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4 Jan 2017

Epsilon “Move On” 1971 Prog Rock Kraut Rock

Epsilon “Move On” 1971 Prog Rock Kraut Rock
Formed by members of Orange Peel and Nosferatu (the vocalist / guitarist Michael Winzkowski), the band Epsilon published three LPs between 1971 and 1974. Their self title can be considered as their best, a nicely varied and achieved combination between heavy blues rockin’ sections and coherent progressive skills. Their second “Move on” (1971) represents a more mainstream rock album with a few enjoyable moments. With the album “Epsilon off” (1975) the band turn to a straight heavy rockin’ trip in a typical 70s style…………. 

EPSILON were a German band who put out three studio albums in the early seventies. This is the second one from 1972. Even though they hired Dieter Dierks as the studio engineer and drummer Curt Cress (ORANGE PEEL) to play on 4 tracks this isn’t as good as the debut. “Move On” is pretty straight forward really with some heavy songs and commercial sounding tracks. 

“Walkin’ On My Way” is not the best track to start with as it’s my least favourite. Some good organ runs though and I like the guitar 2 minutes in but overall too straight forward. “She Belongs To Me” is much better. An uptempo rocker although it does settle back at times. Vocals before 1 ½ minutes as the organ pulsates.The guitar solos 2 ½ minutes in. “Feelings” is laid back with flute, a beat and reserved vocals. Good song. 

“What About Future” and “Move On” are both short but intense tracks. “Reichelsheim” is led by the guitar out of the gate but it settles back when the vocals arrive. “Hear Me Cryin’” has light drums and floating organ as reserved vocals join in. It does pick up each time on the chorus. “Waiting” is heavier with vocals. A guitar solo comes in after a minute. A nice instrumental section after 3 minutes. “Don’t Know Why” is commercial sounding with backing vocals but I still like it,especially the keys after 2 minutes………. by Mellotron Storm……. 

Second album of German heavy prog rock band Epsilon isn’t as good as their self-titled debut. “Move On” includes couple of rather less ambitious songs with more elaborated hard edged guitars and simpler riffing. Compared to previous LP we can find that band is sometimes trying to gain mainstream attention here. However we can’t say that it’s complete crap, in fact I’d definitely disagree to call it a waste of time. We can find enough clear prog-rock elements like inspired organ passages, classical music parts, some more complicated soloing or beautiful acoustic guitars fragments to call it enjoyable heavy prog/art rock recording. I can even say that few tracks on “Move On” are absolutely essential for prog rock fans. 
So let’s look into the songs more closely: 

1. “Walkin’ On My Way” - album begins with very simple rocker full of simplistic guitar chords and almost inaudible background organ lines. Vocal sounds very bluesy and refrain becomes tiresome after too many repetitions but it’s still bearable track. But definitely no prog here! 

2. “She Belongs To Me” - second song is a much better effort! According to sources it’s Bob Dylan’s song however I’ve never heard that original version so I can compare it only with another cover played by The Nice (first band of Keith Emerson). And I must say that in this comparison Epsilon’s version doesn’t look less compelling at all. In contradiction to The Nice’s cover, these Krauts’ version is much tighter and less experimental. Ortel’s Hammond is shining throughout the song but Winzkowski’s guitar also has its moments. However my favorite is the second part of this track when we can listen to fantastic organ-driven rock versions of classical & film music pieces. You can clearly hear The Nice/ELP influences here. 

3. “Feelings” - pleasant folk-like song with acoustic guitar, flute (played by guest Christian Felke) and “ethnic” percussion. Seems to be very Jethro Tull inspired but vocal has nothing to to with Ian Anderson’s voice at all. Good song but not so memorable. 

4. “What About the Future” - short but extremely enjoyable prog'n'roll song full of fuzzed guitars and loud organ chops. Psychedelic Hammond solo included! Really nice. 

5. “Move On” - straightforward hard rock song with rather generic electric guitar riffs/solos and complete lack of keyboard instruments. Not horrible but it’s not a composition I’d expect to find in heavy prog LP. 

