Nektar - "The Dream Nebula: The Best Of 1971-1975" (Purple Pyramid, 1998 CLP 0301-2)
From Aural Innovations #4 (October 1998)
This 2-CD set compiles tracks from the "classic" Nektar period from their debut, Journey To The Center Of The Eye, through Recycled. Anyone who has heard all these albums knows that Nektar covered a lot of ground in their career from great SpaceRock to raw jam rock to progressive.
First covered is about half the Journey To The Center Of The Eye album, one of SpaceRock's true classics. They skip around tracks a bit and due to the album's continuity it probably would have been best to just do an entire side of the album. A Tab In The Ocean's side long title track is included and this sounds like a live version. Things get a bit out of sequence as "King Of Twilight", from the same album, is included later. Several tracks from Sounds Like This... are included which pleases me as I consider this to be one of the 70's best jam rock albums. Raw killer rock with phenomenal guitar work from Roye Albrighton.
What should have been done with Journey is thankfully done with Remember The Future and Recycled. An album side each is included. Sadly, only one track from Down To Earth was deemed fit for this collection ("Fidgety Queen"). Ask hardcore Nektar fans about this album and you'll get 50/50 responses on liking versus disliking it. I'm in the camp that feels that while certainly not one of Nektar's great works it is sorely underrated.
My only real beef with this set is that its too short. Just under fifty minutes on disc one and just over on disc two. Nektar's "best" from '71-'75 was most of their material from that period so I say fill the CD's up! Still a good starting point for beginners. The big news is that after over twenty years the original band members are seriously talking about getting together again for shows and recording. I for one would love to hear what a late 90's version of Nektar would sound like.
For more information you can visit the Nektar web site at: http://nektar.us
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz