blues-rock affair. 'Kings of Twilight' ends the album fairly well with a re-iteration of many of the motifs introduced in the title track.

A Tab in the Ocean is a great space-rock album with some amazing psychedelic moments but it's pretty much one exceptional track and 3 or 4 fairly decent ones. Still it's a worthy addition to any space-rock fan's collection.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars A what in the ocean?

A Tab In The Ocean was Nektar's second album and a great improvement over their debut. While the debut album was very much of it's time and could have been made by any one of a large number of contemporaries, A Tab In The Ocean is an album that stands out as quite unique. It was with this album that Nektar began to find their very own distinctive sound that they would carry with them until the present day (in a number of different forms). The biggest difference between the two first Nektar albums is perhaps their discovery here of their melodic sensibility that was clearly a bit lacking on the debut. It would improve even further on albums like Remember The Future and Recycled, but A Tab In The Ocean has much more melodic and memorable songs compared to the Journey To The Centre Of The Eye.

The songs from this album would become strong live favourites for the band. On a recently recorded live DVD that I have, called Pure: Live In Germany 2005, all the songs from this album are performed!

There is not much more to say, I think. While I enjoy Remember The Future and Recycled more, A Tab In The Ocean is also highly recommeded!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Tab in the Ocean is a prog classic of epic proportions.

The opening mini epic 'A Tab in the Ocean ' is an intricate narrative that shifts in metrical patterns and detours in multiple directions yet it all holds together beautifully. This is one of the best albums of the early 70s. Every section of the multi movement suite is dynamic.

'Desolation Valley' has a labyrinthine array of stabbing riffs, pounding drums, a clamour of keyboards and guitars that drive it to its incredible conclusion.

'Waves ' acts as a type of intermission. Peaceful, preparing us for the onslaught.

'Cryin' In The Dark' has a wonderful guitar riff and terrific vocal performance from Roye Albrighton.

This blends seamlessly into 'King of Twilight' both concert favourites and deservedly so.

In fact every track is undoubtedly the best Nektar has in the catalogue and they would not deny this, having used the majority of album material in their recent reunion DVD.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 01. A Tab In The Ocean The epic begins with a typical sounds Space Rock (Space Rock), but the introduction of keyboard not mistaken, this is progressive high quality. The Nektar those bands is that almost nobody knows, but it is sensational. The track that gives name to the disc and that the opening is no shadow of a doubt absolute classic. The first part is almost military in its beat and its strange melody. Roye of the guitars are sensational, and with the voice of Derek who also were sensational, in a fake German accent, as the band is actually English (but was formed in Hamburg). Somewhat krautrock and well sharpened. The second part is the voice of Roye, who also are excellent. Along the magnificent riffs and passages. After a string dual voice, we have one of those riff ad infinitum that I love so much, bass, guitar and keyboard playing all together, and it is clear that the battery of Ron Howden accompanies all with great class. Many Vocalizations give the play sequence. Most sensational part, in this case emotional and emotive, with a cool riff. After a series of vocal very well executed, returns to the initial melody keyboard, emphasizing the beginning and end. Classic bitch!

02. Desolation Valley / Waves The second part starts triggering off with the riff of sensational start in a sequence almost jazz, to get the perfect bed for Roye sing so superb that [%*!#]ing music. Line bottom of sensational Derek Mo. Waves begins with vocalizations, hypnotic drums and keyboards in check. Simply sensational voice of the party, even without equal.

03. Cryin 'In The Dark Here the guitar wha starts filling their ears with all the will (actually are 2). That voice of hell, sensational. Several unforgettable riffs, the band was a factory of them. Can I risk that reaches final dobradinha be better than the best of dobradinhas end of discs (which in my opinion is Brain Damage / Eclipse of The Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973 of Pink Floyd), this is knocking out the front.

04. King Of Twilight And there we go with King Of Twilight, the epic voice of the beginning, the dry and repetitive riff, the lyrics sung in chorus. Great chorus riff and more. For the middle front of the guitar solo is full of duplicity and bases low, keyboards, drums and guitar genius. End dry, with more I like.

This disc is without a shadow of a doubt, great! I have no words to tell how this disc is good. Hearing mandatory!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars NEKTAR were from the UK but lived and played in Germany where they enjoyed a lot of success.They employed Mick Brockett as their lighting technician, which was a smart move because their stage shows helped draw in the big crowds. Mick had previously worked with PINK FLOYD. This was recorded at Dieter Dierks studio in October of 1972. The band was trying to come up with a title for this album when one day while watching the fish in the aquariam at their house someone said something like "What would happen if a giant tab of acid was dropped in the sea". They had found their title and concept for the new album. Moore related how NEKTAR were influenced by ambitious bands like YES, and he felt that the title track really stretched them out in that direction.This album would result in the band being signed to a major label, and then being chosen by Frank Zappa to open for him in his European tour in support of "Overnite Sensation".

"A Tab In The Ocean" is the almost 17 minute side long opener. Ocean-like sounds to open as organ rises out of the waves followed by a full sound. This is very Symphonic actually. Guitar then vocals after 3 1/2 minutes as it settles. This is more Psychedelic. I really like when the vocals return 6 1/2 minutes in. A good instrumental section follows 8 1/2 minutes in. Vocal melodies after 10 1/2 minutes. A nice heavy passage with organ comes and goes. Vocals are back before 13 minutes.The guitar 14 minutes in is like sunshine for me. Organ then takes over. It ends as it began with ocean sounds.

"Desolation Valley / Waves" has a nice intro but it calms down quickly with reserved vocals. Sounds start to build 2 minutes in with guitar and organ as the opening melody returns. The contrast continues until we get a calm as the "Waves" section comes in with spoken words. "Crying In The Dark" kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar cries out before 4 minutes followed by an organ solo. The guitar before 5 1/2 minutes lights it up. Nice. "King Of Twilight" would be covered by IRON MAIDEN. This is pretty straight-forward uptempo song with vocal melodies. Lots of energy and even some mellotron.

A solid 4 stars.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars A mildly engaging blend of heavy British psych and the burgeoning German progressive scene, NEKTAR was one of those few Continental progressive bands to score big in America, even if it was only for one album, that being "Remember the Future". "A Tab in The Ocean" was not even released in the US, but it can easily be seen as an as-yet barely formed precursor to their most popular and best album.

Most of the pieces of the puzzle are already assembled: the blaring and imposing organ of Allan Freeman, the nimble bass of Derek Moore, and especially the rapid fire riffing style of axeman Roy Albrighton. Unfortunately, and particularly on the "epic" title track and the jam oriented "Crying in the Dark", they aren't working together all that well. And as for Albrighton's vocals, never the group's trump card, they are weak right almost from beginning to end. This album can pass between the ears multiple times with only "Desolation Valley", thanks to its sci fi bass line, and the virile "King of Twilight", perhaps the group's tightest and most coherent track, leaving a lasting impression.

If I am forced to focus at gunpoint, I can indeed find pleasing work outside of those high points, particularly in the lengthiest cut, but it never quite comes together as a work worthy of its intended import. I can see why some might rate this highly, simply on the basis of virtuosity and exuberance, but there are plenty of tastier fish in the sea that won't leave you hungering for substance. 2.5 stars rounded down

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I discovered Nektar for myself quite late, and possibly for good. Looking from few decades time distance, they are absolute 70-s classics. Speaking about "A Tab In The Ocean" - one the best their album, each prog fan will find something for himself there. Something he likes.

Possibly the easiest way to describe album's music is just to imagine well balanced mix of Pink Ployd slight psychedelic, Uriah Heep heavy keyboards-led prog and the result mixture as very-German produced sound. All instrumentations are great, vocals -very competent, songs have their melodies, but most important - common atmosphere is real 70-s (in their greatest form).

So -as a result you hear excellent and original music, which became even better with time (better - in a sense of prog classic), long compositions and great musicianship. Real gem for fans of progressive classics from 70-s!

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Tab In The Ocean is a competent early 70s prog album from Nektar, a UK band that occupies a middle-ground between symphonic and space-rock, sounding like a German kraut band doing symphonic Prog. Somehow I associate the band with Eloy's early albums, offering a similar mix of organ-heavy symphonic rock.

The musicianship is generally very enjoyable, it almost reaches outstanding levels but especially on the long title track there's still a lot of room for improvement. The piece lacks that flash of brilliance to make the songs as memorable as say a Genesis or Yes epic. The reason may be the vocal melodies which have not evolved much beyond 60s psychedelic standards. The shorter songs manage to convince me a lot more, being fresher and a lot tighter. I can see some Hawkwind fans digging this.

A Tab In The Ocean is a fine album that easily holds its ground against other bands operating in the shadow of the giants. But it's not a lost masterpiece. 3.5 stars of course.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 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.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nektar's '72 offering showed a very good band doing very good music that yielded some very good things. It also sounds dreadful and though not necessarily a deal-breaker with earlier progressive rock, A Tab in the Ocean's production is simply grating, and that's a real shame. But I'm a fair man and somewhere behind the veil of pockmarks, inexplicable surface noise and a mix apparently mastered by a deaf man, there is a very reasonable symphonic spacerock record.

Allan Freeman's organ has a full, churchly quality that holds things together, the band adding accents and flourishes where appropriate. Derek Moore's nimble bass and his & Roye Albrighton's singing is fine and the fifteen minute title has more than a few exciting peaks. But I am reminded of the 18th century French painters vying for the Prix de Rome who, though highly talented all, weren't quite ready yet. 'Desolation Valley/Waves' is another bumpy road with sporadic flashes of greatness and Pink colorations, leads into not half-bad atomic rocker 'Crying in the Dark' and finishes with rather good vocal/grinder 'King of Twilight' in an odd meeting of Ennio Morricone and cheesy vocal-oriented rock.

At a total of thirty-six minutes and considering this group's other, better releases, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend the typical progster drop more than about ten bucks on this puppy. And though the 2011 It'sAboutMusic reissue includes a second disc of early unreleased material, it does not sweeten this somewhat lackluster pot.

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars A Tab In The Ocean is an album that I picked up after stating that I've always found space-rock/psychedelic rock to be very boring, so Nektar was suggested to me as an essential band in the genre and that I should listen to them. I hesitated for a while, but I'm glad I finally got around to listening to this album - it's a decent listen.

I actually didn't care much for the album on first listen, and still the only passage in the title- track that I enjoy is the jam-session portion during the last 7 minutes. "Desolation Valley- Waves" however is built on a beautiful psychedelic motif that gets stuck in my head for hours, and seems very sincere. The remainder of the album is bluesy guitar-oriented jam psychedelia that reminds me of a much more energetic re-imagining of Pink Floyd, or possibly just Barrett- era Pink Floyd.

Nothing on this album really satisfies me as much as the track "Desolation Valley-Waves", so I suppose that I'm still not a space-rock or psychedelic rock fan, but at least I gave this album a try. I could definitely see this album being adored by space-rock fans, and I would definitely have to say that I would strongly suggest this to anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A Tab In the Ocean sees Nektar incorporate a few symphonic elements into their space rock model, particularly in the synthesiser work on the title track. It also has some fascinating studio effects, such as the strange echo effect on the vocals to King of Twilight. Although this combination of symphonic-influenced compositional practices and studio magic would, in my opinion, come to fruition fully only on the masterful Recycled, this is still a great early prog album which proves that in 1972 Nektar could stand proud next to the likes of Genesis and Gentle Giant. Four stars, very comfortably, perhaps even four and a half.
Review by Sinusoid
4 stars It sounds like everything Nektar ever wanted to be came to fruition on REMEMBER THE FUTURE. This album is at worst the blueprint to FUTURE, but TAB IN THE OCEAN can at least stand on its own.

