May 26, 2015

An old French band with vague references to the Third Ear Band's sound.

"Early 70’s, a group of musicians around Jean-François Gaël, André Chini, Philippe Gumplowicz, Pierre Buffenoir and Youval Micenmacher formed Sonorhc in 1971 near Paris. This discreet band had released only three albums in twenty years: «Purf» (LP-1972), «Outrelande» (LP-1982) et «K’an» (CD-1991). 2014, Fractal Records propose today the first official reissue of the two first albums in a beautiful remastered edition after more than forty and thirty years respectively (!); two rare albums, difficult to find and much sought after by collectors.

The musical world of Sonorhc is oriented to collective improvisation and the research of tones; they create a sound full of invention, rich technically, made by many differents instruments which incorporated judiciously elements from the rock music, free-jazz, acid-psych, concrete, ethnic and experimental making them as one of the most atypical French Underground group, and seems somewhere more closer to the German “krautrock” bands like Between, Agitation Free, Deuter, Limbus 3, Dzyan or the UK group Third Ear Band. But as the most well-known French band Magma, Sonorhc owns their original and strange logo and shows a strong collective: Jean-François Gaël studied musical composition with Michel Puig, guitar with Roger Chaput, electro-acoustic music with Pierre Schaefer at the GRM, and had composed many movie soundtracks later. Pierre Buffenoir taught guitar at the Conservatoire d’Ivry. André Chini is composer of contemporary music in Sweden. Philippe Gumplowicz is a music teacher at the University of Evry and with the percussionist Youval Micenmacher had recorded the 1978’s album “Marron Dingue” with the band Arcane V (see the Nurse With Wound list).

Jean-Francois Gael and Pierre Buffenoir
The present edition “2 albums in 1” includes the first “Purf”, a pure jewel of the genre and this one, for example, could had been easily one of the landmark album of the legendary 70’s Futura Records “son” or “impro” series and “Purf” well worth alone the purchase of this disc (!!), plus the second “Outrelande” a compilation of tracks recorded from 1973 to 1982, and with for both their original cover. To summarize these 74 minutes with Sonorhc, just 3 words as the American blog “Mutant Sounds” has wrote : “A Total Mindbomb”. THIS IS A «MUST» HAVE ! CD limited edition 300 copies."

As usual, it's difficult to say if a band (a really great band!) like Sonorhc sounds as like the Third Ear Band. Listening to their first album, published by Disques du Cavalier in 1972 (as CVR MG650), it brings me back to several different references to bands as Popul Vuh, Magma, Agitation Free... Sometimes also a Paul Minns' oboe is heard but...
Anyway you can test your personal impressions listening to the track here below and write us what you think about it:

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

May 21, 2015

"The Scene". Rab Wilkie's memories from the past (part one)...

After a first contact by mail, I asked Rab if he could tell something about his meeting with our Holy Band.
Even if with some wrong memories (for example, Dave Tomlin never played a trumpet or a tambourine...), this is a very interesting personal recollection of the climax lived in the end of Sixties/beginning of Seventies. A precious little contribution to the Third Ear Band's story... 

"Hi Luca,
What a pleasant surprise to hear from you! (One never knows what to expect when leaving a message on the internet). I'm not sure I can help you much more with 3rd Band info, but I'll add a few things here, just in case they're
of interest. (I'm more a writer than a talker).
I met the band around August 1967. I was age 21. And hung out with them for several months until April 1968. In May 1971, on a flying visit, I popped in to see them during a recording session for MacBeth. That's about it, as far as in-person interactions go with the main members of the band. But it was a big scene overall, with all sorts of people, artists & musicians, coming & going, and things going on.
I first made the connection to this scene in Toronto, Canada, in 1965 when I roomed in a house in the Yorkville Village area - Toronto's hip version of the East Village in Manhattan. Barry Pilcher was staying in the same house.
He had recently arrived from London where he had played sax with the Hydrogen Jukebox & Dave Tomlin, also with Glen and others. 

The following summer I lined up a job for him as a forest ranger on a fire lookout tower in northern Ontario. We each manned a tower (May-September) in the same area, about 20 miles apart; and would chat by radio-phone some evenings. (One night he was almost struck by an incoming meteorite).
That autumn he returned to London, and I flew over to visit relatives in Plymouth, Devon.

In January 1967 I moved to London and met up with Barry again. He was the only person I knew in the city at that time. But a couple of months later I decided to become a monk and spent six months in a Thai Buddhist monastic centre near Richmond. I moved back into the hub of things in mid August where I reconnected with Barry and some of his musician friends, including Glen, Carolyn, and Clive Kingsley who was playing guitar with the band. Barry played sax with them. 
This was just before they decided to call themselves the Third Ear Band, and the band itself had not quite formed. Various musicians came and went, and Barry & Clive apparently did not quite fit. Glen of course was the mainstay, with Carolyn. (Barry & Clive eventually went off to do their own things. Clive ended up in small coastal village in Cornwall; Barry got married and moved to Ireland but continued to play gigs here & there).
On one occasion I joined the Third Ear on stage at a venue in Covent Garden at a "happening". The only instrument I owned then was a bagpipe chanter, so that's what I played. The other attraction was a dance troop, Exploding Galaxy. (My main instrument was alto sax, but it was a while before I could afford even to rent one.. and then I left, returning to Toronto). 

Pilcher and Glen in 1991
So, aside from the meeting at Glen's & Carolyn's flat - which I described previously in my first message to you - where the idea of a name for the band was discussed and more or less decided, I can't say that my influence or interplay amounted to much. And with so many people & things always happening, on the periphery, I'm not surprised that to Glen & Carolyn I've become a forgotten footnote. But at the time, amidst the chaos, they helped many of us - including myself - stay focused. They were always very open and friendly, sharing their enthusiasm and experience with the scene; and
music was at the heart of it.
"The scene" of course involved much more than music, and I became more involved with the literary & mystical side of it. With crazy poets & publishers of the "Underground press". I was involved with Steve Pank and Muz Murray as they planned to start a "mystical scene magazine". The result was two different magazines, Muz with "Gandalf''s Garden" and Steve with "Albion".
I co-edited Albion with Steve, but it did not survive beyond the first issue. (I left a month before it hit the streets).
Meanwhile, poets such as Neil Oram & Harry Fainlight were roaming around Notting Hill and Westbourne Park doing poetry, Ginsberg parachuting in to dance and bop balloons at Chalk Farm, etc; and John Michell was re-writing "The View Over Atlantis" after his first manuscript had gone up in flames. (There had been a fire in his flat when he was out).
But at least we managed to publish in "Albion" John's Caxton Hall talk on Stonehenge & Flying Saucers.
John has been in a slump about the fire. When Barry and I dropped in at a friend's flat on Westbourne Park Grove one Saturday morning in November, John was there, staring into space, sitting on the floor, his back against the wall. It was chilly and the room was unheated... no shillings left for the gas meter. But he seemed not to notice even though coatless.
One of the women offered him a hot mug of tea, which he absently took with a slight nod of his head, and held tightly, warming his hands.
It was a long time before he took his first sip. The mood was morose.
Everyone seemed sluggish. Then Dave Tomlin rattled a tambourine, drums were revealed, and from my pocket I pulled out my chanter.

A moment later, the whole crew had formed a procession and were heading out the door towards Portobello Market, Dave in the lead like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. (Except I had the pipe and he was Tambourine Man).
As we were about to march into the open-air market, a horse in front of us bolted, scared by our loud Janissarian arrival. But disaster was narrowly averted as Dave rushed forward and grabbed the horses reins, calming him almost instantly. (Scientology had worked for Dave. His presence of mind was legendary).
But that wake-up incident pretty well ended our event. It was time to get on with the day and the 'happeners' scattered, going our separate ways.
Barry and I headed back towards Notting Hill Gate.
"Where's John?" I asked. "Did he come with us to the Market?"
Barry was silent, thoughtful. His eyes skewed upward as if looking for a bird in the clouds...". 

(end of part one - to be continued) 

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

May 15, 2015

Discogs Web site quotes Ghettoraga as the main reference for the TEB!

Just a little reason to brag for this Archive is Discogs Web site's staff has put the Ghettoraga link on the Third Ear Band record as the main source about the group (read at here). 
With ab0ut 6 millions titles (by 3.8 millions artists), Discogs ( is probably the best indipendent "Database and Marketplace for music on Vinyl, CD, cassette". 
An important recognition of the work made here from that December 1st, 2009...

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

May 09, 2015

Lost & found. News about Barry Pilcher...

Where Mr. Barry Pilcher has been all these years? Elusive character of the TEB story, just recently evokated by Rab Wilkie's memories in a interview that we'll publish here very soon, in these last years the Web has got him living alone in the isle of Inishfree (Ireland). In 2013 he came back to humans sharing a flat with his wife in Essex...
Here's two amazing articles taken from the Net that reveal that extraordinary person who is Barry, a perfect Third Ear Band's soul!

No Man Is An Island
by Cathal McNaughton
Reuters Edition U.S. May 3, 2012

For almost 20 years Barry Edgar Pilcher has lived alone on the island of Inishfree. 

He is the sole permanent inhabitant of the tiny windswept island off the coast of Co Donegal in Ireland where he writes poetry and plays music. Once a week – weather permitting – Barry, 69, makes the 15 minute boat journey to Burtonport, where he does his weekly shopping in a petrol station. He posts letters and picks up the modest provisions he will need for the week and then it’s back to his ramshackle cottage where he lives and works in a single room.

Without basic sanitation, running water or a telephone and with a leaky roof and problems with dampness, Barry’s cottage is without any modern comforts. He has a peat-burning stove to provide warmth but he has to be frugal as any fuel has to be carried back from the mainland. 

Barry spends his days corresponding by mail with other artists across the world – he is part of a mail art group whose members send each other drawings and pictures in the post. When the weather is warm he likes to ramble around the beautiful island playing his music – when I visit it’s a mild spring day and he takes me on a tour, stopping to play his saxophone on the beach. He tells me he takes inspiration from nature: “I’m playing a symphony to the shells today,” he says. His music is amazing and I am privileged to be at this exclusive concert for one.

Originally from south London, Barry moved to Inishfree in 1993 to ‘get away from the rat race.’ He bought this cottage from a member of a cult-like pagan group known locally as The Screamers, who had made Inishfree their base for several years. In his garden there is a stone circle left behind by the group who he tells me worshipped outdoors, screaming to release energy.

When he first arrived on the island there were a number of other people living there – one by one they have all left. “There is no school here for young people, no prospects, no future,” he explains. Later that day in his old fashioned kitchen Barry prepares a simple Vegan meal and surprises me by telling me he is thinking of moving back to the UK. “I miss going to gigs and visiting friends. I don’t think I’ll live here forever,” he says"."
(© 2012 Reuters- Cathal McNaughton)

"Loneliest' man's new life in suburbia"
Inishowen News
August 16th, 2013

MUSICIAN Barry Edgar Pilcher – once dubbed Ireland’s loneliest man - has put the remote Co Donegal island house he called home for 20 years on the market.
The saxophonist who was the sole permanent resident of Inishfree island off the Burtonport coast, has put his ramshackle 'Raven Cottage' up for sale. The seventy-year old artist moved back to Essex, England, five months ago and has since been adapting to his new life in suburbia.

Saxophonist Barry Pilcher enjoying his new life in Dagenham, Essex, with wife Eve.

He is also writing a book about life on the island, off Burtonport, where he devoted most of his time to composing music and writing poetry since moving there in 1993.
"Life is really good at the moment. I've been so busy I haven't had time to miss the island. When you’ve been on your own for so long, you appreciate people even more than before," he said.
"It’s really nice being with my wife and daughter after being apart for such a long time. I also like the nearby shops, the hot running water and the steady internet connection.
"After the quietness, I am fascinated by the city noises too - like the Tube in London -I sort of hear the music in it."
While many his age are winding down, it seems life is just beginning for Barry whose story of splendid isolation was picked up worldwide. He has found himself in demand as a saxophonist across Europe and recently played a number of guest gigs in Belgium and Germany.
"I was essentially putting a body of work together all the years I lived alone on Inishfree and I am now trying to put it out there. I am also writing a book about the island - a collection of poems, stories and photographs,” he added.
Barry and wife Eve (70) are now planning a private sale of their property on Inishfree. The couple, who have one daughter Alice, are on the island this week to clear out the rest of Barry's belongings. Given the stagnant market and the cottage’s rareness however, they have yet to settle on an asking price. The property, the island’s former post office, has a number of unique features including a one-acre garden leading onto the beach and a living room with a sleeping platform. It has an adjoining barn, a conservatory and several other rooms including one formerly used by islanders to cast their ballots. They also plan to sell sites on a separate nine-acre seaside plot and two-acre inland plot they own on the island which is a square-mile in size and accessible only by boat. Meanwhile, Eve admits that their living arrangement for the past two decades - where they spent only three weeks of the year together - "was definitely unique". She said Barry’s return to their rented semi in Dagenham has been "challenging on every level". "I am finally realising what a relationship really is but so far so good. It's lovely having him back," she beamed. Potential buyers can contact Barry through his Facebook page".
(©2013 Inishowen News) 

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

May 04, 2015

"New forecasts from the Third Ear Almanac" ready in a couple of months...

After having checked the proofs of the booklet that will be included in the second Gonzo Multimedia's CD, where I've written some things about the first Italian TEB's tours, Rob Ayling confirms the second brand new TEB's album - with a digital rendition of "New forecasts from the Third Ear Almanac" - will be ready in a couple of months.
Here's the original front and back covers:

no©2015 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)