September 17, 2011

"The apprentice and the sorcerer" (part one). An old Italian article on the Third Ear Band.

Thanks to the Italian researcher Daniele Briganti (read him at we have here a very rare article on the Third Ear Band published on the Italian magazine "Ciao 2001" issue 51 in late 1973 (December 24th). 
Titled "L'apprendista e lo stregone" ["The apprentice and the sorcerer"] and written by Maurizio Baiata, it feels the effect of the times and the lack of informations press had in those days - between myth and fantasies... but with some brilliant insights.
This is the part one of a two-parts file.

For Baiata Third Ear Band's music is "greatly interior", a music that "finds a bigger reason to be in Eastern land, the world of notes and harmonies, and colours, and breaths, and delirious, all Western things that are simply the epidermic semplification of an inconscious  and forgotten reality kept in life by the impenetrable Eastern world. But Third Ear Band doesn't play music as like as Quintessence or the Mahavishnu. We are here on a totally different level: where it does exist a preconceived and gratified harmony by epidermic European and American canons, the group reaches to dissolve it in virtue of an approach to that measures of preconceived music in the natural order of life's animated things - plants, men, thoughts or trees".

"The third ear
About the categorization of human psychic opportunities, Western culture shows very far from that Eastern's one: where medical, psychological and introspective techniques can define just a little portion of a very huge and mysterious area of knowledge, Chineses, Japanes, Indians show exactly (with cryptic ways) the contact points with the Known and the Unknown.
The five senses find a total universalization, signification deeply linked with the mind, with religion, with the man's intrinsic spirituality; and spatial and time dimensions loose their basic incomprehensibility connected  to the scientifically correct study of nature. In the meanwhile the development and evolution of the Eastern sound tecniques show us clearly the opportunity of an interpenetration of art and spirit...(...)"

"First complete example of externalization of these principles about musical studies made in Europe is the Third Ear Band, where the etymology of "third ear" goes to discover an absolutely unknown sound dimension - interior and occult - filtered through the study of the human and the sound expression.
Of course the third ear is that unseen, hidden who knows where, but real and present in us: it is the organ with that we perceive sound vibration, we enjoy the music, we get it, we get inside it, we totally penetrate it; for this reason band's music leaves very few to spectacular and epidermic side, it unrelentingly get inside to meanders of "unknown in music", touching so the vertex of a sound great gestures...".

"(...) Third Ear Band is a group "sui generis" at all. It's beyond comparision, even if related to the English folk revival - an extraordinary brainchild...". 

At this point the author analizes  TEB records (talking about "Egyptian tablas" about Sweeney's instrument...), quoting the "Alchemy" album notes, and reporting a statement of Paul Buckmaster (with no quotation of the source): "When the band was formed, I was following some specific forms of contemporary music very near to the electro-acoustic TEB's line-up was doing, but at the end I joined the band just as a friend of Sweeney because I didn't like some their things. Music was origined from occult pratices, nowdays very popular in England: of course they wasn't black masses or other kind of oddities, just a deep study of the esoteric and fantastic history of the world, something of serious, almost religious and scientific that the musicians of the band was living in their lifes and into the music, but that I wasn't involved into: most of all I was interested to the monstrous technique of the guys, their furious eagerness of research and experiment, their courage, while to live they was forced to teach and to play often in tiny clubs and for audience full of freaks, spiritualists, disciples of various philosophy of occult".
(end of part one)

Note for the Italian readers:
if you're interested to read the original Italian article please contact me through my e-mail to receive a copy in PDF format.

 no©2011 Luca Ferrari

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