Nektar – Remember the Future (1973)

Nektar_RememberFuture4.5 out of 5 Stars!

I realize that nostalgia plays a large part in my feelings toward this album, and please excuse me for that, but during my youth, Remember the Future was one of several albums that actually engendered my obsession with Prog-Rock that continues to this day, so because of that, I’ll always hold it dear.

Back in 1973, I’d heard only a snippet of Remember the Future on a Chicago FM radio station that occasionally showcased “underground” groups from Europe, and since I adored the “short track” by this unknown group called Nektar, I purchased the album immediately, eagerly looking forward to hearing all the various songs.

But when I got the album home and discovered that Remember the Future actually contained only a single thirty-five minute composition—divided into Side A and Side B, of course—my thirteen-year-old self, a budding musician/songwriter who had thought in terms of only three or four minute compositions up to that point, found Nektar’s daring achievement totally unique and utterly awesome, which inspired me to seek out even more bands audacious enough and creative enough to release lengthy Prog-Rock material.

Anyway, although I’ve played this beautifully melodic album countless times through the years, it somehow still sounds fresh today, more than four decades later. I’m sure many Nektar devotees will disagree, but I still believe Remember the Future (as well as the group’s Recycled album from 1975) are the band’s finest achievements, near-perfect masterpieces of Prog-Rock, two albums that helped to instigate my long-running affair with the genre.

(And RIP to underappreciated guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton, who passed away only last year…Nektar fans like myself won’t only remember the future, but also remember your extraordinary talents!)

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Nektar – Recycled (1975)

Nektar_Recycled4.5 out of 5 Stars!

After this German band released the terrific Remember The Future album in 1973, the follow-up release in 1974 (the brass-riddled, circus-concept album Down To Earth) was rather a disappointment. Thankfully, the band bounced back almost immediately with the excellent Recycled, one of its most keyboard-rich, ultra-Progressive albums, which subsequently became one of my favorite Nektar releases of all time (probably second only to Remember The Future).

On Recycled, Side A (Part One) is absolutely stunning, with each short track flawlessly linked into one continuous suite of music, a glorious seventeen-plus-minute affair of sheer Prog-Rock beauty. Side B (Part 2), however, contains four non-linked songs, with two of them (“Marvellous Moses” and “It’s All Over”) being two of my favorites within Nektar’s entire catalogue of material, with the latter song, a ballad, containing verses that have probably the most delicious vocal melody lines and chord patterns Nektar ever put together.

Unfortunately, this was probably the last truly great Nektar album also, although no subsequent album was actually horrible, merely inconsistent when it came to quality and songwriting, and some of the band’s more recent releases (2004’s Evolution, 2008’s Book of Days, and 2013’s Time Machine) were rather enjoyable, just not quite up to the same lofty standards set by Recycled or Remember The Future. Regardless, I have them all, and continue to enjoy most of them on a regular basis.

Finally, RIP to Roye Albrighton, guitarist extraordinaire, who passed away in 2016, a year ago this very week, in fact. So sad…

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