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 http://robertomusci.tumblr.com/post/44601596678/third-ear-band-the-third-ear-band-was-born-in#notes
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
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)."
"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)".
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..."
ROBERTO MUSCI DISCOGRAPHY
"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): http://robertomusci.tumblr.com/
no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)