Sunday, November 29, 2015

Eden - 1978 - Erwartung

Eden
1978
Erwartung

 

01. Spatregen (7:09)
02. Erwartung (6:41)
03. Eden Teil
    I) Eden Teil (4:35)
    II) Eden Teil II (6:08)
04. Ein Anderes Land (16:31)

- Michael Claren / bass, background vocals
- Anne Dierks / vocals
- Michael Dierks / keyboards, vocals
- Markus Egger / vocals
- Hans Fritzsch / guitars
- Hans Müller / drums, percussion
- Mario Schaub / flute, clarinet, saxophone, background vocals
- Annette Schmalenbach / vocals
- Dirk Schmalenbach / violin, acoustic guitar, sitar, keyboards percussion, vocals
- Michael Wirth / congas



German outfit EDEN was founded in 1977, when three members of the "Freie christliche Jugendgemeinschaft" decided to form a band; one of the first christian progressive rock bands in Germany.

In the 5 years the band existed they were an active recording and live unit; with a plethora of people involved in the recording of the three albums they released.

The debut album "Erwartung" was issued in 1978, and the sophomore effort "Perelandra"; based on C. S. Lewis christian science fiction novel of the same name, was issued in 1980.

The third and last creation of Eden was their 1981 production "Heimkehr"; and in December the same year the band gave it's last public appearance.

A multitude of musicians was involved in Eden prior to folding, and the core members that were involved in all their recorded material were Michael Claren (bass, vocals, guitar), Anne Dierks (vocals), Michael Dierks (keyboards, vocals), Hans Fritzsch (guitars), Hans Müller (drums, percussion), Annette Schmalenbach (vocals), Dirk Schmalenbach (violin, acoustic guitar, sitar, keyboards percussion, vocals).

Dirk Smalenbach would later reappear in the one-off project Yavanna, who released an album in 1984.

Do you like a hymn-like sound, rich symphonic textures, a folky vibe, and brilliant vocal male and female harmonies? If so, you can't do much better than to seek out this lovely 1978 effort from Germany. "Erwartung" means "Expectation", and with a group name like Eden and the devotional atmosphere, one might conclude that religious themes lurk within, but since the sleeve contains no information and the lyrics are in German, this is only speculation.
The album opens with its weakest track, "Spatregen". While it contains most of the elements interspersed throughout the disk, it sounds half baked and rudderless, almost like an early composition that should have been refined before inclusion. The rest of the songs are all great, featuring, in addition to the characteristics named above, plenty of flutes, saxes, acoustic guitars, some raucous leads, and shimmering melodies, sort of like the Moody Blues but bigger and more experimental. However, the end to "Eden Teil II" includes a few bars from "Nights in White Satin" just to drive home the reality of the influence.

The ultimate highlight is the closer, "Ein Anderes Land", which is 16+ minutes of symphonic progressive bliss, a suite of many moods and themes, centered around the most intricate and awe-inspiring harmonies, as well as the most skillful playing and arranging on the record. I think I hear Eden taking a bit of the Novalis sound and stretching way out beyond what that band seemed willing to do. While an obscure reference, Eden also reminds me of the Basque group Enbor at times, chiefly in their attention to vocal interplay and their ethereal folkiness.

Eden's debut exceeds the expectations one might have for an obscure late 70s prog album, serving up a small taste of paradise in musical form.

1 comment:




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