April 08, 2017

Glen Sweeney's tribute book finished, ready to be published.

My tribute-book to the art and genius of Glen Sweeney (and the Third Ear Band) is now finished and it's ready to be published.
Talent graphic Martin Cook (who made the last three TEB's cds for Gonzo) is working on it, full of pictures and stuff about the glorious Glen & TEB's history.
Just to give you a little taste of it, here below you can read a funny short memory from rock alternative musician Morgan Fisher (who played for a short period with the TEB in 1973) that is included on the book:

"My (probably record-breakingly) short stint as synth player with the Third Ear Band included just two radio shows and one concert, in the spring of 1973, before I was whisked off on a USA tour by Mott the Hoople. So I had little time to get to know the Band personally. Paul seemed rather distant and quiet, but Mike and Glen were open, chatty and friendly from the beginning. Nobody said it, but I assumed Glen was “in charge” as he visited my house in Finchley (north London) a couple of times to discuss their musical approach with me; it was always a real pleasure to sit and have a cuppa tea and a cozy chat with him. 

I was familiar with the Band’s recordings, and especially impressed that they had, two years before, made the music for (and even appeared in) Polanski’s “Macbeth.” While chatting on that subject, I asked Glen about the London premiere of the film - who was there, and how they dressed for the occasion. Were the Band expected to adhere to the usual tuxedo and black tie formula? 

Glen’s answer: “Yeah, man - would you believe they insisted we dress like that? So naturally I had to do something freaky as some sort of protest, right?” 

“Sure. What did you come up with?” 

“I dyed me hair bright green!” 

“Nice one, Glen! More tea?”

no©2017 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

February 17, 2017

A suite for the third ear!

Listen to this album and decide by yourself. Often music magazines and journalists state a new group evokes the music of the Third Ear Band, but then when one listens to it the distance between the soundscapes is really huge.
Anyway we have here a new project titled "A la Face du Ciel!"  by an Algerian-Portuguese duo with some references to the "third ear" aestetics - sometimes you can catch some hints from "Macbeth"... and it can be interesting to know it.
This  below is a long review published by Web magazine "The Sound Projector" (http://www.thesoundprojector.com/2017/01/14/the-third-ear-band/ ):

"À La Face Du Ciel! (SHHPUMA SHH022CD / CLEAN FEED RECORDS) is a superb record of free improvisation and another very successful meeting between Jean-Marc Foussat, the Algerian synth player and electronic music maestro, and João Camões, the Portuguese viola player (also from Open Field Trio and Earnear). In June 2016 I raved about Bien Mental, an intense record they made with Claude Parle. À La Face Du Ciel is not as “wild” as that release, nor is it intended to be; “more intimate and introspective results” is how they would describe it, while what I’m feeling on today’s spin is a very heartfelt and rather melancholic range of emotions. Pain, anxiety, fears; many of the modern ailments facing contemporary man are dealt with through musical exploration, which is a very good and sincere way to do it. Please note I am not talking about “confrontational” music which we might get from the “industrial” musician type, one who wishes to bludgeon the listener until we’re the ones feeling the pain. Nor do I refer to the many synth drone players who find it all-too-easy to slip into tones that suggest “unease” and “disquiet”, mostly through lazy keyboard presets. Make no mistake, Foussat and Camões understand that their music is a language, not just an array of sounds, and what we hear on this record is a subtle, nuanced and very genuine articulation of that language.

The notes here point out, quite rightly, that the electronic music of Jean-Marc Foussat has very little to do with contemporary electronica or ambient genres, and has been forged in the heat of improvisations with a number of important avant-garde players since the early 1980s – not to mention his exposure to the genre through acting as sound recordist for many of Derek Bailey’s Company events. “Acting by impulse and always with new ideas” is the apt description given here of his responsive and highly creative approach to collaborative playing. Part of that process involves real-time processing of amplified signals from Camões’ viola, a strategy which takes this (classically-trained) musician somewhat out of his comfort zone, but it’s a bracing experience which he clearly relishes.

They’re able to sustain this high degree of focus and concentration for long periods, as these two tracks (22 mins and 23 mins) testify. Well, while the pair may occasionally tread water on ‘Mécanique Verte’ and lapse into quasi-classical viola phrases on top of electronic drone, it’s still an impressive blend of timbres and textures, packed with detail and very intimate sounds. The main event though is ‘Suite Pour La Troisième Oreille’, a powerful shape-shifting beast which never stays in one place and leads the listener through several genuinely surprising corridors of mental exploration – surely the definition of what “free music” should be doing to earn its keep. The “third eye” is a phrase which can be used as a metaphor for a form of spiritual awakening or discovery, and with the reference here to a “third ear” Foussat and Camões make good on their promise of enlightening the soul of the listener."

You can listen to this album at

no©2017 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

February 04, 2017

Third Ear Band, an Italian phenomenon.

This is an old interview with Glen Sweeney (and Mick Carter) published on Italian magazine "Rockerilla" in March 1990. The interview (only in Italian, sorry!) was taken by Fernando Fanutti just before the gig Third Ear Band played in Florence at Auditorium Flog.
There are some interesting Glen's replies here, some clever ideas about music, life and technology I've included on the forthcoming tribute-book that will be published until Summer.

no©2017 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

January 20, 2017

BBC Radio 6 aired TEB's tracks from "Alchemy".

On December 14th, 2016 BBC Radio 6 Stuart Maconie played some TEB's tunes on his programme "Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone".

Here's the press release at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b084p0h5

“Stuart Maconie travels to the furthest flung corners of left-field music to create a playlist that makes you rock back on your heels with the sounds of newness and difference. Celebrating the best in psychedelia, adventurous electronica, avant-rock, cosmic creations, progressive, drone and general weirdness from across the decades. This week Stuart features Third Ear Band's 1969 album Alchemy which combines Eastern and Western chamber music traditions. Plus new music from Turner Prize Winner Martin Creed, a Toronto octet called Film In Music and five short miniatures from Euros Childs”. 

Tracks aired: "Ghetto  Raga", "Area Three", "Druid One" and "Stone  Circle".


no©2017 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

January 14, 2017

How Roberto Musci's "Mosaic" is going?

Asking Roberto Musci how his great tribute to the Third Ear Band is going, he replied me: "I haven't news about my record, but going around in the Internet I've read some good reviews on English and Japanese sites".
Here below there are some pages I've found:

http://www.blogfoolk.com/2016/12/roberto-musci-mosaic-tribute-to-third.html (in Italian)
http://www.waysidemusic.com/Music-Products/Third-Ear-Band-Roberto-Musci-Mosaic__25-USD-CD-HST411.aspx (in English)
http://www.thirdear.co.jp/SHOP/PYEUT008.html (in Japanese)
http://diskunion.net/progre/ct/detail/XATW-00140760 (In Japanese)

Roberto's tribute to Our Holy Band is one of the more intriguing and creative project I've ever listened to. Ghettoraga Archive is proud to have support this record since the very first stages of its creation process...

 no©2017 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

January 06, 2017

New book on Glen Sweeney almost ready!

Since the last October I'm editing with Carolyn Looker the book on Glen Sweeney's poems, lyrics, interviews, aphorisms, drawings, photos and the work is almost finished...A specific section wil have memories of Glen by some of his old friends and/or musicians who played with him as Dave Tomlin, Pete Brown, Paul Buckmaster, Lyn Dobson...

Carolyn has sent me lot of rare photos of Glen, taken in different moments of his life. One of them, in particular, shot in 1970, shows him and Carolyn with their close friend Celia Humphris, at the time singer of the fabulous Trees and wife of radio DJ Pete Drummond

Glen in Greece, 1978.

I'm very proud of this book, also because I've tried to collect all the main things written by (or about) Glen and it seems a very good tribute to his long unique career.
Also, I'm very glad the book will be printed by Gonzo Multimedia and all the design will be done by talent Martin Cook!

 no©2017 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

December 21, 2016

An exclusive interview with avant garde musician Neil Campbell.

Neil Campbell is a very inspired, original contemporary avant garde musician. According the influent magazine The Wire, with Richard Young and John Bower, he "provided the map co-ordinates for much of what passed for a post-punk UK underground during most of the 80s and 90s". A quite necessary, fresh breath full of ideas and amazing sonic surprises in this often oppressed popular music world. His recent public admission of his appreciation of the Third Ear Band music persuaded me to ask him some questions. Here's the interesting short interview that came out...

1. How/when have you known about the TEB?  
"I suppose I'd heard about them in the 1980s from friends, with words to the effect that they were some kind of "weird hippy" band, but I never heard them until my friend Richard Youngs taped me a copy of The Elements in the mid-90s. Richard had a taped copy of the LP himself, from Matthew Bower (Skullflower, Sunroof! etc), who I believe found out about them from John Godbert (who now plays with me in Vibracathedral Orchestra). So there's something nicely circular about the whole thing for me".
2. What do you think about their old records? And what about the last reunion expeience in the '80's?
"I don't think I've heard any of their reunion records in any depth, but the quartet of Alchemy, The Elements, Macbeth and Abelard & Eloise just sounds better every year to me. There are so many ideas in there too, especially on Macbeth, that I can't see the appeal of them wearing out for me. I love how they sound totally out their on their own, strangely more "punk" than "hippy"." 

3. Which elements of the TEB music are ended in your compositions?
"Not at all, or at least not consciously. I think I was well on the path I'm on by the time I heard TEB, so they probably just validated what we were already doing. I always liked recording things live, with minimal polish, and most of their records feel like they were done that way."

4. What do you think about the evidence TEB is still inspiring many underground avant-garde contemporary groups/musicians? Do you think their experience is still exclusive for the fate of contemporary music? And why?
"There was something about the ricketty boldness of TEB that really resonated with me and many of my friends involved in maybe pushing the boundaries a little in underground music. It seemed like a tonic to the harsh certainties of some of the noise/industrial music we'd grown up with as teenagers, in that it had both a fragility and a solid sense of just doing its own thing, regardless of fashion or convention. Sturdy music, human music.
A few months ago, Vibracathedral played a big indie type festival in Manchester, and all bands were asked to answer a few brief questions for the printed programme. I'm always a bit cynical about this sort of thing, so answered the questions quickly and without any real thought. One of them was to answer a Recommended If You Like for Vibracathedral - I said "Third Ear Band and Throbbing Gristle", which seems quite accurate really." 

5. What are you doing now? which are your next steps?
"Constantly recording and experimenting at home, playing regularly with Vibracathedral Orchestra (mainly at home, for our own amusement, but occasionally we play in public), and playing more sporadically with bands like Early Hominids (hand-built electronic anti-music), UK Muzzlers (rough punk/tape collage confusion) and Stygian Manor (conceptual goth). In the past week I've been hard at work on an duo release with my Vibracathedral comrade Julian Bradley, which has just gone up on Bandcamp (https://julianbradleyandneilcampbell.bandcamp.com/album/for-lila-o). So, constantly busy, mind full of new ideas. There are never enough hours in the day!"

Neil Campbell references 
The official Web site:  http://theneilcampbell.tumblr.com/
 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

December 05, 2016

TEB is still a parameter for some kind of underground music...

the question is: "Stuff like Vibracathedral Orchestra/Third Ear Band?"
Ashtray Navigations
Some bloggers write down their suggestions, confirming the TEB is still a parameter for some kind of music...
As always, listen to all this music and decide by yourself...

Neil Campbell

Our Love Will Destroy The World

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

November 27, 2016

"Alchemy" album cover at a V&A Museum exhibition in London.

It is titled "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970" and it's a new exhibition at the London Victoria & Albert Museum  until February 27th, 2017 (https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70).
"This major exhibition will explore the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s, expressed through some of the greatest music and performances of the 20th century alongside fashion, film, design and political activism",  the organisers declare. 

Among lot of artifacts of the period displayed, also the cover of "Alchemy" and a copy of the rare magazine "Albion" created by Steve Pank in May 1968 (now valued around $350).
On the 3CDs realised for the exhibition (64 tracks selected by journalist and writer Jon Savage) no tracks by the Thirds, of course, even if there are some questionable choices (The Rascals, The Impressions, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, The Flies...).

no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

November 19, 2016

TEB new CDs update.

Dear TEB  compulsive listeners,
I have to inform you the announced TEB CDs ("Spirits" and "Brain Waves" reissue) will be available next year: "Spirits" release date is January 27th, 2017.
Gonzo Multimedia's Captain Rob Ayling wrote me it past week - the decision is due the amount of records scheduled by the label (expecially Rick Wakeman's old and new ones).
I'm sorry, but we have to wait for it...

Anyway I'm proud to tell  Carolyn Looker and me are editing the first collection of poems, writings, drawings by Glen Sweeney. It will be published next year, I hope until Summer.

Luca Chino Ferrari

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)        

November 14, 2016

Glen, Carolyn and Leonard Cohen...

When I met Glen in the second half of '80's I discovered he and his missus Carolyn loved the music of Leonard Cohen. At the time, in his Sheperd's Bush flat he had all the Cohen albums' cassettes and sometimes  he loved to quote excerpts from Cohen's lyrics.
Because I loved too much Cohen  me too, during the Italian tours sometimes it could happen we chat about his music and his poetry... (also about Bob Dylan, Sun Ra and Indian music, other Glen's favourite topics).

Years later Carolyn sent me as a gift a copy of a Leonard Cohen biography written by Ira Nadel, a very good portrait with clever and sensitive insights on Cohen's art.
The day after his death, on November 10th, I wrote to Carolyn because I recalled she and Glen would love Leonard Cohen. She wrote me back this: "Yes, you recall well, I am a huge fan of Leonard Cohen and I listen to him all the time. The news did not surprise me as his new CD is very much a transition to the next life. His son did the arrangements and the music is beautiful. Being Buddhist I'm sure he was totally prepared..."

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

November 09, 2016

Some interesting short reviews on TEB's historical albums...

Mike McLatchey wrote some interesting reviews on TEB's first era albums. It's all published on "Exposé" an American  Web site devote to "exploring the boundaries of Rock".
The Third Ear Band's page is at http://www.expose.org/index.php/artists/display/third-ear-band-eng.html
with reviews of "Alchemy" and "Third Ear Band", and "Druid Grocking" 1970 video with a very funny title:"Any Band without a Silver-Jacketed Oboe Player Is Not Cool Enough".
Here below you can read the reviews...

"There really was no other quartet like the Third Ear Band, they were even singular in 1969, showing up on the Harvest label next to Pink Floyd. They're difficult to describe, perhaps something like a psychedelic medieval raga band might be close. The instrumentation was unusual with its mix of cellos, violins/violas, oboe/recorders, and table/hand drums, and the combined sound was a bewitching acoustic drone that could sound like Indian classical music, renaissance folk, and hippie drum circle all at once, although the musical strands came together in a very cohesive way. The pounding, insistent drumming sets up something very pagan and tribal, with the strings chopping away and the oboe weaving modal melodies on top, the results lifted by the mythical and mystical titles. I've always found this a completely mesmerizing listen, like opening up some imaginary fabled land and culture from aeons ago. Discogs files them as Neo-Classical and Avantgarde, neither of which seem to fully capture what their sound was like."

"The Third Ear Band quartet got even more experimental for the follow up to their debut album, reducing a bit of the Renaissance feel of some of the compositions on their debut Alchemy. The results were quite a bit more dangerous and certainly more dissonant, with the strings adding some eeriness to the proceedings. I still remember playing this album for the first time in a local record store friendly to progressive music in the early 90s. A customer who had been shopping started shooting quick stinkeye looks at the manager who was at the counter and began to pace the aisles frantically until the dissonant violins and cellos madly moving the album forward must have made her break. She steamed up to the front, screamed "How can you listen to this music?!" and both the manager and I kind of stood with our mouths opens until she immediately exited the front of the place in a huff. We looked at each other and I go, "You should save this one for when you need to clear the place," and we both broke into laughter. So yeah, not for the squeamish, this one, but the album does vary more than what this customer heard, giving unique sonic paintings to all of the four "Elements."

                    TEB 1970-1972 with Paul Minns dressed with the cool silver jacket!
 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

October 28, 2016

Glen Sweeney's original manifesto for "Alchemy"!

Searching for old TEB's tapes for Gonzo, I've found in my archive this little manifesto drawn by Sweeney  at the beginning of 1969, some months before the publication of "Alchemy".
It's a different version of the well-known writing printed on the album cover where he (and the band) explained his ideas about the music...

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)        

October 22, 2016

An handwritten poem by Glen Sweeney.

Written in 1979 by Glen Sweeney, this handwritten poem was included in my old "Necromancers of the Drifting West" book  published by Stampa Alternativa in 1999...
It would be cool to edit a book with all the poems, graphics and drawings by Glen! Which's your idea about it?

no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)         

October 14, 2016

"Brain Waves" reissued.

While we're waiting for the next TEB CD titled "Spirits", for the beginning of next year Gonzo Multimedia and Ghettoraga will realise the reissue of "Brain Waves" with a brand new booklet full of writings and photos and, most of all, some bonus tracks recorded in the '90's.
In fact the album is now delated, available through the Web at around £ 20.  

  no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)