September 30, 2013

"The Third Ear Band’s soundtrack to Macbeth is seminal"...

One of the things I'm usually asking for is why so many bands are claiming to be influenced by the Third Ear Band.  You listen to their music and ask yourself: what hell have this music to do with the Third Ear Band's ones?
Here's a new band states it on an interview, The Toutatis from England.

Who are ya?
"Dried out by salt air and fine wines, By Toutatis are a collection of fops and grizzled folkies who use the “Three Bs” to create their distinctive sound: baritone, broken things and buzzing noises".

Where are you from?
"Many places, converging generally around the wonderful land of Saltburn-by-the-Sea".

How long have you been doing what you’re doing now?
"Three swift and sexually-charged years".

Is being a musician your full time job?
"Not having full time jobs is our full time job. Although drummer Ben works at the amazing Georgian Theatre in Stockton".

How would you explain your sound to someone’s 90 year old grandmother?
"Picture that favourite dancehall from your youth. Remember the glitz and the glamour? The dancing? The nights that never ended…? Now imagine it burning – slowly reducing to ashes festooned with shards of glitterball and cremated bowties. See the band resolutely playing in the corner? That’s us. With a wind organ". 


Are there any obvious influences in your music? "Jacques Brel, Tindersticks and Yann Tiersen have been bandied about…".

Are there any not so obvious influences in your music?
"The Third Ear Band’s soundtrack to Macbeth is seminal".

Apart from yourself of course, what other band/artist would you recommend our readers check out?
"Dressed Like Wolves, RM Hubbert, Natasha Haws, General Sherman…too many more to list".

Best place for people to find out what you are up to? is where it all seeps out from. Tweets are regularly freed from @bytoutatisband

The band's last record "The Song we Sang to Death" is available for free listening at

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 26, 2013

A memory about the Thirds in 1972...

Miracle of the Net. Memories about the Third Ear Band from people that lived that Day. Here's Craig Runyon, who saw the band on live in 1972. This thing is taken from the excellent Facebook's TEB Fans Page run by Mirco Delfino ( 
We thank him for the precious work he's doing...

"As a 19 year old immigrant from Baltimore. Glen Sweeney was very nice to me. I met him back stage at the premier of Matching Mole's "Little Red Record". He was the first person to start talking to me. I told him that I had seen Third Ear Band at the Kings Cross Cinema that summer supporting Hawkwind. I remember Third Ear Band played last that night well into the dawn they were magnificent. They were performing material from the recording that released years later entitled "The Magus". I specifically remember the song "Cosmic Wheel" being performed. The vocals in this haunting song were unforgettable. Glen explained to me that night that Third Ear Band were in a transitional period because they were moving from acoustic to electronic music. This was brought to a halt by the music commissioned by Hugh Hefner to compose the acoustic music soundtrack of Roman Polanski's Macbeth. They were paid £150,000 a generous sum for those days. Glen said he lived an ordinary life in a modest flat in London and that he wasn't interested in a rock star life style. He said that his cooker wire in his kitchen was broken.Glen also told me that every one was frightened of Roman Polanski people believed that he was cursed. That every where Polanski went people dropped off like flies.As t ime foretold Glen Sweeney wasn't interested in fame and fortune.His art came first.I think his generation was the last to be like this.I hope that Glen's great knowledge in music can be passed down to the next generation.This is very important for the culture.The night I met Glen I was with Lol Coxhill who has also sadly passed away.I don't know if they ever worked together because Lol did work in the folk genre with The Albion Band.This was a profound generation of truly great artists.That lived in a time of great optimism and hope.They must never be forgotten".

Editor's chronological notes: the London King's Cross Cinema TEB concert was played on June 6th, 1972. The premiere of Matching Mole's "Little Red Record" was probably around September of that year, just before the band disbanded in late September. The album was finally realised in November of that year.

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 20, 2013

New attempt to interview Peter Mew, E.M.I. Studios sound engineer that recorded TEB in the '60's...

Ghetto Raga Archive has tried a new attempt to interview Peter Mew, the well-known sound engineer that recorded TEB in the Sixties at Abbey Road studios.
Now a kind Holly Pearsons, "Communications Co-ordinator" at E.M.I., answers me that "Peter Mew has now retired from his post at Abbey Road Studios, so I have forwarded your email to him at home. If he's interested in taking part, I'm sure he will be in touch with you directly".

So we hope Mr. Mew would be agreed with this, it would be very interesting to ask him some questions about the past with the Thirds...

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 15, 2013

English folk musician & singer Sharron Kraus states her pastoral music is inspired by the Third Ear Band...

