December 28, 2012

An interview with Swiss filmaker Clemens Klopfeinstein that used TEB music for his film in 1979.

As you probably remember (if not, read at in 1979 Swiss film director Clemens Klopfenstein used a track of the Third Ear Band's second album (about 7' of "Fire") for his short film "Geschichte der Nacht" (Story of Night).

"Geschichte der Nacht" DVD
An advant-garde artist, Klopfeinstein, now 68, he has directed a lot of movies (, some also available in DVD format.
He's a painter too and sometimes he makes exhibithions around the world.
Quite surprisingly he's living just in Italy, in that wonderful little central region of Umbria.
Here's a short interview with him just to investigate the story and the reasons of that his eccentric choice... 

1. When/how did you know the Third Ear Bands music? 
"I think I heard them for the first time with their soundtrack of Polanski's "MacBeth".

2. Which was your first impression about it? 

"I was very impressed. As soon as I found an opportunity, I bought all their vinyl discs I was able to find (in Basel, at the Freienstrasse in particular)".

3. Why did you choice to use a track from the band's repertoire?
4. How do you think the music fits perfectly into the sequences?
5. Which kind of process you used to make that sequence? 

"I was shooting some takes of the carnival in Basel by night. The musical performances of the bands wandering through the strees, their drummers and pipers, are well known, very impressive, but also very corny. I knew I had to replace their music at all costs in order to give a dreamy, powerful, even nightmarish tone to my video takes. The tracks by the Third Ear Band fit that spot perfectly. The Swiss people, especially the people living in Basel, were stunned of the result! You know, the carnival in Basel is a bit bourgeois. When the people finally watched those ghastly platoons moving through the streets with that spooky music, they were positively shocked. In fact, the first takes were for a test film ("Ceremony", 10 minutes in black and white) which explored the possibilities of a new technique allowing us to shoot by night without any source of artificial light (except the faint lights already shining through the nightly city streets). That test film was shown at the national film festival of Solothurn, in 1976. At that point the German television ZDF (especially editor Sibylle Hubatschek-Rahn and head editor Ekart Stein) and its workshop "Das kleine Fernsehspiel" were electrified and gave their support for the full night movie "Geschichte der Nacht". The test film "Ceremony" was then re-cut and inserted into the final movie as a 3 minutes sequence".

6. Did you contact the musicians to get the permission for using it?
"No, it was a television production (ZDF and SF-DRS), therefore I only had to submit the list of musical works used and the television fixed the rights and permissions through Gema and Suisa".
5. Are you glad about the result of your film?
"I'm very glad about the result. In fact, it is - unfortunately perhaps - my best known production and it is still shown in various cinematheques even after many years. Once Ang Lee himself said that he had to study my "masterpiece" at film school".
6. Do you know your film is available free at
"Yes, I am aware of it".
7. Which reactions has it got? 
"Many, many reactions, most of them were positive ones. Even some imitators, which is also flattering". 
8. Have you used TEB music in other films made by you?
"No, never again. I'm afraid I lost my vinyls shortly thereafter. Or maybe they were stolen".

Clemens Klopfeinstein at his home as a painter.

About the movie, Chris Auty (Programme Note London Film Co-op) writes that "it's a black-and-white record of European cities in the dark (2-5am), from Basle to Belfast. Quiet, and meditative, what ermerges most strongly is an eerie sense of city landscapes as deserted film sets, in which the desolate architecture overwhelms any sense of reality. The only reassurance that we are not in some endless machine-Metropolis is the shadow of daytime activity: a juggernaut plunging through a darkened village, a plague of small birds in the predawn light. The whole thing is underscored by a beautiful 'composed' soundtrack, from quietly humming stretlamps to reggae and the rumble of armoured cars in Belfast. A strange and remarkable combination of dream, documentary and science-fiction."
You can watch here an excerpt of it taken from YouTube:

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

December 19, 2012

Winter Solstice with the Third Ear Band.

To all the Third Ear Band fans 
and Ghetto Raga Archive readers
(in spite of Maya calendar and other assorted catastrophic prophesies)

"Stigma. A XMas ghost story" (BBC, UK 1977)
Discovered by our post folk-shaman Sedayne, this old short film (just 31.49) was produced by BBC and broadcasted on December 28th, 1977. With a track by Rolling Stones' "Aftermath" ("Mothers little helper"), on the soundtrack you can listen also to an excerpt of "Air" played by the Third Ear Band!
"Stigma" is one of the Christmas BBC short movies (read at produced in 1971-1978. It was written by Clive Exton and directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark

The DVD edition (UK 2012).
This is the original synopsys: "The pagan stone circles of Avebury are the backdrop for writer Clive Exton's modern-day horror. The attempted removal of an ancient menhir from a family's back garden unleashes a bloody curse on unsuspecting housewife Katharine, whose rising panic is captured brilliantly by Kate Binchy". 

Read a good review of it at

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

December 13, 2012

TEB on "Beat Instrumental" magazine in 1971!

Thanks the rare kindness of a fabulous English record shop - BEATCHAPTER ( - I've got an old precious article about the Third Ear Band published on "Beat Instrumental" (issue 132) on October 1971.
Written by S.T. (Steve Turner), is an interesting cross-section of the Band in that year, just after the (failed) attempt to become a pop group and during the recording sessions for Polanski's "Macbeth" film soundtrack.
Glen Sweeney quotes his favourite musicians - Terry RileyMiles Davis, Gyorgy Ligeti (!!!) - saying: "It's very hard to me get into Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for instance. This is because it's all vocals and I don't seem to be able to relate to it in the way I feel I should"...

Beatchapter - 49 Sebert Road, Forest Gate - London UK E70NJ
ph.: 020 85194590     e-mail: sales@beatchapter  

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

December 08, 2012

"Armistice". A recent Dave Tomlin's writing on "International Times" Web site.

Here's a recent writing by Dave Tomlin, published on International Times Web site (

At the close of the 1914 -18 war the streets of London were inundated with a population suffused with an unbounded joy. Dancing and merrymaking were the order of the day and many tears of happiness were shed; many tears of sorrow too. And one word was on everyone’s lips, a word that flew in every voice from one to another throughout the land ─ the long awaited ‘Armistice’. A word synonymous with peace, conciliation and relaxation from the terrible austerities and carnage of war. ‘Hooray!’ they sang, for at last had come the great Armistice.

In those innocent days when a majority of that population were semi-literate and unlikely to have much access to a dictionary; no dissenting voice was heard; and even the intelligentsia were strangely silent; for one look in any dictionary gives the whole game away.

‘Armistice ─ an agreement to stop fighting temporarily.’

Were those who drew up the documents and devised the terms under this word aware of its meaning? Or of the terrible prophecy which it irrefutably implied. Three wrecked and depleted economies agreeing to disengage for a while to lick their wounds and allow a couple of generations to refresh their stocks of cannon-fodder. For, of course, twenty years later that prophecy was fulfilled and the signatories returned to the fray.

This syndrome, although as illustrated here relates to high politics, can be seen to operate in all walks of human life, and reveals itself on the smallest scale and in the commonest of incidents.


Emma has just stepped out into her back garden. She stands looking upward watching an aeroplane as it passes overhead and for one moment she almost loses her balance. She stretches out her arm and holds on to the fence which divides her garden from the one next door. The fence is of light construction and her weight as she wobbles bows it a little.

A curtain in the window of the kitchen adjacent house twitches slightly and a moment later the kitchen door opens and Mrs B─ steps out. She is a stout woman and her manner is stern. She walks up to the fence and addresses Emma who still rests her hand on the fence.

‘Be careful of that fence,’ she says. ‘It’s not very strong and can’t take your weight.’

‘I’m so sorry,’ says Emma, hurriedly withdrawing her hand. Emma doesn’t like Mrs B─, who she thinks is common. ‘But it was quite accidental and look.’ She straightens the fence. ‘It’s all right now.’

‘Well that may be,’ says Mrs B─ ‘But I’d just as soon you don’t lean on it again.’

This gets up Emma’s nose a little; she is not going to take orders from this prole.

‘Well you can just as soon something else then, and be less rude into the bargain.’

‘Rude!’ says Mrs B─. ‘I’ll show you rude if you start calling me names.’

‘I just think you shouldn’t be so rude.’ says Emma.

‘Well as far as I’m concerned you can just piss off.’ says Mrs B─. Emma is shocked by this and throws caution to the winds.

‘You vile woman,’ she shouts, her voice carrying across the nearby back gardens.

‘Oh, so I’m a vile woman am I? How dare you? You dirty whore.’

Emma lowers her voice but puts a steely edge to it.

‘You fat old cow,’ she grits. ‘You piece of low-life scum!’

Mrs B─ now falls into a fearful rage and spittle flies as she screams her defiance. ‘You filthy stinking SLAG!’ She searches through her repertoire for more of the same. ‘And what’s more your husband is a pimp.’

‘Don’t you dare call my husband a pimp,’ cries Emma, this last had got to her and there are tears in her eyes.

‘Oh, crying now are we?’ says Mrs B─ scornfully. ‘It only goes to show your sneaky nature.’

‘But I’m not sneaky,’ says Emma through her tears, ‘and I’m always ready to be friends.’

Mrs B─ considers this and reluctantly concedes a point.

‘Well all right then,’ she says. ‘But you must promise to leave my fence alone.’

‘I will,’ says Emma gladly, ‘and I don’t really think you’re a fat old cow.’

Mrs B─ allows herself just a hint of a conciliatory smile.

‘Well all right my dear,’ she says. ‘And you’re not a slag.’

Now they are both smiling and Mrs B─, imbued with a sudden and unexpected feeling towards her neighbour invites her in for a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

Emma eagerly agrees and since there is a gate in the fence for the convenience of the gardeners she comes through and follows Mrs B─ into her kitchen.

They sit at the table waiting for the kettle to boil while Mrs B─ cuts the cake.

‘I must say,’ begins Mrs B─, ‘you have managed to get some very nice flowers to grow in your garden.’

Emma likes this; maybe Mrs B─ is not so bad after all. She ventures a compliment of her own.

‘Well thank you,’ she says, ‘and I never fail to admire you hollyhocks.’

Now it is the turn of Mrs B─ to harbour warmer feelings; but…

‘You know my dear,’ she says condescendingly. ‘It was my husband who built the fence and he had quite a difficult job sinking in the posts.’

‘Yes of course,’ says Emma, ‘and I have said I’m sorry.’

Mrs B─ pours the tea but hasn’t finished yet.

‘So you must understand that I can’t allow people to go around leaning on it.’

Emma is now on the defensive.

‘But I wasn’t actually leaning on it; just recovering my balance.’

‘Well it looked to me as if you were definitely leaning.’ says Mrs B─ firmly. ‘And if that fence goes down my husband is going to be very upset.’

‘Look, can’t you just shut up about the bloody fence for a moment,’ says Emma now becoming irritated by this. ‘I thought we were over that and I’ve promised not to do it again.’

‘Don’t tell me to shut up in my own kitchen,’ shouts Mrs B─. ‘I didn’t invite you in to be insulted.’

‘Well if you behave like a common fish-wife I have no choice but to retaliate.’

‘Oh, a fish-wife now am I?’ screams Mrs B─. ‘Then you can just get out of my bloody kitchen NOW!’

They get to their feet and Emma’s chair crashes to the floor. She turns and flounces out while flinging a Parthian shot over her shoulder.

‘You’re nothing but a fat scumbag and a dirty slut!’ she shrieks.

‘And your husband’s a pimp!’ screams Mrs B─."

(©2012 Dave Tomlin)

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