NEKTAR – 3 key albums (1971-80)

Recently did the discog of Gentle Giant, eczema and wasn’t as thrilled with most of it as I’d hoped. I then turned my sights onto English-born, Germany-bound Nektar, another band that ran the entirety of the ’70s, produced many an album and evaporated right at the point when most proggy veterans gave up the ghost in favor of either: a) solo careers; b) “real” jobs; c) raising families; or, d) creative bankruptcy.

I found that three albums really stood out, while the rest were either middling or disappointing. Most online prog resources point towards their second album, “A Tab In The Ocean” (1972) as being their greatest, but it’s really two side-long excursions into murky, mostly-forgettable, slightly modulating tunelessness. Sounded like they were trying for “Close To The Edge”, and only got a third of the way there.

Their debut LP, however, “Journey To The Centre of the Eye” (1971) is KILLER. True psychedelic phased-out repeat listening.

One needs to skip ahead to their sixth album “Recycled” for evidence of truly memorable off-the-wall uniqueness. A concept album about environmental disaster (with side one being a suite of songs about recycled energy being the only energy left on Earth).

Finally, their swan song (before their mostly redundant 21st-century reunion material), “Man In The Moon” (1980), released at a time when all ’70s survivors were busy mutating their sound into more commercially viable and/or pukey directions. This is no exception, but it is a shining example, much like Yes’s “Drama” or Rush’s “Moving Pictures”, of a band actually trying not to wuss out when going in the aforementioned “brighter” place.

Nektar – “Journey To The Centre of The Eye”, 1971 (ZIP file)
Nektar – “Recycled”, 1975 (ZIP file)
Nektar – “Man In The Moon”, 1980 (ZIP file)

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691 Responses to NEKTAR

  1. Your exhortations of “Drama” and “Moving Pictures” as signposts for “Man In The Moon” intrigues me. I’m more than fine with post-Ultravox Rush. It was exciting to hear New Wave have an influence on these them as they moved to crafting more tuneful songs that still had their beloved freaky time signatures and complexity, all wrapped up in a succinct five minute event [rather than an album side] that left you wanting more. “Drama” is the one Yes album I was eager to [finally ca. 1987] buy on CD. Perhaps I should give this late period Nektar a try? Disclosure: my brief “prog” period in the 70s included no Nektar listening. I need to blog on the topic of the peculiar Prog Wave crossover movement that bore some astonishing fruit in the late 70s/early 80s. I was just contemplating that topic this morning at the gym.

  2. EK says:

    +1 on the above comment – am both a big fan of “Drama” and, as you say, “Post-Ultravox” Rush, so am very interested in recommendations from the same era – looking forward to hearing the above one too (already know the earlier ones!)

  3. iZen says:

    The recent post on Magma was my first introduction to the band and I found myself searching the web for other examples of their work. During my Magma binge I started digging into my personal collection of old prog lp’s that I listened to as a kid. Nektar was a staple during my early music years. “Recycled” was the one that got the most play. “Journey to the Center of the Eye” is the only lp I was unable to acquire back then…before the days of the internet… and just recently grabbed it off another site. Most of my revisits to the old prog library fail to satisfy, but this first lp from Nektar is really good and, I feel, more interesting to me now than it would have been earlier. The other album from Nektar that was in constant rotation is “Down To Earth.” Give it a listen if you get a chance…it’s not like the rest of their library.