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East Of Eden

Eclectic Prog

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East Of Eden Snafu album cover
4.17 | 203 ratings | 15 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Have to Whack It Up (2:20)
2. Leaping Beauties for Rudy / Marcus Junior (7:02)
3. Xhorkham / Ramadhan / In the Snow for a Blow (incl. Better Git It in Your Soul) (8:07)
4. Uno Transito Clapori (2:28)
5. Gum Arabic / Confucius (8:18)
6. Nymphenburger (6:15)
7. Habibi Baby / Boehm Constrictor / Beast of Sweden (6:22)
8. traditional - arranged by East Of Eden (1:36)

Total Time 42:28

Bonus tracks on 2004 Eclectic remaster:
9. Jig-a-Jig (A-side 1970 single) (3:43)
10. Petite Fille (3:55) *
11. Biffin Bridge (5:52) *
12. Blue Boar Blues (7:14) *
13. Nymphenburger (1st take) (5:16)
14. Marcus Junior (edit for 1970 single) (5:12)
15. Jig-a-Jig (take 9) (4:17)

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Nicholson / guitars, vocals, harmonica, piano, strings
- Ron Caines / piano, saxophones (tenor, soprano and alto electric & acoustic), vocals, stylophone
- Dave Arbus / electric violin, tenor saxophone, flute, trumpet, bagpipes, Indian bells
- Andy Sneddon / bass, strings
- Geoff Britton / drums, percussion (claves, African hand drum)

- Peter Ryston / tape (4)
- Robin Sylvester / tape (4), engineer

Releases information

ArtWork: East of Eden (design) with Peter Sanders (photo)

LP Deram - SML 1050 (1970, UK)
LP Deram DES 18043 (1970, US)
LP Deram SL 285 (1976, Japan)

CD Deram - P25L 25060 (1989, Japan)
CD Deram ‎- 820 617-2 (1990, Europe) Remastered by Anthony Hawkins w/ 1 bonus track (#9)
CD Eclectic - ECLCD 1013 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 7 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy EAST OF EDEN Snafu Music

EAST OF EDEN Snafu ratings distribution

(203 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

EAST OF EDEN Snafu reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Gone is French Canadian Dave Dufont from the drum kit and Steve York on bass and in comes Geoff Brittan and Andy Sneddon respectively. This second album is a much proggier statement than Mercator Projected, but it is still plagued with imperfections but none are glaring. The sound is rather different but is also tighter (different rhythm section) , but the three frontmen Arbus , Caines and Nicholson are still there.

The intro of the album does bring you back to their debut with its hard blues- derived prog, but soon forgotten by a two-part track starting with an almost free jazz intro but second part Marcus Junior instils an eastern European feel to the much improvised but structured finale. The six-part 8min long third track (a bit like some Caravan tracks the parts have names but the collective track has no clear name) is clearly the centre of the album, but again it is relatively slow to start and only in the Ramadhan, does it raise your eyebrow with interest and the slight Arabic feel is confirmed throughout the track even if they evoke a Mingus theme and a short drum solo.

The Italian named opener (2nd side) is full of weird but basic tape effect that unfortunately last too long and irritates with repeated listenings. The 8min+ Confucius is again slow to develop but here the great Arabic Gum intro with fitting ambiances are delightful, with the flute evoking a bit Focus's Anonymous theme. Clearly another highlight of this album as the track develops in an insane and chaotic quagmire. Nymphenberger is one of those tracks that most of the older progheads have heard without ever knowing it was East Of Eden, but it was a minor hit and justifiably so, even if it pales in comparison with their next hit Jig-A-Jig. Next up is another multi (three in this case) part track that veers between mid- Eastern ambiances and almost free jazz before easing into an awesome improv where the violins are left right and centre until the Nymphenberger is briefly reprised before reverting to the previous madness. The Outro is a slow track oscillating with almost declamative vocals and piano-electronic doodlings - sounds a bit like 70's beat poet happening.

Clearly the better of East Of Eden albums, this is also the last album where the three kingpins were together as the mega hit (and completely atypical of their style) will change many things, the next album boasting a completely different line- up save Dave Arbus.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Snafu" is East of Eden's sophomore effort, a crucial album for the development of the trend initiated in the debut album "Mercator Projected". In this album, the band's sound feels patently more solid while sticking to its peculiar combination of blues-rock, psychedelia and fusion. Although the proto-prog label is usually stamped on this band's name together with Procol Harum, Gracious Beggar's Opera and others, the fact is that East of Eden displays a lesser interest in stylish sophistication or classicist influences in favor or a more trippy-friendly sort of endeavor regarding their instrumental travels. Perhaps a connection can be drawn with the electric side of 71-71 Jade Warrior. "Snafu" is an equally rough and complex album: the roughness comes from the energetic fruition created among all instrumentalists, while teh complexity is based on the adventurous spirit instilled in the main motif's expansions. After a catchy blues-rock piece such as the gracefully pedestrian 'Have to Whack It Up', comes a jam full of Arabic undertones titled 'Leaping Beauties for Rudy / Marcus Junior', where the dual saxes steal and reshape the limelight as they go on and on. Arbus, who had made his violin shine on the first track, now states abundant traces of bluesy feel on his tenor sax opposite the more exuberant deliveries on soprano sax by Caines. For the jam's closing climax, Arbus brings back his violin, providing an enhanced exquisiteness to the track. Much of the same is kind of reiterated in the following piece, albeit with a more deliberate complexity. Things get started with a soundscape of various ('Xhorkom'), followed by a Middle Eastern section on a 6/8 tempo titled 'Ramadhan', quite ethereal; finally, 'In the Show for a Blow' explores an exercise on jazz-blues similarly to 68-69 Colosseum, especially regarding the exulting vibe. This is definitely a highlight of the album. 'Uno Transito Clapori' is another creation from the engineer's desk, this time distorting violin and sax lines in a way that it World have made Faust or Can proud. The album's second half starts with 'Gum Arabic / Confucius', yet another Arabic-based jam with bluesy undertones: some frenzy moments reveal thundering passages on flute and sax, while the frame elaborated by the drums, guitar and bass keeps things firm in the basic structure. 'Nymphenberger' is another favorite of mine. Its first part has a robust starting point, eventually reprised for the closing climax; in between, there is a sung portion very focused on the bluesy vibe that East of Eden feels so comfortable in, and it also contains one of the few guitar leads in the album. This is as close as East of Eden gets to primitive Jethro Tull. 'Habibi Baby / Boehm Constrictor / Beast of Sweden' starts with a new reversed tape intro, after which a very free-form improve emerges with heavy doses of fire and aggressiveness, ultimately focusing on an explosive rocking dynamics. The last track is 'Traditional', which I relieve is an old mass song - it is stripped down to a piano-vocal scheme, like a slow jazz ballad sung by the last drunk performer in a night club before the arrival of dawn. Well, this is all I can say about "Snafu" and its official repertoire. The CD edition brings a number of bonus tracks, including the single "Jig-a-Jig". This album is really excellent, if dated - East of Eden is a band that all serious collectors must pay real attention to.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The second album brings more experimental side of EAST OF EDEN. Free-form jazz improvisations and electronic tape manipulations are omnipresent so that they sometimes suffocate the album's consistency. Diversity in style and eclecticism are fine but only if they serve the purpose and I think it is not always the case with "Snafu". On the other hand one must applaud the band's uncompromising attitude and "pushing the boundaries" methodology, which were at the core of "progressive" movement in the early 1970s.

Central-East European and Oriental/Arabic folk elements were important inspiration to this album, even more than it was the case with the debut. Although they are dispersed and inter-mingled across several different multi-part tracks, these are perhaps the best moments on "Snafu". "Marcus Junior" with its klezmer-like danceable feel and wonderful woodwinds as leading instruments was even a minor hit, published as a B-side of the 7" single "Jig-a-Jig" (the band's most popular track, included on some "Snafu" CD re- issues as a bonus). "Ramadhan", "Gum Arabic" and "Habibi Baby" contain obvious Arabic/Middle Eastern snippets, bringing them close to (and anticipating) the work of EMBRYO or other early "World Fusion" pioneers, such as OREGON. There are even some noisy elements that I could recognize from FAUST's phenomenal "clear vinyl" debut from the following 1971 year! We cannot say that EAST OF EDEN were not aware of the contemporary progressive music!

If only the whole album was produced with a clearer sense of unity among different tracks or if there were more compositions like excellent "Nymphenburger", "Snafu" would deserve even a better rating. Still, in spite of my feeling that it is less strong work then the debut album "Mercator Projected", due to its experimental and avant-guarde nature I cannot give it simply a 3 star rating.


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars It's such a pleasure when I find a gem like this. Especially when it's from the late sixties or early seventies. I say that because I thought I had searched that era really well, so to go back and find something so valuable is just a real joy. Bazinga ! This is EAST OF EDEN's second album from 1970 and it's just as good as their 1969 debut in my opinion. I just can't get over how much I love these guys. I mean they are so inventive with the violin, flute and sax playing an important role. And they like to experiment and use dissonance too. Plus they can be so catchy with that rhythm section. Again THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE comes to mind at times with that Bartok inspired violin and killer rhythm section. David Hitchcock produced this album by the way.

"Have To Whack It Up" has this catchy beat as the guitar and violin play over top. So good. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. A lot of yelling ends this opening track. "Leaping Beauties For Rudy / Marcus Junior" opens with horns and random drum patterns. Dissonance follows as things get intense. A change 2 minutes in as an uptempo melody takes over. Great sound. "Xhorkom / Ramadhan / In The Snow For A Blow" has an Eastern vibe to start. A beat with horns kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes as the percussion also joins the already existing drums and horns. Some flute then the sound turns more powerful as the vocals stop. Horns and a beat then take over again. A drum show before 7 1/2 minutes.Violin ends it. "Uno Transito Clapori" has these experimental sounds that pulse throughout. "Gum Arabic Confucius" opens with bell sounds as flute joins in softly then percussion. It kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes with a catchy rhythm and flute. Dissonant horns after 3 1/2 minutes as spoken words come in.The previous soundscape returns. Love this !

"Nymphenburger" hits the ground running as violin and drums rip it up. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar solos a minute later then the tempo picks up after 4 1/2 minutes with violin leading. Such a catchy beat as the violin lights it up. "Habibi Baby / Beast Of Sweden / Boehm Constrictor" is exotic and psychedelic to start as distorted vocals join in. It calms down with intricate sounds before kicking in at 4 1/2 minutes.Too much ! Violins are slicing away as the bass throbs. "Traditional : Arranged By East Of Eden" is the short closer. Sparse sounds as reserved vocals come in. So cool.

Gotta love the cover art too. Amazing album.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Jazzy without obviously slotting into any particular jazz-influenced tradition of 1970s prog - it's not heavy enough to be a riff on the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the inclusion of Dave Arbus' violin and various wind instruments sets the lineup apart from many other fusion outfits of the time, and whilst there is a certain playfulness to the album it doesn't sound like a product of the Canterbury scene - East of Eden's Snafu is a compelling overlooked gem from the golden age of prog. The band are at their best when they get into intense, extended jams, which the long running time of the tracks offers plentiful scope for, and the inventiveness on display means the album offers a stimulating mental workout for the attentive listener.
Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars After the interesting experiments blended with 60s heavy psych on their debut album, EAST OF EDEN were in no mood to rest on their laurels with the sophomore release SNAFU. They refined the approach started on the debut and literally jazzed it up a few notches also replacing the bassist and drummer. Alternating between bluesy and ska guitar, free-form jazz and catchy jazz-fusion with ethnic world music incorporated into the fabric. In fact, the band was one of the very first to heavily incorporate influences and rhythms from around the world. In addition to standard rock instruments we also get violin, flute, saxes and various other wind instruments and percussion. One of the most surprising tracks is "Uno Transito Clapori" which is a strange hypnotic electronic piece that sounds like it would be more at home on a COIL album than a jazz-fusion one. Various other unorthodox experiments really add spice to an already strong album.

This album really delivers in the eclectic department and I am absolutely amazed that this album was released way back in 1970. Apparently they took the success (and influences) of King Crimson from the year before to heart and decided to pave their own unique musical path. They did just that and this is an even more enjoyable album than their debut. Unfortunately the experiments would end after this album and they would drift more towards a country folk sound which isn't surprising since a the next year a country folk tune "Jig-a-jig" was a huge hit in Europe and set the course for a tamed down more accessible sound. The track was released only as a single but is included on the remastered version of this album. It's excellent as well. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5

Review by ALotOfBottle
5 stars With their debut album, Mercator Projected, East Of Eden approached a unique territory that could be described as a crossover of psychedelic rock and world music. One year after the work, the group started recording Snafu, an album that many years later is considered their best work.

The music on Snafu is nearly unclassifiable. East Of Eden's highly complex style introduces elements of Arabic music, Jewish folk, Celtic folk, jazz, European art music of the middle ages and renaissance, Eastern European folk, ambient, avant-garde rock, and experimental music. Yes, it's that complicated. However, every second on the album passes by naturally, making it an incredibly fascinating journey. Sophisticated arrangements, skillful instrumental workouts, dynamically varied parts, tongue-in-cheek moments, melodic songs, atonal cacophony - all of these elements are to be found on this album. Let me just say, that this review is short and subjective, because Snafu is among my favorite musical creations of all time.

Electric violin with Israeli music influences is one of the things that gives East Of Eden a distinctive sound. Others include various saxophones, trumpets, bagpipes, African hand drums, a Celtic fiddle and many more. Geoff Nicholson's guitar work links the band's world music-infused sound with progressive rock. In short, the musicianship on this release is out of this world.

There are eight tracks on the album, every single one has its own personality. "Leaping Beauties for Rudy", "Xhorkhom/Ramadhan/In the Snow for a Blow", and "Gum Arabic" bring a little bit of middle-eastern influences. "Nymphenburger", which I consider the best track on the album seems to owe a great deal to musical traditions of Eastern Europe, as well as Israeli music with some blues flavoring at moments. "Boehm Constrictor", a part of a three piece suite is another fascinating piece with an exotic folk sound. There are more ambient, melody-less moments such as "Beast of Sweden" or "Uno Transito Clapori".

All in all, I consider this to be one of the best and most representative progressive rock albums of all time. This is without a doubt a must-listen for every prog rock fan. Very highly recommended!

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Once in a while, just when you think you have heard all of the gems from the 70s, something comes along that takes you by surprise. The band East of Eden with their 2nd album "Snafu" is just one such album. I ran across this album while searching through this site way back at the beginning of the decade, found a bargain bin copy of it, bought it, and forgot about it. Shame on me. This album is one of the most amazing new things (well, it's new to me) that I have heard from that amazing musical decade for a long, long time. How could I have avoided this for so long?

Most of the music on this album is instrumental with a few vocal embellishments thrown in here and there. From what I have read, this sophomore released from this band is quite different from their first album, which supposedly is more of a psychedelic affair. This album is world's away from psychedelic, leaning more towards a peppy, jazz fusion album which is so full of fun that you just can't help but smile when you listen to it. And the best part is, you can tell the band is having a good time playing it.

So, what exactly is this? The closest way to describe it is fusion music that doesn't take itself seriously. But that is not all you get here. The music can go from avant-garde to jewish dance music in the space of a couple of seconds. Just listen to the 2nd track "Leaping Beauties for Rudy / Marcus Junior" and you'll know what I'm talking about. Then go to the next track "Xhorkhom / Ramadhan / In The Snow For A Blow" and experience a backwards track that introduces you to a mid- Eastern rocker and then whirls you away in a jazz/rock festival that is full of horns, woodwinds, guitars, drums and lots of "sing-a-long" (?) fun. "Gum Arabic / Confucius" brings in a psychedelic flair by poking fun at the bands first album (which was way too serious) with a spoken word section while the flute goes wildly off kilter, and then returns again bringing a sax along with it. Oh, and don't forget that there is a violin in there too, or would you call it a fiddle? Think of "Kansas" with the "I-don't-give-a-damn" attitude. Make sure that you don't ignore the track "Nymphenburger" which allows the violin and the guitar to go wild with each other.

It is quite difficult to explain just what you are getting into here, just think that if Secret Chiefs 3 had a musical mentor, then this band must have been one of their inspirations. The music is quirky, fun, carefree, unpredictable, and totally not serious enough to just be considered plain old Jazz/ rock fusion, which is why it must be considered Eclectic. It's not all fun and games however, as "Habibi Baby / Beast of Sweden / Boehm Constrictor" is a more psychedelic mish-mash of Arabic styles and traditional folk instruments, but done with a more avant-garde style.

The unfortunate thing is that apparently the band had a big European hit with a single that came out shortly after this album, called "Jig a Jig" which is actually a bonus track on the 2004 reissue. After that hit, the band started to concentrate on that silly country-folk sound, and this would end up being really their best album. But, let me say that it is definitely an album you will want to look for. So with that, I will let you go search for this album so that you can experience it for yourself. Most of the few reviews that have been done on this album express surprise and admiration for this album, but it looks like I am not the only one that has missed this album because there really aren't as many reviews or people that have heard this than there should be. Now go find this hidden masterpiece especially if you love your music quirky and eclectic. It's so hard to believe this was released in 1970.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Snafu" is the second full-length studio album by UK, Bristol based psychedelic rock/progressive rock act East of Eden. The album was released through Deram Records in February 1970. Itīs the successor to "Mercator Projected" from April 1969 (which was also released through Deram Records). Even before the release of "Mercator Projected" drummer Dave Dufont and bassist Steve York (who both play on the album) had left East of Eden and they were quickly replaced by Brian Appleyard and Andy Sneddon. Appleyard didnīt last long though and was replaced by Geoff Britton in July 1969. So the lineup on "Snafu" is: Geoff Nicholson (guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals), Dave Arbus (electric violin, flute, bagpipes, saxophones, trumpet, Indian bells), Ron Caines (soprano & alto saxophones, piano/organ, stylophone, vocals), Andy Sneddon (bass, strings), and Geoff Britton (drums/percussion).

Stylistically East of Eden have developed their style and although there are still traces of their psychedelic rock roots heard on the album (this is at times pretty laid back and spaced out, although thatīs not the dominant atmosphere of the album) and they can still occasionally rock pretty hard, "Snafu" is a more jazz/rock oriented release than its predecessor spiced up with a lot of other influences from for example middle eastern/indian music traditions and because of the complexity and eclectic way the music is presented you can add an avant garde influence here too. Sometimes even venturing into big band type parts, but also keeping things organic and rocking (think the busy big band part of "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson). Itīs one of East of Edenīs greatest strengths...that they can both deliver some really sophisticated and relatively complex jazz/rock while still playing organic rockīnīroll. The vocals are relatively sparse and "Snafu" is mostly focused on instrumental sections, so the vocals are arguably the least interesting feature of the album, although they certainly arenīt badly performed.

Upon conclusion this is a highly experimental rock album which should appeal to the more open-minded late 60s/early 70s music listener. Itīs a well produced release too and paired with the high level musicianship and the adventuorus songwriting approach "Snafu" is a high quality release from East of Eden. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Probably the place to begin and end your East of Eden experience. The more psych-rock of their debut has not aged very well. In contrast, Snafu is an engagihg listen every time. I think about how Kansas' song "Leftoverture" was a series of stitched-together musical ideas and favorite warm up jam ... (read more)

Report this review (#1694184) | Posted by Zephyr | Saturday, February 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Snafu is one of those amazing things you discover on this site. A rather obscure piece of music from England in 1970, the band East of Eden released their undeniably perfect album on the apex of progressive music's creation. Many of the bands sounds point to Gentle Giant,who has the same sor ... (read more)

Report this review (#1455160) | Posted by aglasshouse | Friday, August 21, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I saw East of Eden twice on the early 70's rock circuit. The first time I had never heard of them - the second time I was really looking forward to it. They were electrifying as a live band, led by their commanding virtuoso violinist Dave Arbus. Rock audiences didn't usually dance wildly in those da ... (read more)

Report this review (#1294256) | Posted by Einwahn | Sunday, October 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jazz-Indo-Arab-Psychedelic-Prog Rock. Played sometimes backwards. Are you ready? First of all, the reasons because this is not a five star album: Have To Whack It Up, the first song of the album, is a simply hard-rock piece with Arbus at the violin and a shouted vocal ending. Then Habibi Baby ... (read more)

Report this review (#409379) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is East of Eden in jazz-fusion mode ... in particular, a feel of Eastern Europe blows through the album, to add to the already intoxicating blend of melodies and rhythms from this classic bunch of proggers. There is an earthiness too, a heaviness; so in spite of the regular jazzed-out rif ... (read more)

Report this review (#93790) | Posted by RubberSled | Sunday, October 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The second work released in 1970 "Snafu". Combinations with a strong violin, saxophone, and guitar as usual are demonstrated. It is jazz-rock with which Asian Ekizotizm overflows in the forward. It is dangerous smell of the underground in strength. In addition, it is a work that became more av ... (read more)

Report this review (#60742) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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