The excellent half of the album is actually the second side. The blistering hard rock of ''Cryin' in the Dark'' and ''King of Twilight'' is up there with the best of them. They envy REO Speedwagon in terms of sound, but strike that headbanging lobe in the right spot with a dash of their prime psychedelic tone. Add that to the smoother psych/blues/jazz of ''Desolation Valley'' and the world's most interesting void in ''Waves'' (recent CD remasters merge those two tracks), and the end result is psych rock nearing excellence.

Unfortunately, the epic could have used some working the kinks out. While the riffs are dynamite (particularly the opening march), the singing is dramatically there and the psych is proper, the connecting/flow is poor. It's a bunch of cool psych riffs ruined by haphazard cutting and pasting. I could crab that more streamlined jams needed to come out of these sessions, but then Nektar dropped SOUNDS LIKE THIS on the world, an album with some of the poorest jam sessions I've ever heard.

If you want Nektar to sound more prog, TAB IN THE OCEAN is right for you. However, REMEMBER THE FUTURE is where one should start discovering Nektar.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Aah, yes, the old "Tab in the ocean" has to be one of my all time favourite prog albums. Hearing the tremendous music behind the glorious cover was sheer bliss. And still is, mind you, the odd 15 years after I first. Heard it. Listening to it again, for the first time in a year or two I still get the same sensation of joy and amazement. I've always stated that a song lasting anywhere between 15, 20, 25 or 30 minutes but feels like two must be some sort of masterpiece. The way the music flows in the title track is amazing. It pulsates, grooves, intrigues, fascinates and brings great pleasure, never allowing me as a listener to wander off elsewhere in the mind. I'm there, concentrated and stuck in the moment for the whole duration. That's class and classic, in my opinion. The remainder of the album is in similar quality - great music, steeped in hard rock but firmly grasping the progressive genre, encompassing space-rock. The music is intriguing but not too overly complex. There's much to discover but I find it to be likeable in an instant. The recording will not provide you with the clearest sound you'll ever hearbut for me that's besides the point. The music is what matters and though I sometime wish they'd been able to record it in a slightly more crisp way I now feel it's part of the charm. A true classic and a timeless album. Not in the sense it could have been recorded at anytime between then and now. It's a timeless album in the sense that it's just as good today that it was back then. Not dated, only matured and rich in taste.
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.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars Nektar occupies a strange teritory of progressive rock. Here classified as Psychedelic/Space Rock, it differs from most prog rock bands. Music from "A Tab In The Ocean" could be described as a fusion of Focus-esque pastoral sound at times, watery passages and jams à la Pink Floyd with Nektar's own type of very heavy rock quality.

The album starts out with a title track, "A Tab In The Ocean", which is based on an organ passage, very similar to what you can find on many Focus' releases and some by early Genesis. It descends into a smooth spacey jam. Next up, we have "Desolation Valley", my favorite piece from this album, based on a catchy riff. Roye Albrighton's crispy, curnchy guitar tone really comes alive here. His singing is equally enjoyable! "Waves" is a tune that sort of reminds me of The Moody Blues,. It links with the previous track. "Crying In The Dark" is a dry, up-beat tempo with a nice organ and guitar playing. "King Of Twilight" is another enjoyable song, but my least favorite piece on this album. Again, a pretty heavy, military-inspired rhythm, nice vocals and a spacey quality, only to be created by Nektar.

All things considered, this is a very important album in prog rock history and most experts will tell you - it is a must-have. An excellent work, a very rewarding journey into Nektar's great musical minds. Sometimes, I find it just a bit boring, lacking a variety from these heavy, spacey jams, which makes me give this album well deserved 4.5 stars! Very highly recommended!

