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Nektar: Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (Remaster)

Nektar were one of the most important bands to emerge from the underground in the early 70's and held their position along with German stalwarts, Can, Amon Duul, Neu, Wallenstein and others for many years. Considered a minor classic in its hey day, I always found this album to be extremely raucous with heavily distorted guitars and grinding organs, bass and drums channeling the bands pent up emotions so evident during a decade when conforming to a predictable standard was just not kosher. Previously considering this to be one of their least enjoyable albums but having heard the brilliantly re-mastered version, my opinion has slightly changed in a way that gives this album more credibility and kudos with a generation of young people always looking for something with which to assimilate. I can finally understand why this album was so incredibly popular in Europe when it was first released. It has that same adrenalin infused vibe so evident on Grobschnitt's "Solar Music Live" or "Rockpommels Land".

Vocally, however, I also find some of their more intense lyrics that seem to reach into the listener's inner soul far more than their later offerings. Their later albums show a much more mature approach to their songs and while no where near as chaotic a listen as Journey, I must confess to preferring, jointly, Remember The Future and A Tab In The Ocean, with Recycled coming in a close third.

Hats off to Eclectic Discs whose job of remastering this album has been done remarkably well. Featuring a full 5.1 Surround Sound remix taken from the recently rediscovered studio multi track masters, this is a credit to all those involved.

Track Listings:
1. Prelude
2. Astronaut's Nightmare
3. Countenance
4. The Nine Lifeless Daughters Of The Sun
5. Warp Oversight
6. The Dream Nebula (Part 1)
7. The Dream Nebula (Part 2)
8. It's All In The Mind
9. Burn Out my Eyes
10.Void Of Vision
11.Pupil Of The Eye
12.Look Inside Yourself
13.Death Of The Mind

Bonus Tracks
14.1-2-3-4
15.Do You Believe In Magic

Added: June 26th 2004
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Score:
Related Link: Eclectic Discs Web Site
Hits: 4052
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Nektar: Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (Remaster)
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-06-25 22:32:29
My Score:

Journey To The Center Of The Eye was the 1972 debut album from the now legendary Nektar, a band of Englishmen formed, in Germany, who later relocated to New Jersey, USA. The music meanders from instrumental to vocal, from aggressive to slow and spacey, and from standard rock to electronica to abstract psychedelia. And it does all of this within the context one 40-minute song loosely divided into 13 continuous parts of spacey, adventurous rock exploring a range of sounds that would be considered adventurous even today.

Passages and themes were borrowed from artists as diverse as The Who, Barrett-era Floyd, Kraftwerk's melodic electronica, and The Beatles (While My Guitar Gently Weeps and many others). But the bulk of this music was an elegant style of symphonic rock that would become the foundation for Nektar's future, hugely successful albums. Make no mistake the fact that this is a debut is abundantly clear. The sophistication and polish that would become Nektar hallmarks are notably absent, and in their place the compositions and the instrumentation are the product of youth, raw energy and intelligent experimentalism. And fun! Listen for the elegant guitar work, the rich keyboards, the Mellotrons and Hammonds, the acoustic guitars and the vocal choruses. It follows change with change and heaps texture upon texture to convey the story behind this concept album: It is a sci-fi story of a space journey that goes wrong and becomes an introspective, philosophical journey into the all-seeing eye suspended in outer space well, read the liner notes. They are very comprehensive and beautifully laid out.

This remastering is a work of art. Nektar's original master tapes had been damaged in a flood. The tapes for Journey were among the least damaged, though, and after transferring them to digital media and working with meticulous care, we're now treated to these better-than-new recordings. The stereo mix is good, and the SACD 5.1 surround remix is simply gorgeous although you'll need a CD player that can handle the new format.




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