November 12, 2012

What TEB has to do with Prog? An age-old controversy.

Swimming in this putrid, polluted, toxic river of nonsense that is often the Net, recently I've discovered an album of an Italian group professing to be inspired by the Third Ear Band, Ballo delle Castagne (Dance of Chestnuts), described by the label as "a psychedelic journey from west to east. More then ever, the oriental sound is still present

and expanded through a journey deep in prog rock music. From Kraut rock to West coast music with special mention to Italian Godfathers of Prog Rock, Ballo delle Castagne release his new records featuring special guest like Carolina Cecchinato (Egida Aurea) and Maethelyiah (Blooding Mask)". 

Inside an interview ( the musician Marco Garegnani states: "... and the Third Ear Band. I think they are a mysteric creature that in some ways influenced me, mainly for about the more tribalistic-ritual parts of the record..." - but listening to the music I think there's no trace of it - just a boring, quite  conceited Prog music so far from the magical spirituality of "Alchemy" or the pagan soul of the "Elements" album.

Anyway you can check by yourself and form an opinion about it (

My personal point of view is that TEB is often exploited by musicians to increase the real value of their project: a sort of easy credit card because TEB music sounds esoteric, magic, arcane... at the end eccentric and strange, and the evocation of it can charme fans around the world...

So, after all these years, for myself  the Questions are:
What TEB has to do with Prog? 
Why usually musicians and journalists use to categorize TEB music as Prog?

Of course, as usual here any free opinion will be well-accepted...

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 


  1. Hi Luca - seem to have lost your email... Anyway - came across a couple of brief eyewitness acounts of TEB doing Macbeth at the Clitheroe Pop Festival in 1972:

    '...Coming on at the freaky hour of twilight, the Third Ear Band bewitched everybody with music from Polanski's MacBeth. With swallows swooping above them they produced a more melodic sound than of yore...'

    '...First band that made an impression with me that day were the Third Ear Band who were doing their Polanski Macbeth stuff. VERY atmospheric and really suiting the castle/medieval environment. Not much stage presence though – think it was the bassist that stood rock solid for a great chunk of the set with his back to the audience! Their music has stood the test of time really and wouldn’t be out of place with a modern day lover of 'world' and ambient music...'

    from here:

    Amazing that no one thought to take any pictures - or even tape the gig. Maybe one day a whole cache of live Third Ear recordings will turn up, off the mixing desk in pristine quality. I think we've been very lucky so far though - since you managed the Italian re-union which at least gave us some good albums (and a couple of truly great ones) AND unearthed the A&H soundtrack... But even in the trickle of sessions, In Corncerts and lovely old films (Druid Grocking - dear God!) there's been nothing of the Macbeth Music.

    Musing further, there's bits of music in the film that aren't on the album, (and vice versa of course - we read (here?) that Polanski hated the Overture and refused to use it) but one wonders in what forgotten vaults the masters languish now? Might one day we be treated to a lavishly packaged complete film score + essays as we've had for The Wicker Man?? Hell - I'm not even sure if the CD is still available. There was a BGO edition with a terrible scan of the Roger Dean cover - and a Voiceprint edition with a Carolyn Looker cover - but they were long years ago.

    Anyway - it's a bright cold frosty morning here in Lancashire - just the sort of day for Music from Macbeth I think!

    Hope all is well in the Ghetto Grove...

    Sean Sedayne

  2. It's all fine here, thanks. Your quotations about Clitheroe are very interesting as the things about Macbeth. I've put all I know on it at the end of the 66-71 TEB chronology at and at the beginning of the 1972-2012 part at
    Infact we would need more, expecially alternate takes or unrealised ones from the vaults... I could try to make some researches because it's quite possible that something exists. It would be great to have a new complete edition of film+soundtrack, even because the only audio CD edition now available it's that rubbish one made by BGO...