This review originally came out of my face as a stream-of-consciousness, blow-by-blow of each track, but it was a terrifying mess – even I feared for my own sanity – this is what this album does to your brain. Don’t do drugs kids.
The Nova Collective has personnel from both Between The Buried and Me and Haken, so the similarities to their musical styles really does come through into the album, The Further Side, which is released on the 10th March 2017. The band started in 2014 with musicians from both sides of the Atlantic.
The first track, Dancing Machines, opens like Opeth. It has some sweeeeet drumming and piano tinkling, really rather an enjoyable intro. Then, it’s fast, upbeat, I feel like when my tune comes on in the club (I don’t go to clubs, actually, but I imagine that’s what it would be like. There’s a bit of tambor in there too (or “Hand jangles instrument” that I wrote first because I couldn’t remember the name!). Sweet. The track changes with a nice little run down into madness and change of pace. Reminds me of a soundtrack. Very chilled a, perhaps, a little but “loungey”, but not for long, my head is nodding. This track reminds me a little of Native Construct, some Haken mixed in. Interesting track, and very multi-layered. This is when I realise that this will be one of those albums known as a “grower”, I won’t get it at first, I really have to sit and listen to get the most out of it.
Next up Cascades, which sounds like shattered skies. Some excellent bass work on a mellow intro, but not loungey this time. Quickly jumps into the instrumental version of space invaders. Then some Hammond reed organ (my second favourite kind of organ). It get’s faster and more frantic until exploding into some instrumental wizardry at the end.
The track Air is more Hammond stuff. Sounds a bit like Bigelf, but not as exciting. I’m starting to get a bit bored now – although, I find that with instrumental stuff – you have to listen to it in bits.
State Of Flux is really jazzy and bites into my interest again (I really enjoy jazz). A bit like some Sonny Rollins mixed with Haken (again). It’s the 2nd longest song on the album and, by the end, it feels it. Hard to stay with the music now.
Ripped Apart and Reassembled turns up the funk. Reminds me a bit of Parliament. It ramps up into a keyboardy 80s feel (Haken again!) and some thumping slap bass with a wah that is really nice. Drums go nuts, still, it feels like a longer version of the intro to the latest Haken release.
The Further Side: More jazzy instrumental, this time reminiscent of a bit Plini, but a bit more melotron plini, if you get what I mean. No? Well. OK then. Try early Porcupine Tree, like Signify, or on the Sunday Side of Life, but with more jazz piano breakdowns instead of singing.
I strongly believe that this album will need a few listens to really get the most out of, it’s complex in places (but good complex, like John Coltrane on Giant Steps – hat tip to Beandog) and the influences of the individual members really shine through.
For fans of: (Instrumental versions of) Opeth, Haken and Native Construct
You can check out the first track, Dancing Machines, below and judge for yourselves: