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EAST OF EDEN

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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East Of Eden picture
East Of Eden biography
Formed in Bristol, UK, in 1967 - Disbanded in 1978 - Reunited in 1996

I think that EAST OF EDEN is a very good and worthmentioned prog rock band. They where formed in 1967 and signed with DECCA RECORDS around the year 1969. Their line-up included Dave Arbus (electric violin, flute, saxophone), Ron Caines (alto sax), Geoff Nicholson (guitar, vocals), Steve York (bass guitar) and Dave Dufont (percussion). Their sound was a mixture of jazz-fusion with many oriental influences.

Their first two albums where "Mercator Projected" (1969) and "Snafu" (1970). Excellent albums where you get an outburst of electric violin, flute and saxes combined with Bela Bartok and other classical, oriental and even gypsie tunes always of course on a heavy rock basis. Their most recent album to my knowledge is "Kalipse" (1999) but it is just to be mentioned. I would really like to see this band featured and I think it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that they are.

: : : Kostis, GREECE : : :

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EAST OF EDEN discography


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EAST OF EDEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 152 ratings
Mercator Projected
1969
4.17 | 187 ratings
Snafu
1970
3.42 | 52 ratings
East of Eden
1971
2.43 | 27 ratings
New Leaf
1971
2.43 | 21 ratings
Another Eden
1975
2.73 | 15 ratings
Here We Go Again...
1976
2.60 | 10 ratings
It's the Climate
1978
2.90 | 10 ratings
Silver Park
1978
3.26 | 18 ratings
Kalipse
1997
3.15 | 13 ratings
Armadillo
2000
2.31 | 13 ratings
Graffito
2005

EAST OF EDEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Sound of East-Eden Live!
1989

EAST OF EDEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

EAST OF EDEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 20 ratings
Jig-a-Jig
1971

EAST OF EDEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Jig-a-Jig / Marcus Junior
1970

EAST OF EDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Despite two line-up changes - on bass and drums - the music of East of Eden hasn't changed too much on their second LP. "Snafu" also offers the characteristic Protoprog, which already shaped the debut: An interesting mixture of hard, blues and jazz rock, with an "oriental" flair, albeit less pronounced than "Mercator Projected".

There are a few other differences to the debut to note. In my opinion, "Snafu" is significantly more jazz-heavy, the long numbers like "Leaping Beauties For Rudy / Marcus Junior", the "Xhorkham" Medley and "Gum Arabic / Confucius" offer quite typical jazz rock jams that were still somewhat new at the time (1970) , with long, virtuoso flute and sax solos. The Arbus violin, on the other hand, hardly plays a role in these pieces. On "Snafu" there is much less singing than on the debut and relaxed-hypnotic pieces like "Waterways" by "Mercator Projected" are not found on "Snafu". "Uno transito clapori" consists only of a peculiar, repetitive, backward-playing tape endless loop of equally grinding noises. What the pseudo-Italian title should mean is also a mystery to me.

With the introductory "Have To Whack It Up" and "Nymphenburger" there are two clearly more rocky pieces in which Arbus' violin playing is again decisive. With "Habibi Baby" it even becomes really experimental. The piece sounds backwards again, so that the singing gives the impression that it is being sung in an Arabic language. After the floating interlude of "Boehm Constrictor", things get wild and weird when the violin and electric guitar duel to a throbbing bass ("Beast of Sweden"). With the short "Traditional", consisting only of echoing percussion and piano sounds and elegiac vocals, the disc comes to an end.

"Snafu" is a decent continuation of the debut. The disc lacks the raw freshness and variety of "Mercator Projected". Nevertheless, there is still first-class and exciting prog for the ears.

 Mercator Projected by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.08 | 152 ratings

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Mercator Projected
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars The cover of the first release of East of Eden is, in my humble opinion, one of the most interesting and beautiful in LP history. In shades of brown, you can see the bare back of an apparently tattooed lady, onto which the continents of the earth are projected, as a map network design according to Mercator. So you can actually be sure to attract the attention of potential customers in the record store. On the back of the LP you can admire the band members, dressed up as Egyptians, which looks really funny, especially the beards and hair of some of the people pictured.

"Take one electric violin which blows rock and Bartok, add one flute from the East, mix in Sumerian saxophone, bass, drums, guitar and liquid word-pictures - mark 'East of Eden'", it says on the back of the LP. That's actually a pretty good description of the music to be found on "Mercator Projected". Here you can hear some great hard rock, dominated by Arbus' rocking and versatile violin playing, which indeed has certain neoclassical traits reminiscent of Bartok, and the guitar work of Nicholson. Above all, the flute and the trumpet sax give the whole thing a Far Eastern character, but also a jazzy element, especially in the longer solos of these two instruments, especially in "Isodora" and the concluding "In the Stables of the Sphinx". Interspersed in these livelier numbers are quieter, psychedelic, wobbly sound images with elegiac singing: "Waterways" - the toilet flush at the end of this song is very funny (everything evidently follows the path of the water) -, "Bathers", with a beautiful, decently roaring organ, and "Moth". Also weird, free sound mess is not missing on this disc (in the middle part of "Waterways" and "In the Stables of the Sphinx"), just as little as some electronic sound gadgets (at the beginning of "Commuion" for example, a piece that incidentally is by a string quartet) Bartoks is supposed to be inspired - but I was unable to find out / hear from which one). The blues rocker "Centaur Woman" is a bit out of the ordinary, with a "dirty" harmonica as well as a long, thoroughly virtuoso bass solo.

"Mercator Projected" offers a very interesting and varied mix that actually deserves to be a little better known. One of the first real prog discs? Well, even if King Crimson clearly have first place in this regard with their debut, East of Eden does not follow them terribly far behind on one of the front places, even if the whole thing looks a bit dusty and raw from today's perspective. The disc is therefore warmly recommended to all those interested in early prog!

 Kalipse by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.26 | 18 ratings

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Kalipse
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by naplar

3 stars I came into Kalipse knowing East of Eden from their album Snafu many years ago. The studio version of Marcus Junior on that album is seared in my brain for life. Initially I was disappointed with Kalipse, but now I'm OK with it.

One cannot expect so many years later, I guess, for them to sound like the high-energy, crazy eclectic rock outfit with all the rough edges of the 1970 version. Kalipse is very smooth. The Goodbye Pork Pie Hat cover stands out. It has a phrasing change throughout, an extra beat or two near the end of each line, that gives the otherwise sedate, respectful rendition some extra zip. Many of the tracks are dominated by solos over a short repeating riff or bass figure, similar to the aforementioned Marcus Junior, but much more smooth. The soloing is fine, professional-level for sure, but not remarkable enough to prevent the combination of repetitious bass line and adequate soloing from sounding like any other competently-done smooth jazz. The heads or arranged parts, though, e.g. Kalipse and Slow Food, are really nice, well above average.

If I want to hear current music that's like the old East of Eden, maybe Sons of Kemet is close enough in spirit. But as an older guy myself now, I'm more drawn to peaceful sounds, and Kalipse is easily good enough to warrant many listens.

 Mercator Projected by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.08 | 152 ratings

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Mercator Projected
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars EAST OF EDEN were a British Jazz-Rock band who were best-known for their chart song "Jig-a-Jig", although the single wasn't representative of their album recordings. They released their first album "Mercator Projected" (1969) on the Deram label, a subsidiary of Decca Records. East of Eden recorded seven more albums during the proggy 1970's:- "Snafu" (1970); "East of Eden" (1971); "New Leaf" (1971); "Another Eden" (1975); "Here We Go Again" (1976); "It's the Climate" (1977); and "Silver Park" (1978). The band reunited nearly twenty years later for their "Kalipse" (1997) album and they've released two further albums in the early 21st century:- "Armadillo" (2001) and "Graffito" (2005). It's time now to map out the songs for their first album: "Mercator Projected". The 2004 CD reissue added three bonus tracks to the original eight songs on the album, including a cover version of The Byrds "Eight Miles High".

We're heading for the "Northern Hemisphere" for the first stop on our musical journey. It's a slow but powerful burst of Blues- Rock for the opening song which ploughs on ahead relentlessly like a runaway steamroller. The song has a somewhat menacing air, so it's best to stand well clear, because this steamroller of hard driving rock doesn't sound like it's about to stop for anyone. The song has the same strident appeal as King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", only without the tortured vocals. Dancing gracefully into view now comes "Isadora", a tribute to the dancer Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), who was tragically killed when her scarf became wrapped around the wheels of the car she was travelling in. It's a stirring Jazz-Rock number in which the flawless flautist takes flight and showcases his talent in the best tradition of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. The enchanting lyrics deserve a mention too:- "Isadora dance, we are entranced, Billowing sleeves, in the breeze, Her heart's so soft, the willow weeps, To dance is to live, to love is to give, Beneath a vine of ivy leaves, Isadora sleeps." ..... This resonant refrain was recorded 42 years after Isadora Duncan's tragic death, and now, here we are nearly a century on listening to this immortal musical tribute, when some of the East of Eden band members themselves may be no longer with us. It's a lovely song with timeless appeal. We're sailing along next with "Waterways", an Indian-influenced fuzzy guitar psych-out, so it's time to order a vindaloo curry and settle down for some sitar and electric guitar with a Quintessential side order of Raga Rock. Next up is "Centaur Woman", a raw and earthy, good old-fashioned blast of Jazz-tinged Blues-Rock in the style of Canned Heat, featuring a flautist, a saxophonist, a harmonica player, and with a mean and moody guitarist hammering out some aggressively raucous riffs. This dynamic song veers dramatically from slow blues to wild flamboyant outbursts of uptempo Jazz-Rock with all of the musicians going hell for leather in a helter-skelter frenzy of sound.

