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Nektar

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Nektar - Remember The Future (1974 Passport PPSD-98002) (1973)

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ITEM# SR-PAPPSD98002
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Nektar

Title:

Remember The Future

Released: 1973
Label: Passport
Catalog: PPSD-98002
Genre: Rock / Progressive Rock
NOTE: This is the 1974 Passport Records reissue
T R A C K L I S T:

01 Remember The Future (PART 1):

A. Images of the Past;
B. Wheel of Time;
C. Remember the Future;
D. Confusion

02 Remember The Future (PART 2):

E. Returning Light;
F. Questions and Answers;
G. Tomorrow Never Comes;
H. Path of Light;
I. Recognition;
J. Let it Grow
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Album Review

by Gary Hill [allmusic.com]

Among Nektar fans, there are many who consider Remember the Future to be the band's creative peak. The album certainly creates the grounds for making that argument. Indeed, it is an ambitious work that is essentially one composition divided into two parts. The whole is performed in a very seamless and competent manner. Still, many critics just plain didn't get it. The juxtaposition of the two opinions makes this album to Nektar much like what Tales From Topographic Oceans was to Yes. The truth is probably somewhere between the two points, as it usually is. It truly is a very entertaining, well-written, and well-performed disc that showcases a very underrated band at the top of their game. Although this album isn't one of their best, it definitely is not a slouch. It does have a few elements that detract from it a bit, though. First, there is a '70s funk sound prevalent on the album that tends to date it a bit. Second, it can get to feel a bit repetitive. The final detriment is that the production quality sometimes feels a bit AM radio-ish and flat. All of these things only go so far in removing the album from the "masterpiece zone," though. The bottom line is that this is a fine progressive rock release that should please not only fans of the band, but fans of groups like Yes and Genesis equally well.


Nektar - Down To Earth [Passport PPSD-98005] (1974)

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ITEM# SR-PAPPSD98005
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Artist:

Nektar

Title:

Down To Earth

Released: 1974
Label: Passport
Catalog: PPSD-98005
Genre: Progressive Rock
NOTE: 1975 US Reissue


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Astral Man
02 Nelly The Elephant
03 Early Morning Clown
04 Thatís Life
05 Fidgety Queen
06 Oh Willy
07 Little Boy
08 Show Me The Way
09 Finale
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Album Review

Paul Collins [allmusic.com]

Depending on who you ask, this is either Nektar's greatest or worst album. As Albrighton explained later, it was the band's attempt to re-invent itself as someone else -- like the Magical Mystery Tour. Old fans were appalled; but as the first album to get much airplay in the U.S., it brought in new fans who found it by far their most accessible work. Its progressive and funk elements are set around a demented circus theme, with the songs introduced by a loony Teutonic ringmaster. ''That's Life,'' powered by chattering drums and a positively orgasmic Rickenbacker bass sound, is a standout of progressive rock showmanship. Delicate pieces like ''Little Boy'' and ''Early Morning Clown'' -- where Albrighton uses rotating Leslie speakers to great effect -- alternate with pub rockers like ''Fidgety Queen'' and the lumbering funk of ''Nelly the Elephant.'' For new fans, this album is the place to start; and if they're willing to take it on its own terms, old fans might find a place in their heart for it too.


Nektar - Magic Is A Child [White Label Promo] (Polydor PD-1-6115) (1977)

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ITEM# SR-POPD16115
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Artist:

Nektar

Title:

Magic Is A Child

Released: 1977
Label: Polydor
Catalog: PD-1-6115
Genre: Rock
NOTE: White Label Promo
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Away From Asgard
02 Magic Is A Child
03 Eerie Lackawanna
04 Midnite Lite
05 Love To Share
(Keep Your Worries Behind You)
06 Train From Nowhere
07 Listen
08 On The Run (The Trucker)
09 Spread Your Wings
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Album Review

by Jo-Ann Greene [allmusic.com]

Magic Is a Child was released in 1977, the debut for new Nektar guitarist Dave Nelson. Carrying on, though, from where their last set left off, Nektar's fascination with shorter, punchier songs continued unabated, even while the keyboards continued to swell and the guitars shifted ever more toward the symphonic. Nektar's brightening vistas were new, however, and a fatal flaw as far as their fans were concerned. They didn't want breezy pop, and breezy pop fans didn't want Nektar, while the band's new label, Polydor, alan_parsonsarently didn't care either way. The art department did spring for the 13-year-old Brooke Shields to alan_parsonsear on the front cover, but that was it in terms of promotion. Thematically, too, little about Magic Is a Child recalls Nektar's days as prog darlings. The opening "Away from Asgard" is a fine slab of Norse storytelling, tied into the vast dark forests of northern Germany (where the band was still based), while "Midnight Light" also has a romantic Germanic tinge, as it eulogizes the village of Seeheimut. "Love to Share," in contrast, is an unabashed Beatles tribute, riddled with affectionate borrowings and an oddly effective backward drum, while "On the Run (The Trucker)" still sounds like a slice of AOR radio filler.

Nektar's Biography

by Bruce Eder [allmusic.com]

The four Englishmen who formed the initial incarnation of Nektar met in Germany and formed the band there in 1969. For a little while in the early to mid-'70s, it seemed like they might take American rock by storm, but that was mostly hype, and by 1975 their big moment had already passed, although they lingered on until the end of the decade and have re-formed in the new millennium, recording several new CDs and alan_parsonsearing at various progressive music festivals.

Allan Freeman (keyboards, vocals), Roye Albrighton (guitar, vocals), Derek Moore (bass, Mellotron, vocals), and Ron Howden (drums) all came to Hamburg from England in 1965 as members of different bands. They met in 1968 at the Star Club, where they discovered some common ground in the Beatles as well as early rock & roll, but were drawn to the more experimental sounds just beginning to emerge on the rock scene. A year later they formed Nektar and began working at combining these influences into an effective whole. By 1970, with a light show (designed and operated by unofficial fifth member Mick Brockett) added to their stage act, they began attracting a growing following in Germany.

They were signed to the Bellaphon label in 1971 and released their debut album, Journey to the Center of the Eye, a year later. Their second album, A Tab in the Ocean, followed later the same year, and achieved a cult following as a direct import. Their extended songs, usually involving extensive variations on the same theme, found a growing audience in an era dominated by the sounds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes. Nektar's sound, built around guitar, electronic keyboards, and bass, was far more gothic, with dense textures that didn't always reproduce well on-stage -- but the fans didn't seem to notice. On radio, however, their music filled in large patches of time and attracted listeners ready to graduate from Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge, and seeking a re-creation of the drug experience in progressive rock.

Their third album, Remember the Future, released in Germany in 1973, was the group's breakthrough record. The title track, broken into two side-length halves, took up the entire record, and became a favorite of FM radio in 1974. The album was followed later in 1973 by Sounds Like This, which was made up of shorter, simpler songs, but it was eclipsed in the United States by the American release of Remember the Future on the Passport label, their first U.S. release. When the group made its New York debut at the Academy of Music on September 28, 1974, Remember the Future was still the only Nektar album officially available in the United States. An indication of their stage presence and the nature of their act can be gleaned from the fact that between the wattage of their instruments and their light show, they blew the power at the Academy of Music upon taking the stage.

Their next album, Down to Earth (1974), featured ten support musicians and singers, among them P.P. (Pat) Arnold, but it didn't attract nearly the radio play of Remember the Future. Their next album, Live at the Roundhouse (1974), was cut live at the London venue, and didn't include "Remember the Future" among its tracks. They maintained a devoted and significant cult following in America as well as Germany, and their German label later released two double live albums from concerts in New York (which, between them, included two versions of "Remember the Future, Pt. 1" and two versions of "Pt. 2"). Ironically, Passport Records never released either album in the United States.

Albrighton was gone by Magic Is a Child (which featured one of the worst punning titles ever, "Eerie Lackawanna"), replaced on guitar by Dave Nelson, and synthesizer virtuoso Larry Fast joined the lineup for this album. The release of a double-LP best-of anthology in 1978 heralded the end of the group's run of success during the decade, although Man in the Moon, with David Prater on drums, was issued in 1980. However, the band re-formed in 2002 and began releasing new albums and alan_parsonsearing at progressive rock festivals such as that yearís NEARfest in Trenton, NJ. Original members Albrighton and Howden were featured in the groupís lineup, along with bassist Randy Dembo and organist Tom Hughes, although both Dembo and Hughes departed Nektar in 2006, and have since been replaced by Peter Pichl on bass and Klaus Henatsch on keyboards. During the 2000s, Nektarís albums have included The Prodigal Son (2001), Evolution (2004), and Book of Days (2007). The live album Fortyfied was issued in 2009.
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