November 15, 2015

Italian avant-garde composer Roberto Musci makes a tribute to the Third Ear Band.

Italian musician and composer Roberto Musci composed and recorded a tribute to the Third Ear Band based on original samplers of the band. 
Titled "Mosaic" it's actually a 'mosaic' of tracks build on various excerpts from original tracks of the Thirds, pieces as "Ghetto Raga", "Mosaic", "Air", "Druid One"..., treated with an original, innovative technique called "Plunderphonics".

Roberto explains the thing in this way: "This project is a musical tribute to the Third Ear Band ; it is not  a cover of their music  (it would be impossible, unnecessary and ridiculous), but music closely related and inspired by their art.
In recent years I have worked with Chris Cuttler in a project of Plunderphonics (ie: to sample music of a group to create new songs very close to the original music but different) . I have collaborated on a CD publishing by Recommended Records UK, dedicated to the music of Art Bears ("The Art Box" double and quadruple with the original music of the group and plunderphonics. In the CDs there are also songs made by Jon Rose, Otomo Yoshide, John Oswald, The Residents, Fred Frith). With this technique I’d like to create my own personal tribute to the Third Ear Band and using samples from their cds, filtered with effects and with “cut and paste technique", I created some songs".
Considering the interest of Rob Ayling for the project, Roberto has asked Gonzo Multimedia to realise a record from it. We will see what will happen. 
I have had the honour to listen to it and I think it's one of the best reworking of the Third Ear Band's ouvre...

"To absent friends, lost loves and old gods" (blog)
Roberto Musci Web site:

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

The new TEB's CD will be realised in February 2016.

The next TEB's record produced by Gonzo Multimedia (edited by Luca Ferrari) will be ready at the first months of next year, likely on February 2016.
Titled "EXORCISMS", it will show recordings from the 1988-1989 period, when the musicians involved was Glen Sweeney, Mick Carter, Ursula Smith, Lyn Dobson and Allen Samuel.
The art cover (as for the first two CDs) is by the great Martin Cook. Here below you can see a cover proof of the record based on a Cambodian devil mask...
no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)          

October 03, 2015

"Necromancers" CD sold also in Japan...

"Necromancers" CD distributed also in Japan by Third Ear (!) music shop with the classic banner on the cover...

 no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)      

September 27, 2015

A 1972 TEB's concert advert found.

Emerging from the Web it's this very interesting 'new' advert from the TEB's glorious past, from a period where little is known.

It's the advert, taken from "Time Out" issued on September 22-28th, 1972, about the concert the band played on September 30th, 1972 at the London Battersea Town Hall (other band involved Matumbi Band, an "afro-reggae" group!), just after the "Macbeth" project...

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

September 14, 2015

Italian composer ROBERTO MUSCI talks about the Third Ear Band!

Avant-garde composer, performer, saxophonist and guitar player ROBERTO MUSCI (Milan 1956) has recorded  records, made videos, soundtracks for mute films, written books and collaborated among the others with musicians as Chris Cutler, Elliot Sharp, Steve Piccolo, Jon Rose, and Keith Tippett.
After a very interesting project of a tribute to the Third Ear Band unfortunately aborted (a wonderful 5:48 track titled "The awakening of Orus" was recorded...), just recently he has dedicated to the Third Ear Band some short lines at his blog
This is a short interview with him.

How did you know the Third Ear Band's music?
"Absolutely by chance. At the beginning of Seventies I used to go to Sinigaglia Fair in Milan (it's a flea market) with some friends: we was a bunch of "musical addicts" that every Saturday used to meet there for sharing opinions about records and music. I remember in that period after to be involved in Progressive and (more or less) hard rock I was now more interested in new kind of sounds (as like the so-called Canterbury sound, minimal music, Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" and some records of Eastern and Arabic music). Just by chance I exchanged one of my albums with another, it was a strange record with a full size purple cover, with clouds and alchemical-ritualistic pictures
inside, and four tracks quoting the four elements taken from the pre-Socratic Archè.
After few days I was folgorated by that music as like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus or as the illumination of Buddha under the tree of Bodhi.
I'd never heard a music like that (and now it's the same, after around 50 years after) - a band with oboe, cello, violin and percussions in a Synth and Marshall world! A strange, deep music, with reminiscents of ancient and magic times; alchemical, sometimes obscure, sometimes solar, dances with obsessed rhythms, sounds from a pre-human world (in  the words of Lovecraft), chants from a far folk and chords of dissonant violins, near to the contemporary music.
I envy who doesn't know the Third Ear Band: the first listening of their music (expecially that related to the 1968-1972 period) is just like to go into a world of sounds and magic atmospheres."

Which elements of TEB's 'poetic' impress you mostly?
"Surely the way of improvisation and composition that generates a unique music; a music that wrap and alienate you.
The use of modal improvisations, with pentatonic and eptatonic scales derived from Arabian and Indian music culture, the mixing of particular timbre, the use of percussive rhytms with a metric dilatation, that ancestral call to the ritual music (from the ancient Egypt to the Druids). It's a strange sensation, but listening to their music in a room it seems that sounds are stratificating on different levels and the listener loses the cognition of time and space...".

How much TEB has influenced your way to compose and play music? 
"They influenced me very much when I recorded my first album in 1984 ("The Loa of music" - Raw Material). When one listen to it it's Glen Sweeney's obsessed rhythms and Ursula Smith and Richard Coff dissonant violins to be very evident. I'm very far from the second phase of the band (from 1988 onwards: "Live Ghosts", "Magic Music" and "Brain Waves") even if several tracks are very good, and it's a coherent evolution of their old atmospheres.
I've been so lucky to hear the Third Ear Band two times in Italy (maybe in 1989 and 1994... I'm not sure of the right dates): in spite I was very diffident (sometimes it happens when the distance between the album recorded in studio and the live concert is huge) I remember they was two wonderful gigs with the band able to recreate that particular magic sound (I don't recall the right line-ups but I'm sure there was an electric guitarist and a soprano player)."

Specifically, which TEB's compositions do you think inspired you more?
"Surely their first records: "Alchemy", "Third Ear Band", "Abelard and Heloise", "Music from Macbeth" and "Prophecies". For myself "Earth" and the music for Polanski's "MacBeth" are memorable".

Are you still listening to their records?
"Sure! From that period, with the Popol Vuh's music, Third Ear Band's music is timeless art that I'd listen to forever (and I'm listening to it from about fifty years)". 

One of the several projects made by Roberto in Multimedia.

What about that aborted project of a tribute to the Third Ear Band?
"The lure to recreate that old music atmospheres for letting them live is still great in me. Basically the project was inspired by John Oswald's work who coined the expression "Plunderphonics". His work on Michael Jackson repertoire (with related legal case, i.e the cover: Michael Jackson's head on a female body...) was really clamorous. The idea was to record a tribute to the Third Ear Band just using their original music for recreating that musical poetic and the sensations they gave to me, playing the right instruments and looking for that pictures linked to their specific iconography (ancient Egypt, Alchemy, Druids...). Of course I would like to close this project..." 

(a selection)

"The Loa of music" (Raw Material, 1984)

"Losing the Orthodox Path" (Les Disques Victo, 1997)



"Steel Water Light" (ReR Megacorp, 2001)

"The End of the World" (Auditorium, 2003)


"Vampyr and other stories" (ReR Megacorp, 2015)


"To absent friends, lost loves and old gods" (blog)
Roberto Musci Web site:

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 09, 2015

New Third Ear Band CD by Gonzo Multimedia out until the end of this year.

Gonzo Multimedia and Luca Ferrari are working on a  new TEB CD planned to be published until the end of 2015. 
It will be titled "EXORCISMS" and it will show recordings from the 1988-1989 period, when the musicians involved was Glen Sweeney, Mick Carter, Ursula Smith, Lyn Dobson and Allen Samuel.
(First hands) Sleeve notes by Luca and art cover (as for the first two CDs) by the great 'pictures wizard' Martin Cook.
no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)          

September 04, 2015

"Third Ear Raga" aired last July...


Californian Estero Bay 97.3 The Rock ( aired last July 28th, 2015 Third Ear Band's "Third Ear Raga" (from "Hymn to the Sphynx"). The programme, conducted by Charlie Rosenberg, is titled "Space does not care: Sonic Attack on estero Bay".
no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

August 27, 2015

Another great review on "Necromancers" CD!

Here's another very good review about "Necromancers" CD published on "Shindig" magazine issue 49 ( 

 no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)       

August 21, 2015

TEB's "Stone Circle" aired on an Italian radio programme.

Third Ear Band's "Stone Circle" was aired on August 4th, 2015 at the Italian Radio 3 programme called "Sei Gradi" (Six Grades) (go and listen to at
Radio journalist Luca Damiani introduced the band as "one of the few researching a kind of music not necessarily Blues or Rock", with straight relation with traditional Chinese and Indian folk music...

With an usual habit in Italy, no quotations to the extraordinary adventures the reformed band lived during the Eighties with three brand new records for MaSo and some great live concerts around the country. Nothing about this Archive, of course...
Anyway, in spite of the endemic Italian music journalists' ignorance and superficiality about facts, Third Ear Band experience is still existing with two new CDs and some little suprises in the next future...
In loving memory of Glen Sweeney, Paul Minns, Ben CartlandMike Marchant, Mel Davis and Roger Bunn.

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)                                               

August 14, 2015

Some reviews on TEB's Necromancers CD.

After "Necromancers of the Drifting West" has been released, some reviews are surfacing from the Net...

"When I saw this and saw no information about it, as well as who was releasing it, I was very, very suspicious, but I am very happy to report that this is a great and very high quality release sonically for all very rare or unreleased recordings from 45 years ago. First there is 16' of the TEB's very first professional recordings, then there is a high quality outtake from the 1st album, a very interesting, electric outtake from their shelved third Harvest album, from before Macbeth, and three off-air, but quite decent sounding tracks from a BBC "In Concert" broadcast, hosted by John Peel. It additionally features informative and seemingly correct notes from uberfan and band archivist Luca Ferrari. In short - any fan of the band has to own this. Highly recommended."
"Third Ear Band were a British psychedelic folk band that evolved within the London alternative and free-music scene of the mid-1960s. Members came from The Giant Sun Trolley and The People Band to create an improvised music drawing on Eastern raga forms, European folk, experimental and medieval influences. They recorded their first session in 1968 for Ron Geesin which was released under the pseudonym of The National Balkan Ensemble on one side of a Standard Music Library disc. Their first actual album, Alchemy, was released on the EMI Harvest label in 1969, (featuring John Peel playing jaw harp on one track), followed by Air, Earth, Fire, Water (aka Elements) in 1970. They recorded two soundtracks, the first in 1970 for an animated film by Herbert Fuchs of Abelard and Heloise (which first saw release as part of Luca Ferrari's Necromancers of the Drifting West Sonic Book in 1997) Luca writes: On 1996, when I decided to write a book on the Third Ear Band, I collaborated with of all the members of the group, except Richard Coff (apparently no one knew where he was) and Ursula Smith. The first time the title was intended for the book, it was called "Tickling the Third Ear" and the idea was to make an historical, chronological reconstruction of the TEB's story to free the band from that aura of mystery surrounding his story. But just at the end of the writing, when I completed the essay for the introduction, I decided for "Necromancers of the Drifting West": for myself, in fact, the Band has advanced the so-called World Music and the multicultural/intercultural dimension of the relation between West and the rest of the world. At the same time, in my opinion, their music was a sort of sign, a monition of musical (and cultural) decline of the old Europe (for that reason the image of 'necromancers'). A group strongly political, I think, because "silence", acoustic (as natural) sounds (no words), minimalism aesthetic, are really 'political' today, in this age of excess of experiences."
(Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, July 2015 -

"Le label Gonzo Multimedia s'apprête à sortir deux CD d'archives du mythique groupe acid-ethno-experimentalo-médiévalo-folko-psychedelico-etc. THIRD EAR BAND.
Le premier, Necromancers of the Drifting West (du titre de l'ouvrage de Luca Ferrari, grand porte-parole de la légende du groupe), contient huit morceaux enregistrés entre 1968 et 1971 et restés officiellement inédits jusqu'à aujourd'hui. On y trouvera ainsi des pièces du National Balkan Ensemble (pré-THIRD EAR BAND), un inédit issu des sessions du premier album, Alchemy, un inédit provenant d'une session pour un disque qui n'a jamais vu le jour et une session BBC de 1971.
Necromancers of the Drifting West sortira le 25 mai prochain, et devrait être suivi de la publication d'un concert du groupe (dans sa configuration des années 1980-90) qui n'était sorti qu'en K7. Restez à l'écoute..."

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

July 02, 2015

The biography on English pianist Mike Taylor written by Luca Ferrari now available at

The biography on English piano player Mike Taylor, written by Luca Ferrari and published by Gonzo Multimedia, is available at at the page 

Here's the front and back cover of the book:

Inside the book, memories of Dave Tomlin (who played with Mike and  shared with him a flat in Kew) and Steve Pank about Taylor and the London underground scene with some references to the Giant Sun Trolley and the Third Ear Band.

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

June 14, 2015

"Paul Minns ruled the nature and shape of the Third Ear Band...". Interview with MARY HAYES, Paul Minns' former wife! (part one)

After many years one believes to know almost everything about a certain thing, but surprises are fatally behind the corner... 
On March 3rd, 2014 Mary Hayes wrote me an unexpected letter through my personal e-mail (read it at
So after some months we arranged a multi-parts story about Paul, her and his family, a way for investigating the true origins of the TEB from a different point of view...

"In 1967, I first met Paul when I was living in Oxford Garden W11. Paul lived close by in Elgin Road, W 11. Both addresses are in Ladbroke Grove - known as part of the Grove.
Historically and educationally, Paul's life was different in regards to his earlier Senior school years at the London's City School for Boys, on the river Thames - probably as a Chorister scholar and was a student of the oboe and piano.

Paul's experience of musical life started as a member for the British Youth Orchestra as an oboist player - and work wise, he became a book typographically designer. Paul, therefore, had two careers, one as a musician, and two, a career as a book designer, both areas he was a brilliant artist. Paul was not affected by musical tastes, he was a natural with his interest in playing the oboe, and obsessed with the oboe sounding beautiful in musical overtones, and would constantly practice getting the reed and oboe right in tone and expression.

Paul and Mary after  married with friends

At this period, the Third Ear Band was in its babyhood, created by Glen Sweeney, drummer, and Paul Minns, oboist.
Glen Sweeney's method was tinkering with musical articulation - osculating with musical rhythms - Drum rhythms, jazz orientated. For Glen Sweeney, the meeting with Paul was visually, a dream come true.

Paul Minns playing the oboe became intermingled with a vision of Asian and Indian harmonies matched by musical and classical overtones. Musically, Paul's playing of the oboe became imbued by hauntingly melancholic sounds by escalating expression in nature and harmonies in mysticism.

A very young Paul Minns (courtesy of Mary Haynes)

Both good - for Paul Minns was the first musical debut for the Third Ear Band. Paul Minns playing became a masterly use of the 'oboe' and its mysticism. Both bad, because Glen wanted glory in his own articulate mould - as a success story. Glen Sweeney pushed the group - and Paul Minns, by playing the oboe - ruled the nature and shape of the Third Ear Band from 1966 -1989, which in essence would have been forever expanded musically".

(end of part one - to be continued)

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

June 06, 2015

"New Forecasts from the Third Ear Almanac" CD out on July 6th, 2015!

The second brand new TEB's CD titled "New Forecasts from the Third Ear Alamanc", edited by Rob Ayling and Luca Ferrari, will be out on July 6th, 2015 at £ 9.99.
Gonzo Multimedia's boss Rob Ayling announces it in the Web site at
where you can do a pre-order.

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

June 01, 2015

"The Scene". Rab Wilkie's memories from the past (part two)...

Here's the second part of Rab's memories about "The Scene", his meeting with Glen, Carolyn, Dave Tomlin, Barry Pilcher, the experience of "Albion" magazine and some little memories about the "MacBeth" recording sessions...
The part one is at
Pictures of this second part are taken from the original issue # 1 of "Albion" magazine (May 1968). 

"'The scene' was all about - as it still is - where the most potent and transformative forces of Art come from; how these forces are accessed and let loose upon the world to work their magic.
This is a big subject: sources of inspiration. In the past (B.C., Before Computers & the Web), books and the printed word were key, but by the middle of the 20th century the media of vinyl records & radio had become more important - almost as important as discourse, conversation and banding together, e/g for alchemical experiments. And big cities are usually the magnet and social crucible for this.. especially during a crucial stage in history. When the vibrations are really intense and cover the whole spectrum, acoustically, visually, and mentally; when they easily become scalar or prophetic. A wish-path into the future is laid out for all to see and follow - if they have (third) ears to hear and (third) eyes to see.

What were the various sources of inspiration to the band back then, and how did they work for each of its members? For me it was a flood of influences, but some details stand out.

Late summer 1967:
Glen had begun to use a tom-tom: for an AmerIndian beat.
Carolyn played cello: a touch of Western classical.
Clive had a sitar: India.
Barry, unbridled, was loud & chaotic on sax: "New Music".
Dave had played trumpet, but that was before I arrived; and the oboist had not shown up yet.
Some or all of them had played with Dave when his group
was known as the Sun Trolley

There were musicians everywhere, wandering the streets, dropping in, instruments in hand or tucked under-arm; ready for any jam or happening. (The poets made do with pad & pencil; artists preferred black india ink).


One day I dropped in on Steve and noticed a thick book lying by the window. Its author was Ramakrishna, written in India a few decades earlier. I opened it and read that the world would hit some kind of climactic enlightenment around Christmas 1967.
"Wow! That's only a few months from now," I remarked.
Steve had to turn the volume down on the latest Beatles record to hear me. ("Sergeant Pepper"). 

Steve's inspiration was William Blake, hence the name of his magazine: Albion. The cover art says it all, updating the vision and rolling it out into the future. Steve was exulted, David Loxley, an artist with Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, had completed his work for the cover. I'm not sure how much of it was Steve's own ideas, but Albion is shown in the throes of impending revelations &/or devastation. A leering Dragon bends toward a naked young female -- the White Goddess or every-maiden - lying supine and apparently asleep in a rose bush with two flying saucers hovering in the sky above them. And here and there, at the edges and within bushes, are sigils and symbols as clues for further study: Tolkien runes, the Glastonbury Zodiac, a magical seal, pentacle, and what seems to be a diagram of a human iris, used  diagnostically in iridology. The Holy Grail is central, above the main figures and below the banner title, ALBION.

The back cover is simpler: a Tarot card in the centre with one of four figures at each corner: the Four Living Beasts of Ezekiel's vision. Except that the traditonal Bull has become a rampant Unicorn. The central figure is the sky-dancer of The World, the last card in the Major Arcanum, signifying completion of the Work and cosmic conciousness.
The Angel, upper left, is the source of music. S/he is blowing a trumpet; a lyre nearby. Perhaps this is Gabriel, divine herald of realisations.
(Steve might have played a horn at one time (?) but philosophy, social action, and literature were his stronger suits, I suspect). 

These are timeless elements. The revelation and the music are still unfolding, evolving. Disclosure keeps happening, and every 'happening' is a revelation - in the 1960s sense of an unplanned, free, and spontaneous event. A jam. Beyond the Matrix. And at the best of times, Transcendental.
The way up, however, might begin with - or sometimes loop downward into - e/g "MacBeth". The movie in which a band of anonymous musicians in the balcony, a pair of legs dangling down into space, strums & drums forth a trance comment on skullduggery unfolding below.
I didn't see the movie until some years after I'd visited the band at the recording studio as they were recording the soundtrack for "MacBeth" (May 1971). I was en route to India via Spain and stopped in London for just a few days. They were busy and immersed in the process, so I didn't stay long, perhaps an hour or so. Scenes from the movie were shown on screen, and they were going through a couple of scenes, recording and re-recording each scene until they were satisfied with the take. It was a bit eery with an occasional chuckle. Dim inside and a bright day outside. Glen summoned up a Polanskyish version of Scottish ghosts. He had a darkly wry sense of humour.

The only on-stage moment I recall with the band, when I was present, was at the Covent Garden market. Other sessions were jams at somebody's flat, usually Glen's & Carolyn's. And just before meeting Glen, at Clive's place in Earl's Court. He had recently acquired a sitar. But earlier still, in Toronto, I'd played a bit of sax with Barry and listened to his jams with local musicians.

I haven't been in touch with anyone for a long time. Clive and I exchanged some emails about 15 years ago. But if anyone's interested, here I am - in Ontario. It'd be great to hear from them. The only stuff I have from that period can be found on the internet, like "Albion" (an original copy was for sale on E-Bay recently, for something like $350!)".

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

May 26, 2015

An old French band with vague references to the Third Ear Band's sound.

"Early 70’s, a group of musicians around Jean-François Gaël, André Chini, Philippe Gumplowicz, Pierre Buffenoir and Youval Micenmacher formed Sonorhc in 1971 near Paris. This discreet band had released only three albums in twenty years: «Purf» (LP-1972), «Outrelande» (LP-1982) et «K’an» (CD-1991). 2014, Fractal Records propose today the first official reissue of the two first albums in a beautiful remastered edition after more than forty and thirty years respectively (!); two rare albums, difficult to find and much sought after by collectors.

The musical world of Sonorhc is oriented to collective improvisation and the research of tones; they create a sound full of invention, rich technically, made by many differents instruments which incorporated judiciously elements from the rock music, free-jazz, acid-psych, concrete, ethnic and experimental making them as one of the most atypical French Underground group, and seems somewhere more closer to the German “krautrock” bands like Between, Agitation Free, Deuter, Limbus 3, Dzyan or the UK group Third Ear Band. But as the most well-known French band Magma, Sonorhc owns their original and strange logo and shows a strong collective: Jean-François Gaël studied musical composition with Michel Puig, guitar with Roger Chaput, electro-acoustic music with Pierre Schaefer at the GRM, and had composed many movie soundtracks later. Pierre Buffenoir taught guitar at the Conservatoire d’Ivry. André Chini is composer of contemporary music in Sweden. Philippe Gumplowicz is a music teacher at the University of Evry and with the percussionist Youval Micenmacher had recorded the 1978’s album “Marron Dingue” with the band Arcane V (see the Nurse With Wound list).

Jean-Francois Gael and Pierre Buffenoir
The present edition “2 albums in 1” includes the first “Purf”, a pure jewel of the genre and this one, for example, could had been easily one of the landmark album of the legendary 70’s Futura Records “son” or “impro” series and “Purf” well worth alone the purchase of this disc (!!), plus the second “Outrelande” a compilation of tracks recorded from 1973 to 1982, and with for both their original cover. To summarize these 74 minutes with Sonorhc, just 3 words as the American blog “Mutant Sounds” has wrote : “A Total Mindbomb”. THIS IS A «MUST» HAVE ! CD limited edition 300 copies."

As usual, it's difficult to say if a band (a really great band!) like Sonorhc sounds as like the Third Ear Band. Listening to their first album, published by Disques du Cavalier in 1972 (as CVR MG650), it brings me back to several different references to bands as Popul Vuh, Magma, Agitation Free... Sometimes also a Paul Minns' oboe is heard but...
Anyway you can test your personal impressions listening to the track here below and write us what you think about it:

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)