Onto Side Two now and we're dipping our toes in the water for the mellow and hypnotic "Bathers", a swirling and mystical magic carpet ride that's tripping the light fantastic in a sea of psychedelic rainbow colours. This song is awash in a Purple Haze of soothing psychedelia. It's time to follow that camel next, because we're headed to the kasbah for "Communion", a song with an exotic Egyptian feel to it. The eastern-influenced music conjures up images of pharaohs and sphinxes and pyramids. You can almost picture the harem scene where a circle of be-robed and be-turbaned Bedouins are getting high as a kite as they puff away eagerly on their hookah pipes. This groovy song is a real Jewel of the Nile. We're continuing our global travels somewhere in the exotic east with "Moth". Maybe it's Egyptian, maybe it's Turkish, but either way, it's psychedelic snake- charming music that takes the listener on an Egyptian flight of fancy, or a magical mystery tour of Turkish delight - whichever you prefer. There's no mistaking the exotic middle-eastern pretensions for the next song: "In the Stable of the Sphinx", the highlight of the album and the longest song on the album with a running time of eight and a half minutes. It's a real whirling dervish of swirling and hypnotic eastern rhythms, all bathed in a healthy splash of psychedelic colours. Prepare for the manic middle section when the music is speeded up to 99 and it sounds like the record is about to go spinning off the turntable in a psychedelic freak-out. A serene calm is restored though for the magnificent conclusion which floats along on a mystical and spiritual wave of flower-power love and peace.

This stunning debut from East of Eden has all of the sweet eastern promise of a box of Turkish delights. "Mercator Projected" is a magical mystery tour around the world, featuring a delicious exotic cocktail of hypnotic eastern rhythms, romantic refrains, psychedelic freak-outs, mean and moody blues, and jazzy jam sessions. This superb album has it all!

 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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.

 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by Zephyr

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 jams; maybe because we have become so familiar with that great piece that it all seems to naturally flow together. But, of course, you can certainly hear the not so subtle transitions within the piece that one could argue make it sound exactly the way it was made. With Snafu I get that same feeling, but the changes that occur (the many that don't build on the theme, that just start a new one) seem very exciting. That anticipation of changes of tempo is, dare I say enthralling. This is a real solid album, and any critique I've read about lack of cohesion is exactly what is great about it. Lots of musical ideas to consume....and in the end, just like Leftoverture, it all seems just as it should be. Adding to the many melodies and anti-melodies explored here are an array of fascinating instruments that add a non-western flavor that is quite exotic to these New York ears. I listen to a lot of prog and I keep coming back to this. Other reviewers have done a great job with the song by song rundown. Listen with a nice system for max affect.
 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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!

 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

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 sort of eclectic zeal that's present in Snafu. East of Eden in the very same manner didn't achieve heavy popularity with their releases either, but was significantly more successful. David Arbus brings a whole new spin on it however, combining the intricate stylings of Darryl Way (Curved Air) and the moving wind instrumentation similar to the soundscapes created by Chris Wood (Traffic). Even in a similar manner to Winwood, Nicholson brings out some fantastic guitar playing as well.

Most if not all of the more significant tracks are six to eight minutes in length, providing enough entertainment while still not going overboard. The aforementioned instrumentation is fantastic with just the right amount of zany attitude. I'd say it's a very good one to pick up if you've heard of them. Give them a listen.

 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by Einwahn

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 days, but East of Eden were truly irresistible. At my second concert, they proved a dream warm-up act for a very depressed outfit called Supertramp, who started by announcing a song from "our last album, which nobody bought". But the supercharged audience soon lifted Supertramp's spirits and they gave a passionate thank you to "the best audience we've played to in years". (My personal contribution to Crossover Prog history.)

All that said, I'm not quite sure why this album is garnering so many five-star ratings. There is some firebrand stuff (especially on the Jig-a-Jig bonus tracks, which take me way back to the above-mentioned evenings). But it is a mixed bag of alternately interesting and perplexing tracks, the latter being anarchic in the comic mode of Frank Zappa or early Soft Machine. Fun, mostly, but not a masterpiece.

Verdict: they were better live.

 Snafu by EAST OF EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.17 | 187 ratings

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Snafu
East Of Eden Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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