March 29, 2011

Review: Nektar-Remember The Future (Deluxe Edition)

Remember The Future is hands down my all-time favorite Nektar album. This is my second go round with this release (I reviewed this and several other releases from the band on the Eclectic Disc label in 2004) only this time there is an additional disc of bonus live material all packaged perfectly by reissue specialist

Roye Albrighton (guitar, lead vocals), Ron Howden (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Randy Dembo (bass) and Tom Hughes (Hammond organ, backing vocals) were Nektar when this recording was originally released 1973. I always enjoyed the distinctive vocals and guitar work provided by the band’s leader Albrighton and the complex music that followed his lead.
Remember The Future can still hold its own to this day and I believe if you looked at some of the publications available you would find this album in the top 50 to 100 prog rock albums of all time. That is of course a matter of opinion as everything else is in the anal and selective prog rock community (myself included with that descriptive).
So what makes this remastered deluxe version so special? How about 9 high quality bonus live tracks? The live cuts are crisp and clear and you are treated to some stretched out improvisational versions of album tracks not found on the original Remember The Future. The studio album can stand alone as a prog-rock treasure with melodic slices of heaven however adding all of the live tracks will encourage yet more emphasis on the importance of the original tracks. The first disc is interesting because after you hear the studio recordings of ”Remember The Future Parts 1 & 2” you immediately have the opportunity to compare and contrast the live cuts of the same tracks that follow. Disc two features all live tracks recorded in 2007 in Niteroi, Brazil were Nektar is bigger than Pink Floyd. You heard me right, bigger than Pink Floyd. When it comes to foreign countries it’s a curious thing how they endear themselves to certain bands always ignoring the status quo, which I like to be honest.  It’s comparable to The Ventures being as big in Japan as The Beatles were in the U.S.
All of that verbosity cast aside, this is a classic prog rock album with the accompanying imaginative visual stimulation featured on the cover provided by artist Helmut Wenske. This music is also considered by some as prog rock’s next of kin, art rock, while that holds some truth you can count on the fact that this is timeless progressive rock that was released in the golden era of the genre. All the elements are in place to make this one of the crown jewels of prog - great vocals, trippy lyrics, phenomenal musicianship and the obligatory freaked out colorful artwork.
It takes labels like to provide the care, love and proper presentation of these classic recordings and they do a fine job of that indeed. Where else can you buy music that has a sticker on the front that says “Great Music Guarantee!”-If you don’t agree that his CD is Great – We’ll take it back!” Believe me folks they stand behind everything they do and for good reason; you will not hear any crap coming out of the vaults of this label, period.
Sometimes it takes a look back to the past to Remember The Future.
5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Remember The Future Part One, .A Tab In The Ocean, Desolation Valley
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

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