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

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Nick Kizirnis - Into the Loud – If you ever wondered what's up in Dayton, Ohio, Nick Kizirnis may be able to offer some clues with his first solo release Into the Loud. A veteran of numerous other Dayton area bands (Cage,...  (2007) » Read more

NoVox - NoVox – First off, this disc has to have one of the weirdest and most provocative cover images ever! Now beyond the graphics and on to the music. Some may remember the Dutch quartet Cliffhanger who put out...  (2007) » Read more

Box of Frogs - Box of Frogs / Strange Land – The Box of Frogs project reunited 3/5 of the original Yardbirds: bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, and drummer Jim McCarty. They took as their model The Traveling Willburys,...  (2007) » Read more

Colour Haze - All – Colour Haze is a German band that is new to me, though they have been recording since 1995. You can pretty much trust any Elektrohasch release to be great, and All, Colour Haze’s seventh release, is...  (2009) » Read more

Ars Nova - The Goddess of Darkness – The Goddess of Darkness is the third and latest release from this Japanese instrumental trio and is a solid follow-up to their last album, Transi. Although influenced by the likes of ELP and King...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues