Written by 12:10 pm Audiophile Music, Audiophile, Audiophile News, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, Compact Disc, Quadrophonic, Surround Sound

Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary 4CD Boxed Set Features Fine 1BD Blu-ray Disc With New Hi-Res 5.1 Surround Sound & Stereo Remixes, Live Concert CDs Plus Bonus Videos

Mark Smotroff takes a trip back to the future sound of Nektar in surround sound…


By Mark Smotroff

On the one hand it’s a frustrating shame that we have had to wait 50 years and through the passing of several key band members for something like this to happen: a multi-disc boxed set celebrating the seminal album by one of the great underdog progressive rock bands from the 1970s: Remember The Future by England’s Nektar. 

On the other hand, fans of the band can’t help but feel grateful to finally get to hear special editions of this music from Remember The Future, Nektar’s breakthrough album which reached #13 on the US Billboard charts (and they hadn’t even ever toured America at that point!).  Featured in the set is a wonderful new 5.1 surround sound mix and a complete (and quite fantastic!) 1974 concert from Germany which finds the band firing with all cylinders on and smoking. You’ll get all that and more in Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition 4CD/1Blu-ray Disc boxed set.

The back-story on Nektar as been told extensively across the Internet, including by myself through numerous reviews I’ve penned here in Audiophilereview and elsewhere. For those interested, please follow these links to catch up on past releases including a wonderful 1973 live archival DVD (click here), their 2013 release Time Machine (click here), a first time vinyl remaster of their 2008 release Book Of Days plus a later-era live concert DVD set (click here). Along the way, expect to learn more about this group which I have affectionately dubbed over the years: “The Little Prog Rock Band That Could,” a loving reference to the classic children’s tale of the train who had confidence in itself to make it up the hill against all odds.

Included in Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition set are two CDs containing a complete previously unreleased concert from Muenster, Germany, recorded at Stadthalle (January 28, 1974). While there has been no shortage of fine live Nektar recordings made available by the band (including a wonderful archive download series they offered from their website for a period), this show feels pretty special, capturing the group in particularly well-oiled form, after touring Remember The Future for the better part of a year and breaking out new material that would end up on their next album, Down To Earth.  The sequence featuring a particularly slow/driving and near-funky, ripping version of “Fidgety Queen” which leads into drummer Ron Howden’s soaring solo and then “Show Me The Way” is near epic.  

For me, the star of Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition is a Blu-ray Disc featuring a terrific new 5.1 surround sound remix of the album as well as  a new stereo mix which offers more detailing and clarity along the way. You also get the original 1973 Stereo mix and the original quadraphonic mix (the latter which had been released in the early 00s on a very limited edition SACD series). All this is presented in 96 kHz/24-bit fidelity which is crisp yet warm sounding. 

That original Quad mix is probably a good place to start listening on this disc, especially since you won’t likely want to listen to it very much! I mean this in the best possible way but it is useful to get some perspective to better appreciate how much better the new mix sounds.  

I’m not sure what the problem was back in the day, but even the aforementioned earlier SACD version of the Quad mix never sounded especially good — it feels somehow thin, and this new version included on the Blu-ray Disc feels about the same.  So, listen to it for a bit to get an idea of what they were trying for back in the day and then just switch over to the new 5.1 mix which is simply a night and day listening experience! 

The new surround mix of Nektar’s Remember The Future is the one you’ll enjoy cranking up loud! The band sounds full and rich in this new 5.1 surround sound mix. The surround channels are used tastefully, keeping the core band up front and saving the rear speakers for solo moments, as well as periodic harmonies and special-effects.  

The Blu-ray Disc in Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition also includes three excellent video performances from the time period of the album’s release: a rare promotional film, a mesmerizing proto-music-video of ‘’Wings” (from the prior Sounds Like This album) which was shown on BBC TVs Old Grey Whistle Test along with a live performance of “Desolation Valley / Waves.”  The live performance is extra special as it features the often hidden fifth member of Nektar, light show wizard Mick Brockett (who we finally get to see for a moment in the film!). 

I have to commend Esoteric Recordings & Cherry Red Records for pulling out the stops on Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition with not only high quality mastering but also lovely packaging. They have included individual covers with alternate artwork for each CD as well as a nice full color booklet with fresh essays and fabulous black and white photography of the band from that era. The collection also includes a fun, fold out small-scale reproduction of a promotional poster from Nektar’s October/November 1973 run of shows in England. It all comes to you housed in a hard-shell, laminated finish, CD-sized box that looks and feels substantial. It is just right. 

Nektar’s Remember The Future 50th Anniversary Edition is a great set and is priced very fairly selling for around $65 on Amazon. You can find it on Amazon just by clicking on the title anywhere here in this review. If you love Nektar, you’ll probably want to grab one of these little gems while you can.

Long live Nektar! 

[Mark Smotroff has been reviewing music at AudiophileReview for many years but can also be found at AnalogPlanet.com. In the past he has written for Sound & Vision, DISCoveries, EQ, Mix and many more.  An avid vinyl collector and music enthusiast who has also worked in marketing communications for decades you can learn  more about his background at LinkedIn.]

TRACK LISTING

DISC ONE
Remember the Future – The 50th Anniversary remaster
1 Remember the Future Part One
2 Remember the Future Part Two 

Bonus track
3 Let it Grow (Live Erbach, Germany April 1973)

DISC TWO
Remember the Future – The 50th Anniversary stereo remix
1 Remember the Future Part One
2 Remember the Future Part Two 

Bonus tracks
3 Lonely Roads (German promo single version)
4 Let it Grow (German promo single version)

DISC THREE
Live at Stadthalle, Munster, Germany 28th January 1974
Previously unreleased
1 King of Twilight
2 Desolation Valley
3 A Day in the Life of a Preacher
4 Cast Your Fate
5 Remember the Future Part One

DISC FOUR
Live at Stadthalle, Munster, Germany 28th January 1974
Previously unreleased
1 Odysee
2 That’s Life
3 Fidgety Queen
4 Ron’s On
5 Show Me the Way
6 Little Boy
7 Need Love
8 Smile / Lonely Roads
9 Let it Grow

DISC FIVE
Remember the Future
96 kHz / 24-bit 5.1 Surround Sound mix / stereo remix / original stereo mix / 1973 Quad mix

1 Remember the Future – Part One
2 Remember the Future – Part Two

Visual content
1 Remember the Future – (promotional film 1973)
2 Wings (BBC TV “Old Grey Whistle Test” – 10th July 1973)
3 Desolation Valley / Waves (BBC TV “Old Grey Whistle Test” – 23rd October 1973)

(Visited 456 times, 54 visits today)
Close