6. “Reichelsheim” - along with “She Belongs To Me” & “What About the Future” it’s my fave of “Move On” disk. Rather slow paced but entertaining piece of music driven by decent Hammond floods, acoustic & electric guitars and surprisingly classical inspired, sparkling piano. Soft organ solo in the middle sets perfect mood for the whole song. Winzkowski’s slightly harsh vocal sounds truly emotional here too. 

7. “Hear Me Cryin’” - another atmospheric composition with passionate and entertaining vocals. Whole song is based upon Winzkowski’s fine vocals and melancholic/mysterious organ passages played by Ortel. However it’s not a completely original track ‘cause the whole melody is directly stolen from “Season of the Witch” written by Donovan (however I’ve never heard the original I know 3 other versions of that song recorded respectively by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity, Vanilla Fudge & Pesky Gee! so I know this melody very well). Plagiarism!! 

8. “Waiting” - dark and rather heavy but slow-moving song with psychedelic atmosphere created with omnipresent, repetitive apocalyptic organ flooding. I love middle part with fast gallop of thundering guitar & organ interludes. Whole song is very similar to another German band’s material - Night Sun. 

9. “Don’t Know Why” - it’s a very interesting song which includes 2 theoretically disjointed and unsuitable fragments. Basically it’s just pop/hard rock song with generic refrain but during soloing we can listen to fantastic duels of keyboards (distorted organ & strange, up-beat piano chops) and acoustic guitar. This middle part saves the whole song from being pop garbage. 

To sum up the whole “Move On” experience, I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than I though I will after reading few quite bad reviews. Second Epsilon’s album is no masterpiece but in contrary to what some people say it’s not a simple hard/pop rock LP. It’s a mix-bag of straightforward tunes, prog-rock compositions full of typical 70s organ/guitar battles and atmospheric compositions with passionate, slightly bluesy vocals. Not a bad pick, but at first check their debut recording which is nearly early prog hidden gem. 

BTW if you like heavy prog genre, debut and “Move On” are the only albums you need to check out. Their last LP called “Epsilon Off” is completely unrelated to preceding output. It’s just generic poppy rock disk with almost no keyboards at all (except few piano moments played by second guitarist who was hired after Walter Ortel left the band)…. by ozzy_tom ……….. 

The following information was copied from 'Crack In The Cosmic Egg’: 
Initially working under the name Karthago and with a repertoire of The Nice compositions, they changed radically when joined by the former Orange Peel and Nosferatu guitarist/vocalist Michael Winzkowski. Upon realising that another band called Karthago existed in Berlin, the name Epsilon was chosen instead. Typical of bands from Marburg (cf. Pell Mell, Frame, etc.) Epsilon drew heavily on classical music in an original and complex progressive rock, in a very different way to their British or Italian counterparts, especially so on side one of their debut, which blends in these classical influences in a very unusual and original manner, not least so a classical styled rendition of The Rolling Stones’ 'Paint It Black’. It all amounts to an odd album that covers a lot of ground, yet is also excellent throughout. Subsequent releases moved onto hard-rock and blues realms, though MOVE ON was surprisingly good for a more mainstream song-based rock album, with some nice folky touches breaking the mood occasionally. And, even on the straight hard-rock EPSILON OFF they still retained the unique Epsilon sound with Winzkowski’s unusual vocals. However, we suspect that the later singles are of no real interest!…….. 

Line-up / Musicians 

- Michael Winzkowski / vocals, guitars, percussion 
- Michael Ertl / bass 
- Hartmut Pfannmüller / drums, percussion 
- Walter Ortel / organ, pianos, vocals, percussion 
+ Curt Cress / drums 
- Rainer Marz / backing vocals, guitar 
- Pete Bender / backing vocals 
- Christian Felke / flute 

A1 Walkin’ On My Way 
Bass – Michael Winzkowski 
A2 She Belongs To Me 5:27 
A3 Feelings 3:48 
A4 What About The Future 2:40 
A5 Move On 2:25 
B1 Reichelsheim 4:10 
B2 Hear Me Cryin’ 5:10 
B3 Waiting 4:15 
B4 Don’t Know Why 4:27

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..