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Nektar: A Tab In The Ocean (Remaster)

This CD is excellent. This CD is excellent. What a wonderful re-engineering job! What a wonderful re-engineering job! Outstanding. Outs… Okay, enough of the repetitions. You see, each of the 4 songs on A Tab In The Ocean appears twice on this CD. One is a remastering of the original mix, and another 4 bonus tracks are the same 4 songs remastered from a US mix that was done in 1976 – four years after the original.

As one who grew up with this music it is very difficult to review it objectively, and after several listens with the critic's hat pulled on as tightly as possible there is no doubt that today's music has moved away from the best of the '70s in many important ways. But listen to the song structures, the quality of playing which is now so much clearer, the and above all, the melody! Don't let the prog-snobs fool you – all music is first and foremost all about melody, and everything else is secondary or tertiary. These melodies have hooks that will keep the whole CD spinning in your mind for days after the brief 35-minutes of the original album have finished playing.

For those of us who are intimately familiar with every note on the original album, the US mix won't play well. The whole thing seems less sophisticated and more commercially oriented. So to get an accurate perspective on each version of each of the 4 songs, it was an interesting exercise to rip the CD to MP3s, and play each song back-to-back – first the original, then the remaster, then the US mix. The remastering of the original album is just excellent, and you could be excused for ignoring the US mix and programming your CD player to cycle through the first 4 tracks again and again and again. Each note is wonderfully crisp and you'll hear things that were inaudible on the original LP or even on the Bellaphon remasters released in 1987. And for a truly wonderful auditory experience, play it on a 5.1 surround sound system if you have one.

The cover art is the same basic picture that graced the LP and the Belaphon remaster. There's also a very nicely printed 12-page booklet which includes the lyrics, a comprehensive history of the band, and several early '70s black and white pictures of an unlikely looking group of hairy youngsters. A must for collectors.

If you're one of the unlucky few who isn't already very familiar with Nektar or A Tab In The Ocean, be advised: Nektar's style changed subtly with every album, and Tab is a must-have in any self-respecting progressive music lover's collection. It is an excellent example of the best of the '70s – with long, sophisticated symphonic art rock songs with a just hint of Genesis and Yes.

Highly recommended.

Track listing:
1. A Tab in the Ocean
2. Desolation Valley / Waves
3. Crying in the Dark
4. King of Twilight
Bonus Tracks:
1. A Tab in the Ocean
2. Desolation Valley / Waves
3. Crying in the Dark
4. King of Twilight

Added: May 2nd 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: Nektar's Official Site
Hits: 3728
Language: english

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