"Egyptian Book of the Dead" is one of the most popular TEB tracks. The band played the tune from the very first beginning of its career (the first documented performance is from "Night Ride" BBC radio programme on January 1st, 1969) and it was played constantly through the years until the last Italian tour in 1992 even if with different titles (i.e. "Live Ghosts" on the live from Bergamo or "Necromanticus" in a new studio rendition) and outcomes.
SOURCES & INSPIRATION
But I think it can be very plausible. If it were so, we'd have an attractive appliance to imagine the atmosphere of the ritual and the structure of the track could be interpreted in a brand new way.
|The TEB's "Experiences" (Harvest 1975) retro cover with clear references to the rite.|
THE WEIGHING OF THE HEART
Again from Wikipedia: "If all the obstacles of the Duat could be negotiated, the deceased would be judged in the Weighing of the Heart ritual, depicted in Spell 125. The deceased was led by the god Anubis into the presence of Osiris. There, the dead person swore that he had not committed any sin from a liste of 42 reciting a text known as the "Negative Confession".
|The weighing of the heart.|
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE THIRD EAR BAND'S TRACK
Oboe and violin improvising on the bordone with progression of notes by the violin and oboe scales.
Here the deceased is going through the path of the afterlife and you can understand the journey is not so easy for him at all...
Around the minute 6:00 violin accords as ghosts flying around and high oboe notes, while at the 8:48 the tracks is stopped with a quiet almost relaxed end (an ironic Paul Minns about the track's coda in 1996: "I remember nothing of the production except that a few unnecessary effects were introduced, the worst at the end of "Egyptian Book of the Dead" sounding like a pyramid's bathroom...").
On "Necromanticus", after the first quite similar part, around 6:00 you can listen to a sort of interlude just before the track has a clear acceleration of the hand drums.
Listening to this version, around 7:25, the deceased is in front of Ma'at for the weighting of the heart and the pathos here is at its highest level on awaiting the result.
There, at 8:55, after a very long sequence of Carter's electronic effects, when Sweeney's hand drums start to beat his invariable pattern, you can listen a wall of sound of noise, electronics, strong electric guitar chords, Dobson's soprano free jazz improvisations build itself before you and you can just see the deceased terrified on awaiting the verdict.
|Another excerpt with the weighing of the heart.|
Anyway, as in the original studio version, TEB seems doesn't want to tell us what will happen to the deceased: the verdict is open to all interpretations because it seems more important to focalize that specific momentum, the state of consciousness where everyone knows inside himself if he lies or not...
The judgement of the deceased and the Negative Confession were a representation of the conventional moral code which governed Egyptian society.
When Sweeney dead, I'm sure it wasn't a simple casuality or just an eccentricity his wife Carolyn decided to read excerpts from the Egyptian ancient text at the funeral. She wrote me on September 2005 about it: "(...) It was a beautiful ceremony rather than a conventional funeral, Steve Pank read from the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" and tracks from "Alchemy" were played, incense was burning, Glen was in a raffia coffin with sunflowers on top. Everyone said what a wonderful experience it was and some were reminded of being at an early Third Ear Band concert. I'm sure Glen would have approved".
As a pagan, earthly prayer.
"Live Ghosts" (LP/CD - Materiali Sonori, ITA 1987 live) as "Live Ghosts"
"Live Ghosts" (LP/CD - Materiali Sonori, ITA 1990 live/studio) as "Live Ghosts" and "Necromanticus" (studio bonus track)
"New Forecasts from the third ear almanac" (cassette - ADN Records, ITA 1989 live)
"Live"(CD - Voiceprint, UK 1996 live)
"Hymn to the Sphynx" (2CD - Mooncrest Records, UK 2001 live/studio M)
"Raga Live" (2LPs - Turning Point, ITA 2002 live)
TEB's "EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD" RADIO PERFORMANCES
BBC "Night Ride" (January 1st, 1969)
no©2011 Luca Ferrari