10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Nektar was comprised of English musicians that took up residence in Germany before moving to New Jersey, United States in 1975 where they worked with electronic composer Larry Fast. This 2004 remastered edition by Eclectic Discs is good and features informative liner notes along with photos of the band (mostly publicity shots). The disc also features the original mix of the album along with a significantly different remix from 1976.
ORIGINAL ALBUM ***
The original album A Tab in the Ocean was released in 1972 and was engineered by Dieter Deirks at Deirks studio in Stommeln, W. Germany. The four tracks on the album range in length from the 4'22 heavy rocker King of Twilight to the nearly 17 minute epic prog hard rock title track. Apparently, the guys were excited by the developments in the English progressive rock scene at the time and A Tab in the Ocean represents their interpretation of progressive rock (with a hard rock twist). The music on the album is generally heavy (loud) although there are some spacey sections, with good Hammond organ work by Allan Freeman, along with decent playing by energetic bassist Derek Moore, guitarist Roye Albrighton (he used both clean and heavily distorted tones - sometimes at crushing volumes), and solid drummer Ron Howden. The lead vocal by Albrighton is quite good, and in combination with the other musicians, provides excellent three-part vocal harmonies. The group ensemble work is also pretty good, the best examples of which are provided on the epic A Tab in the Ocean and Desolation Valley/Waves.
The original album should appeal to fans of Wallenstein (the Blitzkreig album), early Deep Purple (1970-1971), Hawkwind, and Eloy (1973-1974).
1976 REMIXED ALBUM *****
The added bonus on the CD includes a remix of the entire 1972 album (by Larry Fast) that was issued in the United States in 1976. I have to admit that I like the 1976 remix somewhat better than the original mix because the hard rock aspect has been markedly reduced and the album is a bit proggier and much softer - the sound is more in keeping with the Nektar sound around 1975. Furthermore, the sound of the recording is not as harsh and bright, with more bottom end and greater separation of individual instruments. Larry Fast did add overdubs of acoustic guitar, new electric guitar and trebly Rickenbacker bass parts, along with altered vocal parts and tiny bits of synths and mellotron. In summation, the remixed album is completely different and fans of the harder-edged original album may not like the new remix at all.
The remix should appeal to fans of 1973-1975 Nektar and Eloy from 1975-1977.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2002
Okay, here is the story on the many versions of Tab. In addition to the cd I own four vinyl copies (yes folks, there's one born every minute) and perhaps can provide some insight.
Tab was released originally in 1972 on the notorious Bellaphon label. Sometime later Tab was distributed on the United Artists (UA) label (remember them?).
In 1976 Tab was released on Passport. The Passport version differed from the previous iterations as it was remixed by Mo Moore (Nektar bassist) and Larry Fast (Synergy). Additionally, the Passort version was the first domestic (USA) release of Tab, the other two of course import.
The complaints about Tab's poor mastering most likely can be attributed to those whom are familiar with the 1976 Passport version. Although Bellaphon butchered Nektar's 'Remember the Future' cd, Bellaphon's mastering of the Tab cd is almost identical to the vinyl 1972 Bellaphon release. Is this a good thing? In my opinion - no. The hope I had was that the 'Tab in the Ocean' track (side one) would get cleaned up on cd as the bass and drum sounded muddy on vinyl and it still sounds muddy on the Bellaphon cd release. All the other tracks on Tab (side two) sounded clean on vinyl as they do on the Bellaphon cd release.
Still with me? Okay, so the folks familiar with the Bellaphon or UA vinyl versions might actually be pleased with this cd version, unless they are also afflicted with the same muddy drum and bass perceptions noted earlier in this review.
Now for the audiophiles that have the Passport vinyl version. The Passport version sounded considerably different than its predecessors. My guess is Passport version Nektar fans will be dissatisfied with the sound of the Bellaphon cd. Although the Passport version sound was certainly cleaner, it also contained flaws (IMHO). For example, guitarist/singer Roye Albrighton's vocals seem to sound sped up throughout Tab, almost Mickey Mouse like, when compared to the Bellaphon or UA versions. I'll stop here, don't want to sound like I'm nit-picking, but you would think Moore and Fast would have got it right.
In regard to vinyl my preference (slightly) would be the Bellaphon or UA releases over Passport. Initial impressions are hard to over come. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
In summary I would recommend this cd because most importantly the source material is very good in regard to the Nektar catalog. If 'Tab in the Ocean' would be remastered on cd again (hopefully with supervision by everyone in Nektar) I would purchase it again. Yes folks, there's one born every minute.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2004
Please read reviews on the earlier versions of Tab.
Now that Dream Nebula has reissued the Nektar classic albums, everyone can hear them as they were originally intended--and, it turns out, as mixed for the US release several years later.
Previous editions of Nektar CDs have suffered from poor mastering. This edition, produced by Mark Powell and remastered by Paschal Byrne, who must be a genius, is phenomenally clear and clean. The vocals stand out, the bass and percussion is no longer muddy, and the keyboards soar as they should.
This edition contains the original German mix, as originally released on vinyl, and the US mix by Larry Fast and Mo Moore (1976). There are good things to say about both versions, and a few drawbacks. However, considering how incredibly well this CD is engineered with both versions available to compare, there is no downside.
Definitely 5 stars on the technical side.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2004
Possibly--it's sure close to being their best. Bought this one way back in the mid seventies shortly after it came out and still like it quite a bit. Roye Albrighton's blazing guitar gymnastics are all over this one and the whole disc achieves a kind of ambient calm (particularly on the extended title track) that's lacking on other Nektar records. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I've always found the open-ended reverb-heavy mix of this album quite distinctive, almost...oceanic?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2007
A Tab in the Ocean is one of Nektar's very best albums in terms of vocal melodies, epic/adventure type fantasy musical passages, and just overall beautifully constructed compositions.
It's amazing Nektar hasn't become one of those early 70's rock bands that people want to look back and discover (or re-discover all over again since, after all, most people who grew up in the 70's probably don't remember them anymore).
They're certainly a pretty distinct and exciting progressive rock/fantasy rock band. I say "fantasy rock" because they remind me of Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash a lot. The vocals sound like Uriah Heep, and some of their musical ideas resemble Wishbone Ash. Actually a cross between Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash is more appropriate of a description.
I'm not calling Nektar ripoffs or anything. No way. They're too good of a band for me to stoop to playing some kind of comparison game. That's not my style, baby. I just like to listen to good ol' rock music, and I'm happy when I discover a band with plenty of creative ideas and overall talent like Nektar.
I really like the organs and keyboards on the opening title song. They are unlike anything I've ever heard in a rock song before. Not even Deep Purple or someone was able to make them sound *that* important and powerful. A song that definitely must have been an influence to the progressive rock/jazz band Camel and their classic Mirage album from the mid 70's.
"Desolation Valley" features a snappy beat and a King Crimson-like vocal melody. It almost sounds like one of those late night jazz songs, but more exciting because we're rocking out, baby.
"Waves" is just that- waves of beautiful notes taking you to a warm and special fantasy land. Ah, the 70's were so GOOD with these kind of songs. I always welcome them.
"Crying in the Dark" is something I'm guilty of every so often... oops, I mean, I love this song! The guitar is heavy in spots, and perfectly soothing and fitting in others. What a good song. "King of Twilight" should have been "King of everything" because this song is truly king. I love it. A great epic adventure type song with soaring vocals and a chugging, memorable rhythm.
By the way, I recently heard some new stuff by the band on a radio station I frequently listent to, and I loved it. It was surprising to know an old forgotten band from the 70's is still making music to this very day. That proves to me the band members never gave up on their dreams of making and releasing music, and trying to get as many people as possible to listen to their lovely music.
I wish more people heard of this band -even back in the early 70's- instead of listening to Black Sabbath or whatever all the time, because this is one mighty fine rock band.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2011
I've heard some lame excuses before but allowing CDRS into the market described as CDS is not acceptable. Clearly the reason they are not marked CDRS is that they wouldn't sell for the price of a CD if they were. Amazon these products should be listed correctly or removed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
This Nektar album is one of their all-time best. Unfortunately, this CD release, like the others, suffers from poorly digital mastering. I would say not as bad as "Remember The Future", but still enough to make a difference from the original release on vinyl in 1972. This CD release has been given a more "live" sound to it. That is to say that you may feel as if the music is being performed in a big hall of some kind. Not directly annoying, but it still makes the sound more "blury" than neccesary. And of course some guitar parts are barely noticable, which on the original was more in the front of the mix. This is no reason not to get this release, but please hold on to your vinyl copies too, just in case this is the only CD release of this album. Nektar's music alone speaks for itself. Let there be no doubt about that! For everyone who likes thematic progressive rock; this is a must!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2012
I Just Received A Tab in the Ocean.I've Wanted This Album For While now and With the Bonus (Boston Tapes Recordings)It Doesn't Get Any Better.It Came Fast.Professional Packaging.Don't Pay Any Attention to These One Star Reviews.Very Satisfied.Thanks.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Initially saw the light of day in 1972, as this is Nektar's most accomplished record - even to this date. Believe this is the band's second lp. At first I couldn't put down this (much-welcomed) 2-CD expanded reissue. Couldn't get enough of the sixteen-minute ground-breaking (in a sense) out-standing timeless progressive gem title cut "A Tab In The Ocean", the powerful "Waves" and "King Of Twilight". First time I heard disc one - it sort of reminded me of maybe Yes-meets-Emerson Lake & Palmer. Disc two continues to show Nektar's true musical genius with tunes like "New Day Dawning", the brilliant "Gooday" and "The Life I've Been Leading". This was my first time of hearing the 'original' album version of the song "A Tab In The Ocean" - previously, I have only heard it on their 'Live 2002' 2-CD piece that I purchased awhile back shortly after I finally gained full-access to the Internet. Again like it's follow-up 'Sounds Like This' - 'A Tab In The Ocean' appears to have several pressings / versions of this CD available. Highly recommended for fans of early Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, pre-1975 Pink Floyd and Supertramp.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2009
As great as Journey to the Centre of the Eye is, the band really delivered what is probably their finest albums with A Tab in the Ocean (I know some might disagree and state Remember the Future is their best, although it's still an excellent album). The spaciness of its predecessor had been towned down, the results: a harder-edged approach, but unfortunately the Mellotron had all but vanished, I presume Allan "Taff" Freeman (or Derek "Mo" Moore) was probably having the usual trouble of Mellotron unreliability (the type that eventually caused Rick Wakeman to burn two of his back in 1982). The title track goes through several changes, I really like the guitar riffs and the wordless voices that you find in the middle part. Great organ work from "Taff" Freeman, and guitar work from Roye Albrighton. The album also featured some mellower parts too, like "Desolation Valley" that has a rather jazzy feel, and "Waves" which is more atmospheric with spoken dialog. The band gets more aggressive with the wonderful "Cryin' in the Dark". I really dig that great organ solo that ends this piece. The album ends with "King of Twilight" with those guitar riffs, and Mellotron choir (this piece, along with the Strawb's original 1972 single version of "Lay Down" are perhaps the earliest pieces to use the tron choir, so while the Mellotron M400 may have been introduced in 1970, the choir tape apparently wasn't introduced until 1972). Iron Maiden did a cover of this, so it's obvious that band were fully aware of these guys.
I own both the German original on Bellaphon/Bacillus, and the 1976 American Larry Fast remixed version on Passport. The remixed version tends to have a more polished sound, less rough, especially the vocals. So the listening is a bit "cleaner". It's nice to see both versions now on this CD reissue. So Americans won't be wondering why the version they grew up in the late '70s sounded different from what the Germans (as well as British, as that album also got released in the UK on United Artists) heard in the early '70s.
It's another great album that you must have.