March 28, 2019

Italian magazine "Rockerilla" reviews "Elements 1970-1971".

Italian rock magazine "Rockerilla" reviews "Elements 1970-1971" on the last issue (# 463, March 2019).
Massimo Marchini writes a controversial review on the album full of little inaccuracies and omissions (*).
But it's life (the quality of Italian rock magazines is that...) and anyway, the important thing is that someone talks about it!

(*) First reader able to find at least 3 of these wins a copy of the forthcoming Third Ear Band book!


no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 25, 2019

Martin Cook's ad for Gonzo Multimedia's CDs...

This is the ad Martin Cook designed last year for promoting Gonzo's TEB three CDs on some magazines. Martin is the designer who is editing the book on the band (written by LCF in Winter 2016 and ready in  March 2017 for being published) soon out in the bookshops...

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 20, 2019

"The Wire" reviews TEB triple CD reissue on the last issue.

On the last issue of "The Wire" (# 422, April 2019), one of the few interesting music magazines around, Edwin Pouncey reviews TEB's Esoteric "Elements 1970-1971" with accurate claims about the music and the underground status of the band.

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 18, 2019

Others reviews about TEB's Esoteric reissues.

A review about "Macbeth" reissue by Kevin Bryan is published on "Messenger" at

Here's the text:
"Third Ear Band, "Music From Macbeth" (Esoteric/Cherry Red) - This challenging outfit were one of the more cerebral signings to EMI's prog-rock imprint, Harvest Records, when it began operations in 1969, and this absorbing package focusses attention on the music that they created for the soundtrack of Roman Polanski's typically controversial adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" three years later. The evocative and eerie contents draw on elements of Indian music, early electronic fare and jazz, expanded here with the welcome addition of four hitherto unreleased tracks recorded by the band during the early seventies." 

On December 17th, 2018, not-profit webzine "Musique Machine" published a very long review on "Third Ear Band 1970-1971" at

On the "musical exploration guide" "Popgruppen" (actually a blog) Michael Bjorn writes a very good review about "Elements 1970-1971" titled "Vastly expanded 'Third Ear Band' fries your mind" at

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 14, 2019

Music from Macbeth: just "medieval music"?

Kendra Preston Leonard is the author of an old essay titled "Shakespeare, Madness, and Music. Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations", published in 2009 by the Scarecrow Press Inc. 

At page 84 she writes: "Polanski's employment of the Third Ear Band - an innovative London-based collective that drew from numerous traditions, including Renaissance forms and instrumentation, Indian ragas, and electric strings - led to the development of a soundtrack that included reasonably accurate attempts at period-appropriate accompaniments for the film. Julie Sanders asserts that this period-approximate music is used to "lull audiences into a false position of comfort [which collapses] as the camera pans out to the hostile environment in which the film is set, but this is not the only reading of the use of this music. Indeed, the relationship between the music, the settings in which it is used, and its link to Lady Macbeth create a framework around her in which she is a highly sympathetic character."

Polanski with Francesca Annis (Lady Macbeth).

"Strings, both plucked and bowed, recorders, oboes, drums, and folklike vocals not only place the film in time and location but also address the scale of the events and characters involved in them: there are no sweeping orchestral motifs or twentieth-century dissonances here to indicate the morality or lack thereof  of the Macbeths, but instead a soundscape that reminds the audience of the brutality and still-developing cultural and ethical codes and expectations of a pre- or early-Christian Scotland. The script indicates that Polanski and his co-author, cultural critic Kenneth Tynan, put considerable thought into the use of music and musical style in the film. Their cues marking the entrance and exit of music - even noting the duration of the music - are explicit and deliberate. Polanski and Tynan write music cues for Lady Macbeth more than any other single character; music serves as a prologue and postlude to her texts above all other speeches and scenes, with one remarkable exception: her sleepwalking scene." 

William Shakespeare
And later (page 85): "(...) During Macbeth's journey to Duncan's chamber (2.1.44) in which he imagines or hallucinates a dagger pointing the way, the music provided by the Third Ear Band has little in common with the earlier lute and drum dances; instead, it is reminiscent of Gyorgy Ligeti's chamber music. Using tremolo strings in high registers, sharp accent at seemingly random intervals, repeated phrases, the accompaniment for this scene "squeaks and gibbers", buzzing as Macbeth tried to steel himself for the task ahead. As he actually commits the murder, the same music is used again, but integrated with period instruments and percussions to create an atmosphere of adrenaline-filled terror and expectation. Lack of a tonal centre or an easily understood structure makes the music an aural counterpart to Macbeth's uncertain actions and emotions."
Macbeth (Jon Finch) and Lady Macbeth (Francesca Annis).

This is an interesting statement because usually, we read about TEB's Macbeth soundtrack that it is "medieval music" or, as Polanski's biographer Christopher Sandford wrote: "(...) the music of Third Ear Band, in the words of the press release 'achieving a degree of ethnic fusion of Indian, medieval, gypsy, Middle Eastern, electronic, jazz, trance and folk' (if not all in the same song)..." ("Polanski", Century-London 2007); but I think it is a kind of avant-garde chamber music and the reference to Gyorgy Ligeti is very pertinent because some tracks of the TEB's soundtrack seem inspired by the German composer. 
Apart "Fleance", that Sweeney and Minns didn't like it, and some few dances ("Inverness: The Preparation", "The Banquet", "Court Dance", "Groom's Dance", "Bear Baiting") based on harmonic elements taken from  (a revisited) ancient music, the most of the tracks are twentieth-century atonal compositions related to the  tradition of composers as like Berg, Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, Ligeti; or to free jazz or to minimalist music.

"Macbeth"'s electric guitarist and composer Denny Bridges writes me that "in reference to the music for Macbeth; as in every aspect of the band's music, we were influenced by many, many composers, musicians and musical forms from exotic parts of the world and from the ancient past too. We applied many of those influences to Macbeth but some scenes of the movie did dictate that we had to be traditional. I took the melody and chords for "Fleance's Song" from a song I had composed before I joined the band. I used just a small part of that song because the stanzas we had been given to work with were very short. I used the line "Oh your two eyes will slay me suddenly" to repeat at the end of the 'verse' as a sort of refrain. Could anything be more contrived? The Groom's Dance was based around a riff on electric 12 string guitar I had (heavily influenced by The Byrds) but with the rhythm of a jig imposed upon it. I suppose it's just a matter of opinion for that to be dismissed as just medieval. For the incidental music for the film, of course, we could be much freer."

I asked him, can you be more specific about the sources the Band used to listen to and influenced the music in that period?
"It is very difficult, if not impossible, to answer that question. For "Macbeth" each scene required a different approach.
Further to my previous comments on the music for Macbeth; Lady Macbeth's theme required at first a 'traditional' melody which then had to get darker and threatening as the piece progressed. To that purpose, I suppose we applied the influences of, for example, Schoenberg as you suggest. The witches theme is inspired by a scale of notes fewer than modern western music typical of eastern or ancient cultures. This could be a real scale or one that we imagined but, hopefully, should portray weirdness and evil to the listener.
We were sharing between us and listening to a lot of music all the time. Absorbing those influence just by osmosis would have flavoured what we did for Macbeth and all our other music.
I can't be more specific than that..."

However, whatever can be said about the sources, for modus operandi and musical references, "Macbeth" soundtrack was an innovative record for that time, still so actual and vivid.

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 09, 2019

An interview with Ursula Smith on Future Radio!

On February 6th, 2019 David Eastaugh interviewed Ursula Smith for UK Future Radio (107.8 FM). 
You can listen to the 37' interview (from minutes 32), a very interesting excursus about her career and relations with the TEB, on  the podcast available at

Thanks to David Eastaugh for sharing it!

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 05, 2019

Two unrealised live recordings of the TEB in Rome re-emerged!

In 1990 and 1991 Italian photographer Luca Fiaccavento ( recorded two full gigs of the Third Ear Band in Rome, the line-up consisting of Sweeney, Carter, Dobson and Black.

The first concert was recorded at Classico on February 4th, 1990, it was the first time ever the band played in Rome. The year after, on December 28th, 1991, Third Ear Band played live at the famous Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful square in Italy.
Just a few days ago he contacted Ghettoraga Archive to send me the full recordings of the two concerts!

The recordings was made with a Walkman  professional Sony WM-D6C (the gig at Classico) and a Casio DAT DA-7 (the gig at piazza Navona) and the quality of sound is really good, so I will try to convince Cherry Red Records or Gonzo Multimedia to make some CDs from them... 

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 01, 2019

Italian magazine "Rumore" reviews "Macbeth"...

Italian journalist Alessandro Besselva Averame reviews "Macbeth" remastered CD on the last issue of rock magazine "Rumore" (# 326 - March 2019).

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)