September 25, 2019


Accipe Ovum & igneo percute gladio [take the egg and strike it with a fiery sword

“Emblema VIII. Accipe ovum & igneo percute gladio. ‘Take the egg and strike it with a fiery sword.’ The egg is the Subject of the Art, which must be struck by the martial igneous agent wielding the ‘double-edged sword’ of the Secret Fire. Mars thus comes to the help of Vulcan, and from the ensuing darkness of Putrefaction (Nigredo) the hermetick chick will hatch. Raymund Lull, quoted here by Maier, stresses in several places that the fiery sword is a sharp lance, because Fire, like a lance, pierces bodies, rendering them porous and permeable, so that Water may penetrate them and turn their hardness into softness” (p98).


According to Luca Ferrari's excellent and detailed notes inside the booklet of the 50th Anniversary edition of "Alchemy", the iconic cover was taken from the book "Atalanta Fugiens" by Michael Maier (1568–1622), published by Johann Theodor de Bry in Oppenheim in 1617 (2nd edition 1618). 
It consists of 50 chapters with engravings by Matthias Merian, a great artist rarely quoted. Alongside illustrations, poems, and alchemical explanations, it included 50 pieces of music in the form of "fugues" scored for 3 voices. 

Being a fan of Early, Renaissance and Baroque music, I let my imagination fly: if Third Ear Band were around at the time, could their music be considered some kind of alternative "secret" sound to the more famous composers of the era? I suppose there's no answer to this question, but I think that it could definitely be interesting to hear what the original pieces from the book sounded like.
Among the countless transcriptions of the work you can listen to a nice vocal performance here below:

More performances here:

For voices and instruments here:

A different Czech ensemble recorded the fugues using for the cover the same engraving of the TEB:

...and even two modern transcriptions for piano and synthesizer here:

It is also worth noting that for many researchers and musicologists "Atalanta Fugiens" may be considered an early example of multimedia.

Alessandro Monti :: unfolk

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

September 21, 2019

New "Alchemy" 180 gram vinyl edition out on September 27th, 2019!

As announced, Esoteric Records will publish a new "Alchemy" 180 gram  limited remastered vinyl edition on September 27th, 2019. It will cost £ 17.99.

Here's the press release: 




Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new 180 Gram limited edition gatefold Vinyl LP edition of the classic album “Alchemy” by THIRD EAR BAND.
One of the first releases on EMI’s progressive rock label, Harvest in July 1969, “Alchemy” was the debut album by THIRD EAR BAND. One of the earliest signings to Harvest, the band was formed in 1968 around a nucleus of GLEN SWEENEY (percussion), PAUL MINNS (Oboe), RICHARD COFF (Violin, Viola) and MEL DAVIS (cello). Third Ear Band were unique in their exploration of exotic baroque music fused with experimental rock. Signing to Blackhill Enterprises in 1969, the quartet opened for many of the legendary Hyde Park free concerts by Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Blind Faith.
Recorded at Abbey Road studios in the early months of 1969, “Alchemy” is regarded as one of the most striking and original works of the era with its unique gothic improvisational music and this new Esoteric Recordings 180 gram vinyl edition is a faithful reproduction of the original 1969 gatefold LP release. It has been re-mastered from the original Harvest master tapes and has been cut at Abbey Road studios for this definitive edition vinyl reissue.

Pre-order at

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

September 15, 2019

A book on the Air Studios Montserrat announced...

                                          Air Studios Montserrat today...

Brian Sallerson is an American freelance journalist who's writing a story on the George Martin's Air Studios.

He e-mailed me: "I am a writer who is working on a book about the history of AIR Studios Montserrat. Denny Bridges was the operations manager for that studio when it opened in 1979. I am traveling to the UK in October and was trying to track him down to see if he might be open for an interview about his time at AIR Montserrat. I cannot find any contact info for Denny and your TEB site is the only place that has any recent correspondence with him. Is there any way that you could get a message to him for me? If you prefer, I could contact him directly if you provide an email address. Denny played a significant part of the launch of the studio so an interview with him would go a long way to help me get the full history of the studio. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated."

A synopsis of Brian's book project can be found at

                                                   The ruined pool today...

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