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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Epsilon - Epsilon / Move On (1971-72 germany, superb kraut rock, 2003 remaster)

Epsilon is a group well-known to most collectors of German progressive rock. They started up in 1969 as a Nice-influenced trio. Ortel had previously played in an early incarnation of Jeronimo. They adopted the name Epsilon in October 1970, when Michael Winzkowski joined. They were able to record their first album in January 1971, for the freshly established Bacillus label. This was an early Peter Hauke production in co-operation with engineer Dieter Clerks in the Dierks Studio, Stommeln.

The Epsilon sound was dominated by Ortel's prominent organ work, often adapting themes from classical music, very much in the heavier Emerson Lake & Palmer tradition. Ortel and Winzkowski wrote all the tracks, except for a cover version of "Paint It Black". Indeed, Epsilon were the second German progressive band to record this Rolling Stones composition, as Virus already had included a version of it on their Revelation album! The best moments of Epsilon's debut album were "Two-2-11", the strangely entitled opening piece, and "Every Day's Pain".

Other parts of the album were a bit easy-going and too close to conventional pop rock at that time. Winzkowski's vocals were sometimes dangerously close to soul, but not as bad as on the Dull Knife album. In general, a good album, but Murphy Blend would be a better choice for those keen to listen to classical influenced, organ dominated rock. Epsilon's music improved considerably on their second offeringM ove On (1972). It was another Hauke & Clerks production, adding the guests Curt Cress (drums), Rainer Marz (backing vocals, guitar, ex-Jeronimo), Pete Bender (backing vocals, aka Wyoming) and Christian Felke (flute, ex- Nosferatu). Instrumentally, this album had more guitars.

The nine compositions were an improvement on their debut, resulting in Epsilon's best album. At this stage, they could be seen as a German parallel to Traffic, with their soulish vocals, instrumentation of organ, guitars and flute and their slightly jazzy mood - just listen to the tracks "Feelings" and "Move On". At the time of Move On's release in December 1971, both Ortel and Ertl had already quit. Epsilon virtually moved on! This revamped group warmed up for the British band If, during their German tour of 1972. Peter Koch (ex-Jeronimo) was temporarily added as a fifth member during this year.

Epsilon's third and last album was recorded at Europa Sound Studios in Offenbach-Bieber (engineered by Manfred Screier). Off, released on Phillips in 1974, proved to be their most straight forward album, sometimes bordering on ordinary pop rock. 1975 brought another change of record company, resulting in two commercially unsuccessful singles for Ariola. Epsilon disbanded shortly thereafter. Winzkowski adopted his artist name Michael Wynn, and formed Michael Wynn Band that also Daansen eventually joined.
by Dag Erik Asbjornsen

1971 Epsilon
1. Two-2-II - 8:15
2. 2-Four-4 - 7:30
3. Every Day's Pain (H. Born) - 2:54
4. Before - 3:15
5. Between Midnight - 2:41
6. Paint It Black or White - 6:14
7. Hurry Up - 2:46
1972 Move On
8. Walkin' On My Way - 3:20
9. She Belongs To Me - 5:32
10.Feelings - 3:52
11.What About The Future - 2:38
12.Move On - 2:25
13.Reichelsheim - 4:10
14.Hear Me Cryin' - 5:10
15.Waiting - 4:20
16.Don't Know Why - 4:31
All songs by Michael Winzkowski, Walter Ortel unless otherwise stated

1971 Epsilon

*Michael Winzkowski - Vocals, Guitars, Percussion
*Michael Ertl - Bass
*Hartmut Pfannmüller - Drums, Percussion
*Walter Ortel - Organ, Pianos, Vocals, Percussion

1972 Move On
*Michael Winzkowski - Vocals, Guitars, Percussion
*Michael Ertl - Bass
*Hartmut Pfannmüller - Drums, Percussion
*Walter Ortel - Organ, Pianos, Vocals, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Curt Cress - Drums
*Rainer Marz - Backing Vocals, Guitar
*Pete Bender - Backing Vocals
*Christian Felke - Flute

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