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars Nektar's Tab in the Ocean is a wonderful mix of subtly and bombast. In it's very tight running time we're given a handful of well-composed works that sweep us up in a journey that feels symphonic and psychedelic while also cranking out jams with a rock-your-socks off attitude. One moment you're drifting through Neptune's world with the jellyfish and sea turtles, taking in a palette of sensations through the band's thoughtful use of open space, the next you're building momentum to grand, dramatic crescendos that rise like a wave and crash on the shore to the irresistible guitar riffing tone of '70's hard rock perfection.

The album plays like two extended pieces, emphasizing the group's guitar players with a bottom-heavy intensity that grabs hold of you like a rip-tide. While a little rough around the edges and showing the production quality on the low end of what the era could produce, Tab in the Ocean is a great prog rock album. Nektar ups their game from their debut, the more abstract and spacey Journey to the Center of the Eye, showing us a strong sense of energy and performance. This album is simply a ton of fun, even though it's not as strongly written as some of their later works.

If you enjoy the early '70's sound of prog or fuzz-heavy guitar goodness, then I highly recommend Tab in the Ocean. It may not be the go-to Nektar album, but it's so much fun that it's easy to overlook the album's shortcomings. Don't miss out on this great release by one of prog-rock's under rated groups!

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Despite having settled in Germany as British ex-pats, the members of NEKTAR just couldn't shake their British heritage and still looked to their roots for inspiration. While the band's debut "Journey To The Centre Of The Eye" flirted with the nascent world of psychedelic freakery that Germany was developing in the form of Krautrock, the band ultimately moved past the Pink Floyd meets Amon Duul II aspects of the debut and delivered a second album that relied as much on influences from Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and The Who as it did on the psychedelic mood setting atmospheres of their new adopted homeland. A TAB IN THE OCEAN departed from the cosmic astral travel space rock of the debut and delivered a veritable blend of trippy Floydian marksmanship coupled with the more immediate deliveries of standard hard rock albeit fortified fervently with complex progressive rock excesses which has made this second album a true prog classic.

The album is primarily dominated by the legendary title track which swallowed up the entire A-side of the original vinyl release. Upon first exposure you will be fooled into believing the album is a continuation of the cosmic space ride that was the debut with a psychedelic splurge of electronic sounds that sound like NEKTAR has gone all Tangerine Dream on you but from the distance an organ melody creeps in then steals the show with the opening motif that delivers a brash mix of Genesis inspired organ runs courtesy of Allan Freeman, a more robust guitar playing style of Role Albrighton along with a bantering bass groove from Derek Moore. In addition Rowe Howden also adds his more upbeat percussive driving which when taken together signify a shift into a much heavier style of rock however NEKTAR retained enough of the space rock to keep the psychedelic trippiness alive and well. The near 17-minute title track undergoes many journeys into a style that makes you think of what The Who would sound like if they went full-on progressive.

As the title track morphs into seemingly different tracks nestled in its overarching theme of spiking the entire planet's water systems with consciousness expanding LSD, the band emulates various British bands including Atomic Rooster, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Fuzzy Duck, Wishbone Ash and countless others. As far as German comparisons are concerned Frumpy, Murphy Blend or Birth Control probably come as close as it gets. The track remains bold, dynamic and goes through various motifs that remain melodic and modular and ultimately ends with the same melodic riffing session that started it all. The highlights of the album are by far the title track and the closing "King Of Twilight" with the middle section not quite reaching the same heights. The dual purpose "Desolation Valley / Waves" does its best to emulate the prog perfection of the title track but comes off as a bit mopier however the trippy transition between "Desolation" and "Waves" is notable for its ripping guitar heaviness and organ stab excesses. Likewise "Crying In The Dark" features a rather average blues rock style with organ excess and overall seems a little generic in comparison.

Despite the lull in the middle, the transition between the tracks is extremely inviting and the way "Crying In The Dark" morphs into "King Of Twilight" is utterly brilliant. The album ends beautifully with utterly gorgeous "King Of Twilight" which offers the catchiest pop hooks on the entire album and also showcases some of the most dynamic instrumental interplay. The track features some of the most original guitar and organ playing that play off of each other nicely. The vocal harmonies are also on par with the debut's Moody Blues meets The Beatles vocal dynamics. The brilliant mix of styles that craft myriad variations in how the basic melody is played showcased NEKTAR's true gift of crafting some of the most brilliant heavy prog of the era and then without any time for fussing around the track and album just simply ends the shouting of "FREE!"

Definitely one of the highlights of 70s prog although uneven in its entirely. The band's transition into the hard rock arena was well executed and succeeded in keeping just enough of the space rock to make it unique. The faster tempos emphasized the dynamic skills of the musicians and all of the vocals are pitch perfect throughout the entire album's run. While the middle part is not in the least bit unlistenable, the gorgeous perfection of the title track and closing "King Of Twilight" unfortunately steals the middle section's oxygen supply. Best of all the album really went for the prog jugular with hairpin turns within musical motifs that offered crazy time signature workouts and all the pomp and awe of classic prog without missing a beat of the melodic flow. The band remained on a high point for the next few albums and although this album didn't exactly find them international fame quite yet, the passing decades have perched as their crowning achievement. Personally this is just a step below the debut in my world due to the straggling middle section but it's definitely a tour de force that deserves its status as prog classic.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Nektar adds to the elements of the psychedelic and spacey side of the genre that they used for their debut album "Journey to the Centre of the Eye", hardened guitar riffs and consistent keyboards to create a solid proposal of rocky and rotund structures that the Englishmen settled in German lands execute with mastery and naturalness: "A Tab in the Ocean", their second work.

The eponymous "A Tab in the Ocean" is the centrepiece of the album, an extensive development of overflowing introduction in which Alan Freeman's organ and Roye Albrighton's raspy guitar riffs look forceful and very hard- rocking, and gradually incorporates Ron Howden's marching percussion, Derek Moore's thick bass and Albrighton's megaphonic voice in a psychedelic mode very much in the Floydian vein, thus building a vigorous instrumental wall tinged with arpeggiated guitar passages, and whose final section recreates the introductory melody giving an epic closure to the piece. A gem.

And the mid-tempo, jazzy and calm "Desolation Valley/ Waves" with Albrighton's whispering vocals and the wandering, at times intimate tones of the guitars and keyboards, gives way to the invigorated energy of "Crying in the Dark" and Albrighton's impetuous guitar solos as protagonists, and to the intensity of "King of Twilght" with the band's chorus softening the growing and powerful instrumentation until its abrupt end.

"A Tab in the Ocean", one of Nektar's seminal works, is an excellent album that was probably overshadowed in part by many of the legendary contemporary progressive rock epics released in the same year, 1972.

4/4.5 stars

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4 stars Hawkwind meets Yes in an album SO close to 4.5/5 that it pains me I cannot rate it higher. It's not a masterpiece as 5/5 would indicate, but it comes truly close on being one. Totally psychedelic but not outstretched, very inspired musically, very solid, with not even half a minute of extra music ... (read more)

Report this review (#1594978) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Friday, August 5, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "A Tab In The Ocean" is an absolute Nektar's masterpiece. The songwriting here is more sophisticated that is has been in the past, and the musicianship still reigns supreme, and the compositions are still incredibly complex if not more so. This music is highly psychedelic and jam packed full o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1387191) | Posted by danyboy | Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you're into Space Rock, like me, one day you'll end up bumping into this band called Nektar. In my case it took a few years but I eventually got there. There are all sorts of oddities about Nektar, starting with the fact of this being a British band based in Hamburg. They were well into the Ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#927643) | Posted by Luis de Sousa | Sunday, March 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Maybe my ear for audiophile sounds isn't up to snuff, I have an original vinyl pressing of this fantastic performance, I do not hear the dreadful sound that many have mentioned, certainly not as present and booming, as for example ,the The Camel vinyl I have had the pleasure of listening to, I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#408877) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Sunday, February 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one the albums that make digging into prog history a real deal. I found out Nektar a few years ago and I understood that they were a real underrated gem of the 70's. Though not being an expert in their discography, this album is delightful and must be between their strongest efforts. I f ... (read more)

Report this review (#361846) | Posted by migue091 | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A Little Piece of Prog. A tab in the Ocean adds bands additional musical performance to their previous psychedelic album Journey. From this point of view, personally, it is one of the favorites form Nektar. Album consists of four songs with my personal favorites "A Tab in the Ocean" and Des ... (read more)

Report this review (#285057) | Posted by ibolomania | Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A British-German experience. Nektar, one of the forgotten bands from the seventies, were founded in Hamburg. Due to this fact the band was often compared to the Krautrock bands but I think they made different music than the most of this German bands. Maybe Nektar has some similarities to Eloy ... (read more)

Report this review (#277779) | Posted by Priamus | Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A Tab in the Ocean's title-suite is an astonishing trip; many moods and climates are explored in this mythic seventeen minute journey. You become totally absorbed into this song's landscape by the time the heavy and hypnotic 3/4 riff (at about eight minutes in) begins trampling you like a mammoth ... (read more)

Report this review (#203827) | Posted by AdamHearst | Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the forgotten masterpieces of progressive rock (only 85 ratings as I write this) A Tab In The Ocean doesn't skimp on the over the top, driving, symphonic excess that embodies true prog. The title track is full of heavy percussion and keys surrounding and intermixing with distorted guitar ... (read more)

Report this review (#202514) | Posted by manofmystery | Thursday, February 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought this little sucker for the album cover. Hey any band that puts a bong (or waterpipe) on their artwork was OK by me back in the day. Having heard and loved Remember The Future (thanks Ritchie and John) I was expecting more of the same and boy was I surprised. This album is not like RTF a ... (read more)

Report this review (#177250) | Posted by Tylosand Ektorp | Friday, July 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well here is a band you don┤t hear from it a lot of times. This album impressed me because of that, I mean an album as great as this cannot go unheard. Albrighton, Brockett, Moore, Freeman and Howden made four great musics ( four if we say that Desolation Valley and Waves are the same track) each ... (read more)

Report this review (#116960) | Posted by LeInsomniac | Saturday, March 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nektar is a great symphonic/psychedelic prog band originally from Engand, but essentially became German. Their sound is 70's psych rock trapped in the late sixties. They use alot of keyboard techniques that are very psychedelic and VERY 60's. This review is based on the original german mix. ... (read more)

Report this review (#104802) | Posted by OGTL | Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Togerther with Sounds like this their best album. Firt song is the best being 16+ minutes long and has the storngiest composition parts in whole Nektar career as far as I know it. A tab in the ocean is a mix of rock, psychedelic and a little bit of classical influences. It is a veryy good mix ... (read more)

Report this review (#98866) | Posted by Hejkal | Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've only had the opportunity to listen to this album and "Remember the Future" but from what I've witnessed, Nektar is the most underrated band on Every part of their music fits together beautifully and is executed with precision. "A Tab in the Ocean" deserve ... (read more)

Report this review (#74565) | Posted by Michael Coia | Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Solid and monumental sound, geometrical riffs, great structure of the songs and both the drum and the bass work play an important role that makes Nektar a different band from the other. The powerful voice gives the final touch of strenght to this album, very similar to Salisbury (uriah heep) and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#65504) | Posted by Kord | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are, in my view, three classic prog rock albums of all time: In Rock by Deep Purple, Close to the Edge by Yes and A Tab in the Ocean by Nektar. I had the pleasure of seeing Nektar supporting Frank Zappa (somewhat incompatibly as Bomber Harris said on the Old Grey Whistle Test) in Freibur ... (read more)

Report this review (#19063) | Posted by | Friday, August 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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