"Sharron Kraus is a singer, musician and songwriter who both defiantly recasts and tenderly cherishes the folk tradition. Her songs tell intricate tales of rootless souls, dark secrets and earthy joys, the lyrics plucked as sonorously as her acoustic guitar. Utilising voice, field recordings and sparse instrumentation, her new project, 'Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails' attempts to evoke the music embodied within the landscapes of Mid Wales. In Sharron's own words: 

"Driving along the Elan Valley from Rhayader to Aberystwyth one sunny day I had the overwhelming sense that there was music contained in the landscape, waiting to be discovered. I decided to move to Mid-Wales, to a quiet place just north of that valley and try to tap into that music and draw it out. Over a period of two years I walked and drove around the area, criss-crossing the landscape, stopping wherever the magic of the place was too strong to ignore. I took a minidisc recorder with me and recorded the birds, streams and waterfalls, the animals, the wind, and the jet planes that sliced through the quiet. I listened and absorbed as much as possible and then went home and recorded. 
"My initial aim was to record a soundtrack for my own experiences, something to listen to as I drove along the winding mountain roads or walked out in the hills at night, but as the project developed and other musicians added to it, the pieces moved out of the realm of the purely personal and became soundscapes that captured something of this place, unlocked an enchanted world. Musical reference points include Eno's ambient works, Richard Skelton's landscape-inspired pieces, Mike Oldfield's 'Hergest Ridge', Popol Vuh's soundtrack to Herzog's 'Nosferatu' and the music of the Third Ear Band, Fursaxa, Plinth, the latter two being people I've collaborated with." (from Second Language Music site at

Listen the full album of this really pastoral music at and, beyond the inspiration admitted, decide by yourself if the references are true.
To myself, this sounds are quite near to the gloomy, sinister, esoteric mood of some TEB music ("Macbeth"?). Really English and organic, pagan and ritual... Alchemical? Ipnotic?... and the very impressive vocal textures (i.e. on "Dark Pool" or "Cadair Idris") remind me that masterpiece titled "Parallelograms" by Linda Perhacs (1970)...
The same Rob Young on his seminal book "Electric Eden" (Faber and Faber, London 2010) quotes Kraus in a group of musician "all sallying into the wildwood with dronal, rustic "Dark Britannia" and viewing the tradition through the retrospective of prims like The Wicker Man" (page 604). 

Realised on August 13th, 2013, the record is played by Sharron Kraus (voice, guitar, dulcimer, organ, recorders, drones, percussion, field recordings), Harriet Earis (harp),
Mark Wilden (drums) and Simon Lewis (Korg MS-20). 

Brave English (new) folk music! 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 09, 2013

A new pretty picture of the Third Ear Band emerged from the Net!

This is a new unknown photo of the Third Ear Band taken at the Isle of Wight festival on August 31th, 1969 by Karen Francis.

Differentely from the set taken by Barry Plummer (read here the interview with him at this beautiful picture (as that one already known taken by Derek Halsall) show us the stage and the band in vivid colour. 
I've got a contact with Francis, and she's been very kind to write me these memories:

"Hi Luca
What a surprise! I remember odd bits about the 1969 IOW Festival of course but not too many specifics, after all I was just 18 years old then and I'm 62 now! I do recall the impact of the whole weekend as it was so enormous in my life back then - I had hitched a lift to the docks and bought a ferry ticket, walking to the site and spent the whole three days living on doughnuts and little else.
You asked about the Third Ear Band. They did make an impression on me and that is why I took their (rather bad) photo. I was in the front 'row' of 35,000 people, a little left of centre and up against a fence in front of which was the press area and where celebs like John Lennon and Yoko Ono occasionally sat. I had a little Kodak Instamatic camera and one film (12 photos) which is why I have so few photos!

I remembered the band because they were so different - I'd not heard anything like that and, to be honest, I wasn't sure whether I liked the music or not at the time. I could pick up the fact that the origins seemed to be all over the place, a bit gypsy, a fair bit of Indian influence and very 'modern' and alternative in outlook. As a very young person who had travelled some distance to see rock bands like the Who and Moody Blues, it was rather grown up and other worldly for me I suppose. Now that I am several decades older I can see how ahead of their time this band really was - if I could whistle back in time now I would appreciate their stuff far more and indeed I do have a copy of the remastered Alchemy so you see they did make an impression :-)

I expect that you have managed to source a copy of the 1969 IOW programme for yourself but, if not, this is what the description of the band said:
"The music is the music of the Druids, released from the unconscious by the alchemical process, orgasmic in its otherness, religious in its oneness, communicating beauty and magic via abstract sound whilst playing without ego enables the musicians to reach a trance-like state, a 'high' in which the music produces itself. This is the aim of the Third ear; to act as carriers of consciousness and to play a music that being non-conscious is an organic synthesis of all musics "...each piece is as alike or unalike as blades of grass or clouds".

I had no idea what that meant, still don't :-) 

I enjoy photography but am, and always have been, an amateur. I take photos of wildlife for pleasure, that's all [check her wonderful photo blog at ].
My photo is rubbish in my opinion but feel free to use is it if you wish.

Rubbish or not, dear Francis, I'm sure this is a really precious gift for all the TEB fans around the world!

  The original page of the festival programme dedicated to the TEB.

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

September 07, 2013

Another Italian band inspired by the Thirds...?

Clessidra [hourglass in english], a new Italian band from Tuscany, seems to be inspired by the Third Ear Band. This is what the Web site "Fritto Misto" claims at
about their new album titled "Carta Malabrica" (Manza Nera).
I don't know what some writers (journalists, experts, fans...) in the Net know about the TEB's music but sometimes this relations are very obscure and vague for myself...

A certain T/T writes: "The interior and oniric space sketched out by the Clessidra's lush maps has something of dangerous and hostile: and unfathomable desire to pull out to the obvious and renown that mainland already extensively explored and categorized under the obliging cathegory of "post-rock"".

Anyway, even if very interesting to my ears, you can listen to this music and decide what do you think about it. 
As usual, any comments, ideas, replies is well accepted by the Ghetto Raga Archive...

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)