❉ Our verdict on new titles from Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese and Anglo-German prog band Nektar.
We Are Cult’s resident prog expert James R. Turner on two recent releases from cosmic rock pioneers Nektar and Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese, out now from Cherry Red.
Nektar: ‘The Other Side’
Anglo-German prog band Nektar reformed in 2019 and are now based in the USA (!), and this reformed line-up features founding members Derek (Mo) Moore (bass) Ron Howden (drums & vocals) Mick Brockett (visual conceptions/lyrics) with randy Dembo (who ironically replaced Moore on bass in 2003) Ryche Chlanda (guitar,vocals,lyrics – originally in the band in 1978) and ‘new boy’ Kendall Scott on keyboards.
In fact, as the sleeve notes are keen to point out, this is a continuation of the Nektar legacy, and include a tribute to guitarist Roye Albrighton by virtue of his live on stage intro from 1974 for the track Devils Door included here, whilst the band are emphasising the fact that some of these tracks were originally worked on with Ryche, Ron and Mo in 1978, so Sky Pilot becomes Sky Writer, whilst I’m On Fire adapts a poem written by Mo in 1978 for his wife Nicki.
Musically, this new Nektar album is not going to break new ground progressively, instead it is peak classic prog, there are swathes of moody keyboard, languid guitar solos and for those who like long immersive songs, considering there are only two songs under six minutes long, then you’re in for a treat here.
This is pure Prog, music as nostalgia and will appeal ultimately to everyone who thinks the prog scene ended in the 1970s, if you like that sound then this is a warm, immersive confort blanket. If you go on internet forums and moan they don’t make ’em like they used to, good news! Nektar have done, and this is perfect for you to lose yourself in it, and pretend the 80’s never happened.
This is a well-produced, well written album with some superb musical performances throughout, and it does evoke the full-on classic prog sound, however the world (and indeed the prog scene) has moved on, and ultimately whilst it is a great record, it’s not contemporary or brave enough to try something new.
❉ Nektar: ‘The Other Side’ (EANTCD1082) is out now from Esoteric Antenna/Cherry Red Records, RRP £10.95. Click here for more information.
Edgar Froese: ‘Dalinetopia’
This release combines the influences of two outstanding 20th century genius in their individual field, the artist Salvador Dali and musician Edgar Froese, and was originally released back in 2004 as a mail only release.
This is the first time this album has been widely available as a CD and as Edgar’s own sleeve notes state, iit is composed in honour and respect of an artist character who touched more than anybody else the level of subconsciousness all human beings have in common’ and Edgar is speaking from a position of strength having both met and collaborated with Dali in their lifetime.
From Edgar’s perspective, his aim was to create a Dali influenced album to honour his friends legacy, and from the cover onwards this reflects Dali’s art and their relationship, and his altruism and aim is to be admired, however this does nothing to enhance the reputation either artist involved.
By 2004 Edgar’s days as a pioneer were in his past, and the 10 tracks on here lack the fire and bite that he brought to electronic music on albums like Zeit, Ricochet or Tyger, and whilst each title has the cute trick of having Dal in front of it (Daleroshima, Daluna, Dalysisiphus or Dalerotica for instance – why not go the whole hog and have Dalekinvasionofearth?) the music unfortunately doesn’t live up to the billing.
It’s a nice album to have on in the background, however unlike previous albums like Electronic Meditation or Froese’s legendary solo works Aqua or Epsilon in Malysian Pale, there is nothing of distinction on this album, nothing that stands out, no wow moment that pulls you into this album unfortunately.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to leave archive recordings in the archive, and this unfortunately is one of those times. I was looking forward so much to listening and immersing myself in this tribute and ultimately I am left unfulfilled and disapointed that this which promised so much, has delivered so little.
❉ ‘Edgar Froese: Dalinetopia’ (EREACD1040) is out now from Esoteric/Reactive Recordings/Cherry Red Records, RRP £10.95. Click here for more information.
❉ James R. Turner is a music and media journalist. Over the last 25 years he has contributed to the Classic Rock Society magazine, BBC online, Albion Online, The Digital Fix, DPRP, Progarchy, ProgRadar and more. James’ debut book is out in September and he is head of PR for Bad Elephant Music. He lives in North Somerset with his fiancee Charlotte, their Westie Dilys & Ridgeback Freja, three cats and too many CDs, records & Blu-Rays.