Exposé Online banner

Osmosis — Osmosis
(Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2613, 1970/2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-02-05

Osmosis Cover art

It’s a lot easier to make a progressive rock record in 2018 than it was in 1970. All one needs to do is find one or more established progressive artists from decades past and model your sound after them, be it Crimson, Tull, Kansas, Genesis, or any of hundreds or even thousands of others, whose sound already defines the somewhat vague genre. Before 1970, a band or artist actually had to come up with something starkly interesting and original on their own. At that time there were no pre-existing patterns to model your sound on if you were looking to break existing boundaries with your music. In the cauldron of musical expression and experimentation surrounding Berklee College of Music in the late 60s, Osmosis was born. Two of the founding members, keyboard player Charlie Bechler and woodwind player Charlie Mariano, were already established jazz sidemen or bandleaders going all the way back to the mid-50s. The other five members including guitarist Andy Steinborn, bassist Danny Comfort, drummer Lou Peterson, percussionist and drummer Bobby Clark, and lead singer Bobby Knox were all somewhat younger and more rock or R&B oriented, but this was a band where everyone had an equal hand in the compositions, lyrics, and arrangements. The dozen tracks on this, their first and only LP, displayed an eclectic range of influences from jazz, rock, classical, psychedelic, and much more, with a heavy blast of originality on every cut. Sure, there were other bands delivering rock-jazz-classical hybrids in the pre-fusion era, coming to mind are Blood Sweat & Tears on the East Coast, Lighthouse in Canada, and out on the West Coast you had Spirit, and the whole Canterbury sound in England led by Soft Machine, but there was no standardized way of making the magic happen, and Osmosis didn’t seem to be patterning their approach after any others that came before them. These were true originals, integrating jazzy sounds and styles into the then-current brand of psychedelic rock with a powerful lead vocal presence. This is one of those recordings that might put the listener off on the first listen, but with every spin it gets better and more interesting. Of course it didn’t last more than one album before they threw in the towel, Mariano going off to Germany to join up with Embryo and eventually team up with Eberhard Weber’s Colours and other endeavors. Steinborn joined the faculty of Berklee, and since moved to Nevada and plays in the Hillside Street Band. Bechler did some other things, but most of the band members have no further credits.


Filed under: Reissues, 2017 releases, 1970 recordings

Related artist(s): Osmosis, Charlie Mariano

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Wyatt / Atzmon / Stephen - ...For the Ghosts Within – Canterbury icon Robert Wyatt steps out of his comfort zone with acclaimed sax man Gilad Atzmon in an unusual collection of light orchestral covers of standards (and a few re-arranged Wyatt classics)....  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues