July 30, 2011

A little talk with Gino Dal Soler, writer & journalist, author of a recent essay on psychedelic folk music with few pages dedicated to the TEB.

A great book, really, that one written by Gino Dal Soler, Italian writer and journalist of "Blow Up" magazine. The problem it is that it's written only in Italian.

More exhaustive than the recent good book of Cresti rewieved here (read at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.com/2011/03/third-ear-band-quoted-on-italian-book.html), more handbook than essay, with "The Circle is Unbroken" Dal Soler traces the long fascinating epic history of that kind of music (most of all, English and American) defied weird folk, starting from the recognised fathers of the revival (in UK Davy Graham, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Anne Briggs...) to the more recent musicians, even if he's conscious that is "a story still open", "a still unexplored universe by an essay writing level" (and the huge work made by Rob Young published in UK by Faber & Faber as "Electric Eden. Unhearting Britain's visionary music" (read at http://www.electriceden.net/) - 664 pages - proves it...).

Shirley Collins and Davy Graham
Among a very lot of known and unknown artists - believe me, a true map also for expert listeners! - few pages are dedicated to the Third Ear Band, a group Dal Soler knows very well from the '70's, when, as he writes, "for ourself it meant mysterious looks, records mainly impossible to find, a pure fragment of the English underground scene or maybe just universal one".
On the paragraph titled "The Third Ear Band magical esoterism", describing the music of "Alchemy", he considers "Lark Rise" "an autentic folk gem included just to reaffirm the primary roots of a sound that has taste of earth and "wilderness"".

About "Third Ear Band", "an absolute masterpiece", Del Soler writes the music "bordered on the sublime, perfect in its ciclic evolve" and, describing "Earth", he admits that "it's impossible to tell the beauty of that circular vertigo as like to evoke with simply words the impressive vertical power of "Fire": the flames and the explosive  energy of the element are delineated by a relentless and wild movement of percussion, strings and oboe gone mad, literally the peak reached by the Third Ear Band as to power, dynamism and alchemy of sound".

The second English edition of the record.
And if for the author "Abelard & Heloise" is "still full of charm and mystery", "Music for Macbeth" has "an ever more folk oriented bent". "Many people, by the gloomy and dramatic atmosphere that permeated the whole record, caught the presage of decline".
From the reunion of the band in '80's and '90's, Del Soler takes "Magic Music" as his favourite, "where the band seems to come back to the far esoteric splendour despite the almost totally new line-up".
The tracks "try again to tell the ancient lost legends and the druids around Glostonbury Tor, highlighting that happy and very peculiar free folk and improvised music have influenced so much the "weird-wild folks" generation in Europe as in America. Music from the spheres, modal ragas, primitive and tribal dances run into distill a quintessence that was psychedelic and visionary, terrible and sublime".

Because this archive first of all intends to be a place of ideas, opinions, memories, essays, I've asked the author (visit him at http://it-it.facebook.com/people/Gino-Dal-Soler/100000741111756) some questions on his approach to the Band's music.

What do you remember about the mood of the time, when the name of the TEB was circulating for the first time among fans? Did you get their  albums at the time? How?
"The discover of the TEB for myself it was a sort of epiphany. I remember when I bought firstly the second album, the so-called "The Elements Album", it was almost a revelation for whom just few months before like progressive music...
It happened in Brescia (where I was studying) at the very beginning of '70's, in a record shop selling imported albums (there I bought also Popol Vuh's "Hosianna Mantra" and Tangerine Dream's "Atem"...).

The book was published on 1973.
Until that time on the TEB I had read only an inspiring piece on "Pop Story", a book written by the Italian rock journalist Riccardo Bertoncelli, and that thing was enough to persuade me to looking for the records. It wasn't so easy in that period, infact I found "Alchemy" with some difficulties just one year after...
I listened them with a religious transport in certain hours of the day, savouring with care and let to listen to my friends that visited me as they was sort of precious pearls, but not for all... From that period I've never stopped to listen the first two albums. Sometimes I prefer the first one ("Ghetto Raga", "Stone Circle", divine...) but when I listen to "Air Earth Fire and Water" is as a dance that repeat itself every time. I think it would be very difficult to choice just one of them if I were forced to do it..."

Did you have friends to share TEB music with or it was just a solo experience?
"Both of things...".

Which do you think are the real connections of the TEB music and the folk Sixties/Seventies scene? Do you think it is effective or just ideal?
"I just think so, even if the band's uniqueness made them a separate world - it wasn't properly folk and it wasn't free jazz... Avant-garde music 0r etnomagic music? Who knows, you can tag them in any way, but for myself those so arcane and mysterious sounds evoked me other worlds where to look at and for that I've stopped to worry to define them...
The original Dal Soler's writing published on "Re Nudo".
About the TEB I wrote one of my first stuff on music on the magazine "Re Nudo", I think around 1979, when the band was split by then and for many people they was just a distant (but unforgettable) memory... I remember also that the editorial staff decided to publish it as like I had typewritten it with all my corrections and drawings, on the central pages of the magazine...".

Which is your favourite TEB track and why?
"Re Nudo" stuff pt. 2
"I think I've still suggested it in my previous answers, but here are my favourite tracks: "Earth" (one of the most pretty and whirling dance related to the element); "Stone Circle", just very few minutes of pure magic... "Fire", the panic ecstasy burning and dissolving... The misteries of "Egyptian Book of the Dead"... and then their vision of the Raga hither and thither disseminated on all their records...".
Did you follow their reunion in the '80's and '90's? What do you think about it?
"Of couse and I'll never stop to thank you for it... Your personal contribution in that sense cannot be discussed... And "Magic Music" is still a great album!"
What do you think about their music being so unique?
"The originality, the state of grace...".

no©2011 Luca Ferrari

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