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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Crises - Broken Glass – OK, another CD from Angular, yet another German Dream Theater clone. I thought the Germans liked Saga but I guess that was the good old days. Broken Glass covers all the requisite bases: James La Brie...  (1999) » Read more

Scenes - Call Us Now at the Number You Provide – Swedish prog metal protagonists Scenes are not a well known commodity on the international scene yet but they are making substantial inroads in that direction with this first label release. The...  (2006) » 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

Attila & Dave Project - Songs of Innocence & Experience – This new trio from the San Francisco Bay Area is a picturesque collage of styles ranging from mid-60s psychedelic music (e.g. early Pink Floyd), 50s surf style guitar playing (new words) but with a...  (1997) » Read more

Richard Bone - The Eternal Now – With four releases under his belt, Richard Bone has touched on a variety of different musical avenues, of which The Eternal Now is his nod to the New Age / ambient realm. While I'm usually loath...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues