May 22, 2011

Balham sessions'unrealised TEB tracks album postponed.

Asking by mail to Denim Bridges about some news on the projected new TEB album with the tracks from the Balham sessions (February 1971), this is his kind (& very interesting) answer:

"Hi Luca,
good to hear from you. I regret I have not been able to spend anytime on TEB. I have needed to concentrate on recording CDs for Fiona Frensche and promoting my album ("Go For Gold" by The Bevans) through iTunes, Amazon and Zunes:

You will hear better samples of the songs at

The samples are shortened versions of the whole song not just the first 30 secs.

I am going to be touring as the sound engineer for Renaissance this summer. There is talk of a tour of Italy next year. I hope to get time to dedicate to TEB in the autumn/ fall. 

I saw about the cover of "Fleance"'s song. I'd like to hear it. Glen and Paul hated that track because it didn't fit in with TEB concept. It was composed for the movie and it was composed by me alone. The words were provided to me so I, of course, just wrote the melody and chords. The turn around where I repeat the line as a sort of refrain was my trick that I often use(d) and using the minor chord was cool I think. The rest of the band improvised the arrangement in TEB style as best we could within the ridged structure. Anyway that song was the start of my demise with TEB as that's the way I wanted TEB to go. Finally a spelling correction - it's "Groom's Dance" not "Groam's Dance". 

My memory is going. As I said I was the 'songwriter' in TEB and we have ascertained the "Mistress To The Sun" had been lost. I am also confused regarding "I The Key". For me to have played it on Peel's show I must have written it but I don't remember it. But, I didn't remember the song from Hamburg until you showed me the video. When I get to a computer instead of my iPhone I might be able to access some links.

Anyway, I'll keep you informed.


no©2011 Luca Ferrari 

May 18, 2011

An interview with Italian musician Fabio Zuffanti that 'demixed' on July 2000 the TEB "Elements" album.

As written on a past file in this Archive (, Italian musician Fabio Zuffanti recorded on July 2000 a 'demixed' version of the Third Ear Band "Elements" album.
Zuffanti is playing & recording music from 1994, solo and with some other bands, producing an huge amount of interesting music (check at his site
Because this Archive intend to document all the things related to the Third Ear Band, we think it's important to interview him about that experience, investigating on the process of 'demixing' that old wonderful tracks.

Fabio Zuffanti (2011)

When (and how) your interest for the Third Ear Band is born?
"My knowledge of music comes from my brother's records collection and dates back to my childhood. Among the records I remember a copy of "Music from Macbeth". Sure, I was too young at that time, but I remembered that music afterward as something of strange and magic, fixed in my mind even in my teen years. In that period, around the end of '80's, I remember I read a beautiful retrospective about the TEB on "Rockerilla" (an Italian rock magazine) and from there I wished to deepen the knowledge of the group. In those days  reissues of old albums was circulating in the shops and I bought a copy of "Third Ear Band" being enchanted. At that point I got all their (scant) discography. Frankly, I wasn't interested into the band reunion, happening just in that period, because I was totally involved in their arcane works recorded in the Sixties/Seventies. Anyway, after that I've listened to all the new recordings and the archive stuffs too".

What about the idea to "demix" the "Elements" album?
"It was just a very impulsive thing, without counts. One day, while I was listening to the "Elements" album, I wished to go deep into the music and try to get his core for expanding some traits of it. I wanted to build from that tunes something more dilated that started from the elements to achieve something more wide and visionary. I feel TEB compositions as tied to something of very hearthly, as it's normal for a description of elements characterizing our existence on this planet. I've tried to do it much more abstract, making such as a mix between the sciamanic TEB world and my artistic 'Enonian' (i.e. Brian Eno music) influence...".

The album recorded in 200
Can you explain us the concept of "demixed"? What do you mean exactly?
"I told you it before. It means to go deep in a tune. I like to think about a white hot core and from there to expand everything to outside, making it to grow and picking out some aspects rather than others. While for 'remix' I mean a different disposition of tracks, for 'demix' I mean something more emotional and specific. It goes to the core of creation, explodes it and then reconnects all the pieces...".

Which is the technical process of it?
"I did the work 11 years ago and I didn't have so much technology at the time - just a programme called Cool Edit. Using it I've imported all the four tracks from the original CD and sometimes I've expanded and delayed the tunes with  the time stretch, making everything became slower, out-of-focus and foggy; in some cases I've selected one element that it seemed to me topical for about the composition and I've rebuild the tune using just that kind of fragment. On everything I used a wide amount of delay, reverberations and echoes because I was interested, as I told before, to lend to the music a state of trance, more abstract as regards the original TEB tunes". 

What do you think about the TEB work? How did it contribute to your musical research?
"As a listener of the band I just think all the best. TEB is a really magical and alchemical group and it reflects into the music some medieval depictions where alchemy tried to reveal an inner and fantastic side of reality. For myself, this visual element is very very important; all the artists I love are those let me imagine arcane and timeless world.
On the level of my musical research, apart that experiment to 'demix' their music, I don't think to have ever take back in my compositions all the love I feel for the TEB atmosphere. Maybe because I've always worked on more 'rational' areas of composition and I've never worked on open structures and based on improvisation as Sweeney & co. did".

Is it possible you'll work on other TEB compositions in the future?

"I don't think at the moment, but I've got an old dream, to form an ensemble for playing a kind of music between TEB and "Hosianna Mantra"'s Popol Vuh. I know one day I'll do it, but I don't know when...". 

Download and enjoy the TEB "Elements" demixed album at

no©2011 Luca Ferrari 

May 15, 2011

New album by Sweden Urf Ivarrson's Beat Under Control, "between European avant textures to late 60s hypno-drone alchemists the Third Ear Band...".

His second album has been published at the beginning of last April.  
Urf Ivarrson, a Sweden musician played with bands as the great Hedningarma, has a great "jazz/dub intense electro funk" album (a quotation from his record company) with some explicit reference to European avantgarde music and the Third Ear Band, recorded by his own band Beat Under Control.
Urf Ivarrson
As it's stated on his label's Web site Magnatune, "this philosophy is explored with often stunning results on Ulf's second Beat Under Control album, "Cosmic Repackage", a colossal aural menagerie of space-jazz brass themes and solo flights, subterranean pulses and dark-hued banks of strings which dart between European avant textures to late 60s hypno-drone alchemists the Third Ear Band... it's a heady brew, ranging from the nocturnal back alley jazz of neighbourterror blues to the intense freeform scattershots and coruscating atmospherics of "departure... if dub's shadow looms over the album, notably on tracks like the bottomless fizz-bombs of interruption, it steps out and flashes its glorious sonic stiffie on the alien skank of subversion dub, albeit lashed with dissonance and howling winds...". 

Tracks as "Cosmic Repackage" (7:22), "Departure" (1:53) or "Numb" (6:50) refer to the last Materiali Sonori TEB albums, expecially "Brain Waves", with that electronic jazz spacey avantgarde rock of Sweeney & Carter. An interesting exhaustive review is available at

You can listen to and buy "Cosmic Repackage" at

no©2011 Luca Ferrari 

May 09, 2011

TEB "I the Key" included on a new Angel Air compilation.

The bad "I The Key", taken from the rather ugly posthumous TEB's album "The Magus" (published by Angel Air in 2004), has been included on a new Angel Air compilation titled "Ventis secundis, tene cursum. This is Progressive Rock!" (Angel Air SJPCD348) realised on January 2011.
Other bands included, Atomic Rooster, Affinity, Greenslade and Warhorse. 

 The album has been edited by the writer/reviewer James McCarraher that in his Web site (, about the TEB, writes:
"Third Ear Band emerged in a haze of hashish onto the alternative music scene in the late Sixties and produced a series of strong albums. They epitomised the title of this collection with their spontaneity and experimentation, working with raga, folk and classical music. Despite a rolling line-up, they achieved a lot in a short period, including the recording of the soundtrack to Polanski's 'Macbeth', which was also released as an album.
The final recordings from 1972 failed to see the light of day for over thirty years, the tapes being stored away carefully by producer, Ron Kort. Kort took the tapes to Angel Air in 2004 and they duly released them as 'The Magus' (magician). Sadly, Ron died before the album went to the pressing plant. He would have been thrilled at the reception it received. Classic Rock Society described it as “ atmospheric and ambient album, this is the point where electronic music, classical music and ambient music meet in an otherworldly journey through music...a superb album.” The track featured here is 'The key', which is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Ron Kort". 

Among the reviews published in the Net, Steven Reid on Rocktopia claims "I could personally have done without the spacey snake charming of Third Ear Band, or the jazz meets Ozric Tentacles of Mouse, but neither song is particularly awful"; while such Claudia A, on tells that "‘The Key’ by The Third Ear Band is a product of the hazy and psychedelic 60’s, with a sound that’s throws folk and raga elements in the blender, with a dash of classic. Not much rock here and also not a track that stood the test of time too well, more like one to chill out to or get stoned to".

I'm sure Glen and Paul would be horrified now by this thing (It seems to me to hear Glen say: "Bad news, Baby!"...).
But... biz is biz, baby
Isn't it so?

Info about the CD at

no©2011 Luca Ferrari

May 06, 2011

Who's that Groan quoted on TEB's "Groan Dance"?

Mervyn Peake
Except for few tracks, TEB compositions have been only instrumental. As we know, they used to title tracks with some references (sometimes obscure) to philosophy, religion, science, culture...
One track, apparently mysterious, is titled "Groan's Dance" and was performed by the band at the BBC programme "Drummond" on March 21th, 1972 .

Who's that Groan?
Maybe some TEB's fans ignore that Titus Groan was one of the main characters of a famous trilogy written by English writer (and artist) Mervyn Peake (read at between 1946 and 1959.
A trilogy of Fantasy quite near to the more famous (and contemporaneous with) J.R.R. Tolkien.

In the rock history other groups quoted some references to the Peake's works: Steerpike and  Gormenghast was names of bands
recording in 1969-1971 taken by Peake's characters/places. So the progressive English groups Titus Groan (with an album recorded in 1970 with the track "Fuschia" (!) on it...) and Fuchsia with only one album in 1971. 

A drawing by Peake based on the trilogy

Al Stewart quotes Peake on his sleeve notes for "Zero She Flies" (1970), while the Strawbs titled a track "Lady Fuchsia" in their 1973 album "Bursting at the Seams". Another English band called Fruupp titled a track "Gormenghast" for his record "Modern Masquerades" in 1975.
In 2000 also ex-Can Irmin Schmidt composed and conducted an opera based on the Peake's trilogy titled "Gormenghast"...

PS: Because a TEB track of the same period is titled "Groom's Dance", a beautiful medieval dance composed for the soundtrack of Polanski's "MacBeth", it could be possible it was a misspell of the title possibly made by the DJ during the radio programme. Unfortunately no radio recordings of that broadcast seem to be around...

At the page on May 22th, 2011 Denim Bridges makes the things clear revealing the right title is "Groom's Dance"...

Last update: May 23th, 2011

no©2011 Luca Ferrari