Two in a row from Nektar‘s 1971 conceptual spectacular Journey To The Centre Of The Eye, one of those albums that absolutely walks the line between so-called prog rock and so-called psychedelic rock, managing to be both mindblowing and reasonably precise. Frank Zappa was certainly impressed, so much so that he had plans to sign Nektar to his Discreet label, a plan that crumbled along with Zappa’s partnership with his manager (one of those long stories). Which perhaps explains why we never heard that much of Nektar over here in the Americas. Or maybe their first album was simply their best – an astonishing and ultimately harrowing voyage to the deep and high beyond within. In other words – an acid trip, the heroic kind, right through the centre of the eye to the dream nebula and beyond, all in the mind anyway.
“A nifty little almost pop song from the group known as Can about who knows what? Including the singer, I’m pretty sure, Damo Suzuki from Japan, hanging out in Germany, trying to work in English, ending up inventing his own dadaesque language. A song about whatever you want it to be about, I guess, although I’ll go with my friend Thomas’s interpretation. It’s about that dissipated feeling you get when you’ve wasted all your precious vril energy on rich, yet pointless pleasures. But the music’s there to revive you, like the potion it is, alchemical and true.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1969 with the Euro hippie underground is in a state of serious flux and eruption in the wake of all the uprisings and insurrections of 1968. Nevertheless, Can (four German weirdoes and their American singer, poet, frontman who will soon go at least slightly mad) find a few moments to throw down a strange little ditty about the Upduff family and their troubled trip to Italy. WARNING: if your grandma dies while traveling in a region populated by well organized car theft rings, don’t wrap her up in a tarp and tie her to the top of the car.
“In which angular German hippies Neu! do their bit to invent punk a good three or four years before the fact. Of course, I wouldn’t discover Neu! until at least ten years later, so for me, they had more to do with providing an overall blueprint for the future of everything. Just lock that beat and lay down some music mixed with noise, because we’ll always need a beat, and there will always be noise, and music just makes everything better.” (Philip Random)
Trio had a big deal international pop hit in 1981 with Da Da Da, and that whole first album is good, simple (some would say simplistic, others dadaesque) fun. Ja Ja Ja was the punk number.
Nektar being one of those so-called prog bands that never quite made it over here in the Americas. Maybe because they were from Germany, and how many German bands made it in the 1970s? But they were English actually – they just met in Germany and ended up living there. Maybe it was their live show, a little too ambitious and unwieldly to travel well. Or maybe they were just too musically out there, as they perhaps were with the entirety of Remember The Future a full album concept concerning a blind boy and an alien and everything, really. So we have Philip Random’s abridged version, “… the best parts of side one.”