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!See Also: Who Makes Crosley Appliances
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Read an Excerpt Chapter 1  THE SALINAS VALLEY is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay. I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even.
The memory of odors is very rich. I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love. The Santa Lucias stood up against the sky to the west and kept the valley from the open sea, and they were dark and brooding—unfriendly and dangerous.
I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east. Where I ever got such an idea I cannot say, unless it could be that the morning came over the peaks of the Gabilans and the night drifted back from the ridges of the Santa Lucias. It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling about the two ranges of mountains. From both sides of the valley little streams slipped out of the hill canyons and fell into the bed of the Salinas River.
In the winter of wet years the streams ran full-freshet, and they swelled the river until sometimes it raged and boiled, bank full, and then it was a destroyer. The river tore the edges of the farm lands and washed whole acres down; it toppled barns and houses into itself, to go floating and bobbing away. It trapped cows and pigs and sheep and drowned them in its muddy brown water and carried them to the sea.
Then when the late spring came, the river drew in from its edges and the sand banks appeared. And in the summer the river didn’t run at all above ground. Some pools would be left in the deep swirl places under a high bank. The tules and grasses grew back, and willows straightened up with the flood debris in their upper branches. The Salinas was only a part-time river. The summer sun drove it underground.
It was not a fine river at all, but it was the only one we had and so we boasted about it—how dangerous it was in a wet winter and how dry it was in a dry summer. You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.