Exposé Online banner

East of Eden — Mercator Projected
(Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1012, 1969/2004, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2017-08-10:

Mercator Projected Cover art

East of Eden's debut is one of the great late-60s albums, following on the way the Beatles started occasionally fusing their music with the sounds of other cultures. However, where the Beatles tended to incorporate the music of India, East of Eden used the mythology of Greece and Egypt to give their songs a true historical-exotic feel. Much of this was accomplished by the wide range of instruments played by Dave Arbus, including flute, violin, and others, some of it by the use of different musical scales, and part of it was just the atmosphere of the time period. It's perhaps somewhat telling that the bonus track here is their cover of "Eight Miles High," as that song is a good example of the paradigm of the day in a pop format with the hazy atmosphere and sense of wonder of the psychedelic era. A classic almost throughout, although "Isadora" and closer "In the Stable of the Sphinx" have to be two big highlights.


by Mike Ohman, 1995-11-01:

An engaging and groundbreaking early British progressive band, East of Eden used electric violin, dual saxes, flute, recorder and bagpipe to add texture to their guitar based rock. The end product is an almost unprecedented sound. they would have been lionized were it not for another, quite coincidentally similar band called King Crimson, who released their classic debut the same year. The accidental closeness of this band to Crimson is remarkably uncanny. Singer Geoff Nicholson is not unlike Greg Lake vocally, but more expressive and without the pompous troubadour-ish tendencies. And while he's no Robert Fripp by a longshot, his guitar playing is more than adequate. The use of woodwinds is the closest correlation, especially the multiple sax work on tracks like "Waterways," which is strongly reminiscent of Ian McDonald's work. There are even Sinfield-ian "liquid word-pictures" (that's the term they use in the liner notes to the original LP), the exception being the lyrics to "Centaur Woman," which are actually quite humorous. The pieces on Mercator Projected range from heavy guitar rock ("Northern Hemisphere") to otherworldly atmospheric studies for violin and woodwinds ("Bathers," "Isadora"). It's the latter songs that make up the bulk of the album, and part of what make it so refreshing, so original compared with their contemporaries. Which is not to slight their more rocking numbers, the outrageous bass solo on "Centaur Woman" and the tricky rhythms of the primarily instrumental "In the Stable of Sphinx" prove these too have worth. East of Eden carried on for many years after Mercator Projected, eventually scoring a fluke early-70s top-ten hit single in "Jig-A-Jig." But they never got the respect they deserved based on this very good album, which surprisingly has dated very little.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 8 , 2004 releases, 1969 releases

Related artist(s): East of Eden

More info

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Happy Rhodes - Many Worlds Are Born Tonight – Happy Rhodes is now at her eighth studio album, and it is her first to be released on a label other than her own Aural Gratification. Not that signing with Samson is exactly a move to the majors. This...  (1999) » Read more

Akai Ikuo - Language without Words – This short album (in the neighborhood of 30 minutes even including the two unlisted tracks) is the first US release but Japanese experimental multi-instrumentalist Akai Ikuo. It’s a combination...  (2008) » Read more

Magus - Lucid Dreamer – Lucid Dreamer is a compilation of tracks from the 1997 album Traveller and the follow-up Highway 375 EP, remastered for the fuller sound that Magus guru Andrew Robinson intended. Also included are a...  (2006) » Read more

Talvin Singh - Ha – The emerging electronica scene has been a source of many innovative and progressive talents, such as Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, and one of the highlights of this scene would have to be Talvin Singh....  (2001) » Read more

Orange Peel - Orange Peel – Another one of the bright spots on the shaky Germanofon roster, Orange Peel were a one-shot that put out a great album in 1970 and then disappeared. The music is typical of early German groups more in...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues