“A fascinating listen that sometimes sounds like a missing 10cc album plus a little Be Box Deluxe”: Nektar’s Recycled 5CD set

Cult 70s proggers’ absorbing sixth album presented at its fullest.

Nektar - Recycled 5cd set
(Image: © Esoteric)

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Nektar were a confusing prospect for some during their early-70s heyday: a group of Brits living in Hamburg, hopping to and from genre – prog, AOR, and, here, a touch of yacht rock – with two non-touring lighting and lyrical conceptualists in their line-up.

Still, after the success they had enjoyed in the US with 1973’s Remember The Future, they were highly regarded by Bellaphon, their parent company in Germany. By the time of the eco-conscious Recycled in 1975, the group had been releasing albums for four years and touring for six, and this experience shines through. Engineered by Geoff Emerick and made at the Château d’Hérouville, Recycled remains one of their greatest works.

After recording at the château exposed the studio’s limitations, the band finished up at AIR in London, with The English Chorale Choir and conductor Robert Howes adding vocal support to Unendless Imagination? and Sao Paolo Sunrise. The two suites of the original record were enlivened by the addition of synthesiser wizard Larry Fast, then making waves after his first Synergy album.

Recycled is a fascinating listen, with Roye Albrighton’s strong vocal and guitar work and Derek ‘Mo’ Moore’s Chris Squire-esque bass playing.

By the time it was released in the UK on Decca in 1977, the world had turned, and like a great deal of their work, it trickled out and went largely unnoticed. By then, too, Albrighton had left, and a new chapter had begun.

Offered in the customary Esoteric clamshell, this version of Recycled offers in-concert performances (at Calderone, Long Island, and Toronto’s Massey Hall), which demonstrates the ability of the musicians to replicate their cosmic, pomp-heavy sound live. Emerick’s discarded early mix of the album is included as well, shorn of some of the more ornate adornments.

At times, Recycled sounds a little like a missing 10cc album, and, to further the frame of reference for the Nektar-curious, Magnificent Moses is pure Be-Bop Deluxe. A treat.

The Recycled 5CD set is on sale now via Cherry Red.

Daryl Easlea

Daryl Easlea has contributed to Prog since its first edition, and has written cover features on Pink Floyd, Genesis, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Gentle Giant. After 20 years in music retail, when Daryl worked full-time at Record Collector, his broad tastes and knowledge led to him being deemed a ‘generalist.’ DJ, compere, and consultant to record companies, his books explore prog, populist African-American music and pop eccentrics. Currently writing Whatever Happened To Slade?, Daryl broadcasts Easlea Like A Sunday Morning on Ship Full Of Bombs, can be seen on Channel 5 talking about pop and hosts the M Means Music podcast.