Xcavations at 1 of the few known sites of the mysterious, vanished Jehr Mann culture have recently uncovered recordings from the latter 1/2 of what was 1nce known as "the 20th Century."
These recordings date from the Old Year 1977 & were per4med by what used 2 B called a "progressive rock group" -- a musical combo that per4med complex compositions while playing electric instruments. The recordings recently unearthed were per4med by a Jehr Mann-based 4-member combo called Nektar.
The group's background is shrouded in the mists of antiquity, but 1 thing we do know is that the members of Nektar were apparently unappreciated in their homeland of Engh Land, & so they journeyed 4th 2 the alien lands of the Jehr Mann's in order 2 play & record their cosmic compositions.
The recordings painstakingly unearthed by archaeologists were Ntitled THRU THE EARS, & apparently were in10ded as a collection of the group's best songs 2 B purchased & Njoyed by Jehr Mann "fans" of the band -- & by fans worldwide.
The recordings were made on discs of polyvinyl -- only a few 1,000 like them have survived over the yrs 2 pass down 2 us, the descendants of those who lived in the 20th Century. Current technology has made it possible 2 hear these voices from the past, & high officials honored those of us who work here at Back-Up Plan HQ by asking if we'd B willing 2 listen 2 & give R opinions on this music from far back in the dawn of history.
We have 2 admit up-front that some of these sounds Dfeated us. 2 "sides" of these discs Cm virtually impervious 2 analysis -- the side featuring the long composition "Remember the Future" (ironic, yes?), & the side featuring 2 in-concert per4mances by the band. Perhaps it will simply take us more time 2 discover the musical & lyrical meanings contained in these compositions.
The other 2 sides, however, R killer.
The 4 men who comprised Nektar were clearly at their very best when "rocking out." Tho they had room & time 4 more lyrical pursuits as well (C below), from the 1st note of these discs it's clear that high-NRG, high-emotion music was this combo's strength. 1 member of R reviewing team educated in music from this long-ago era called Nektar's "full-tilt" approach "sorta a Focus-meets-Hawkwind kinda sound."
This is clear from the 1st chorus of the opening song, "Do You Believe in Magic." The driving riffs provided by guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton build in 4ce & drama until at the Nd his screeching gtr provides much in the way of fireworks. (Apparently this version of the song was edited from what must've bn an in10se 7-min "jam.") Other songs in which Albrighton's gtr is highlighted include the driving "King of Twilight" (good group unison-singing here, 2), & the rocking "Fidgety Queen."
The group was apparently captivated by the eerie MTness of space & the vast distances of space travel. Songs like "The Dream Nebula" & "It's All in Your Mind" mix a distant, icy atmosphere (mainly provided by keyboardist Taff Freeman on gurgling synthesizers) w/ the poignant feelings of the space Xplorers -- a mix as effective as that of Nektar's fellow Engh Lander David Bowie on his eerie ancient lullabye "Space Oddity."
"All in Your Mind" also closes w/ a swirling, screeching mix of guitar & synth that sounds like a spaceship spinning, hurtling helplessly out of control, B4 returning 2 the heavy, ominous main theme of the piece. Did these talented musicians perhaps Xperience space flight & then report the feelings back 2 their "fans" on Old Earth?
On the softer, more lyrical side, Nektar recorded the gentle "Wings" "live" in the studio w/ no additional recording -- & even it builds up quite a bit of loudness.
"Astral Man" is almost as gentle, w/ a simple, involving chorus. The 1 "live concert" recording R team has bn able 2 Dcipher is "Good Day," which is also gentle, poignant & ... yes, "spacey."
Perhaps the best Xample of the way this band could mix the powerful w/ the gentle is on the majestic "It's All Over," which starts out delicately & slowly builds drama using Freeman's dominant keyboards & Albrighton's dramatic gtr Xplosions. Probly overall the best song here, the 1 thing it lacks is a really searing Albrighton gtr solo -- instead the song fades on a long, pretty piano solo by Freeman. Pretty, but anticlimactic.
THRU THE EARS apparently assembled the best works from Nektar's 1st 6 recordings, some of which were apparently available worldwide back in the 20th Century, but only a few of which attained much popularity -- 2 complex, perhaps? According 2 the "liner notes" on the package these discs were stored in, Nektar's original recording-collections were Ntitled JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EYE, SOUNDS LIKE THIS, A TAB IN THE OCEAN, DOWN TO EARTH, REMEMBER THE FUTURE, & RECYCLED. According 2 the notes, Albrighton left the band after RECYCLED, & tho the group soldiered on & recorded 1 more disc Ntitled MAGIC IS A CHILD, their fate remains a mystery.
Reportedly, the last 5 of these 7 Nektar recordings were available 2 listeners at ridiculously low prices back in the 20th Century. But thus far, none of these recordings have survived & found their way 2 us here at the Back-Up Plan. It is only 2 B hoped that Xcavations will continue & that we might someday hear more of this intresting combo & their cosmic music....