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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Nektar

Remember The Future (Remaster)

Review by Gary Hill

Another classic album from the progressive rock cult legends Nektar, this is part of their series of remasters of their back catalog. This album, a concept one consisting of two extended pieces (technically one piece, but limitations of the vinyl LP time format necessitated their splitting it into two sections) is one of the most impressive pieces of work from the band, and arguably the genre in general. It has a very emotional and yet instrumentally complex and powerful arrangement. When it was originally released on CD a mistake was made and the wrong master was used. The original CD release had several guitar parts left out and other layers missing. When they chose to remaster this disc, that mistake was corrected, and modern technology allowed a better mastering process. '

Interestingly enough, even in its earlier incarnation this was a potent and very entertaining album. This edition, though, includes an awesomely rich arrangement with a clearer rhythm section. Much of the album that was previously a bit muddy is now crystal clear. The restored guitar segments really add a lot to the mix. The vocal lines are even stronger and more moving than they were on that disc. As good as that first issue was (despite the problems); this one is worlds better. It shows what a masterpiece this album really is.

The band has added three edits of the disc. The first of these is a ten plus minute "German edit". The other two are both promotional single edits of two segments of the disc. These are an interesting addition from an archival perspective, but truly the whole album is one integrated piece, and should be listened to in its entirety. In any event, this CD is certainly a thrilling dream come true for Nektar fans, and will serve as a killer introduction to those who have only "heard of" the band. Please note that the track by track reviews here are taken from my review of the original disc. While this one definitely sounds better, the overall song structure is still exactly the same.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Remember The Future Part One
Rising up out of nothingness, a crescendo of sound begins the piece. A somewhat funky guitar chording starts the song proper and the other instruments gradually join in. This syncopated segment features great work from all. It gives way to a more dramatic and balladic guitar styling. The band builds on this format, running it through its course as an instrumental segment. As the next vocal section enters the song takes another curve moving into new, slower dramatic directions. They continue to build on this mode for a time until a new faster-paced segment enters. This carries into the dramatic "Who made you, Who made me" section that gets quite dramatic. This itself is full of drama and change. The latter portions of the cut are especially triumphant right until the resolution of the story line so far. There it shifts to a slower, more melodic style. A droning segment enters to allow for an instrumental break that thoroughly rocks out in prog power and energy before the whole piece circles down to make way for part two.
Remember The Future Part Two
Coming in with a sedate guitar melody, the other instruments join, and a melodic rather pretty progression begins to rise up and take the piece. This mode maintains until a more dramatic section takes its place. This dramatic instrumental mode plays through then another new movement begins in a balladic type of style. The cut builds on that mode, and we come into another powerful verse. After this segment plays out for a time another new melody line emerges and begins a building process for a time. As part of this building a chanting type vocal enters, then as this crescendos a new section appears powered by a somewhat funky bass line. It continues on in this way for a time recreating and restating this theme. Then a triumphant chorus enters and crescendos giving way to a slightly melancholy melody. An extremely brief faster-paced segment intercedes. When the melancholy section returns it is not again interrupted. The verses based on this mode are very dramatic and evocative and truly this is probably the most powerful section of the whole album. It moves on from there to another slow paced movement that somewhat carries on the texture of the one that gave way to it while felling just a little Floydish, particularly in the guitar tones on the solo. The cut stops for a moment, then a new chording pattern with a fairly quick tempo comes out, and earlier vocal themes return. The cut builds on this until another triumphant and powerful chorus takes it. The composition continues to alternate between these two modes before a segment driven by funk-oriented guitar and potent vocals moves us into new territory. The next movement gets extremely funky, but really jams. The movement that brings us out of there is harder edged and just a bit in the mode of Captain Beyond. The funk returns once again along with more Gilmourish guitar soloing. That segment ends abruptly and atmospherics take the album to its conclusion.
Remember The Future (Made In Germany "Edit")
This is a ten-minute revision of the epic.
Lonely Roads Promotional Single Edit
A single version of this classic segment, this balladic texture works well.
Let It Grow Promotional Single Edit
Another snippet from the epic used for promotion, this features a solid rocking prog section that feels a bit like Captain Beyond.
 
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