Third Ear Band — „Alchemy / Elements“ [2albums on 2CD]UK FLAG                                                                           Third Ear Band — „Alchemy / Elements“ [2albums on 2CD]
Alchemy Review by Brian Whitener. Score: ★★★★ 
⇒  Skupina Third Ear Band, kterou založili v roce 1968 perkusionista Glen Sweeney a reedista Paul Minns, vznikla z popela předchozího Sweeneyho projektu, psychologické skupiny Hydrogen Juke Box. Zatímco v historii britské a improvizované hudby byla skupina Third Ear Band obecně přehlížena, vyvinula výrazný a esteticky důležitý zvuk — stejný jako indický, psychedelický a minimalistický — Sweeneym přezdívaný „electric~acid~raga“. Alchemy, jejich první vydání, je nádherná deska. S kratšími skladbami než na pozdějších albech zde Third Ear Band podniká tripy do improvizované komorní hudby. V úvodní části „Mosaic“, která je v sedmi minutách jedním z nejdelších střihů, se kytara setkává se zobcovou flétnou a houslemi v disharmonickém freejazzovém summitu, který odeznívá, než se promění ve vytržené mini~crescendo. Na „Stone Circle“ se linky zobcové flétny prolínají přes opakující se rytmus nepřikrášleného bubnu. Občas jsou linky zobcové flétny tak plynulé a nepřirozené, že znějí, jako by byly přehrávány pozpátku — což skutečně mohou být. Obecně platí, že zbytek skladeb probíhá mezi polostrukturovanou improvizací a hučícím chaosem. Dalo by se to přirovnat k Soft Machine nebo Dream Syndicate, ale ani jeden z těchto bandů nemá smysl pro „kolektivní priority“ ani opakované naléhání Third Ear Band. Písně, abych znovu citoval Sweeneyho, jsou „stejné nebo odlišné jako stromy“. Pro ty, kteří se i jen matně zajímají o historii inovativní hudby, stojí Alchemy za lov.Third Ear Band — „Alchemy .. Elements“Formed: 1968 in London, England
Location: London, England
Album release: 1969
Duration:     50:07
Styles: Experimental
Recording Location: E.M.I. Studios, St. John Wood, London, England
Tracks:
1. Mosaic
2. Ghetto Raga
3. Druid One
4. Stone Circle
5. Egyptian Book of the Dead
6. Area Three
7. Dragon Lines
8. Lark Rise
Written by:
Richard Coff / Paul Minns / Glenn Sweeney  1~7
Dave Tomlin   8
Personnel:
Paul Minns — oboe, recorder
Mel Davis — cello, pipe
Glen Sweeney — chimes, drums, tabla, wind chimes, hand drums
Richard Coff — violin, viola
with:
Dave Tomlin — violin on “Lark Rise”
John Peel — harmonica, Jew’s harp on “Area Three”
Technical:
Ken Scott, Peter Mew — engineer
Dave Loxley — design, artwork
Ray Stevenson — photography
Credits:
Richard Coff    Composer, Viola, Violin
Mel Davis    Cello, Pipe
Peter Jenner    Producer
Peter Mew    Engineer
Paul Minns    Composer, Oboe, Recorder
John Peel    Harmonica, Jew’s~Harp
Ken Scott    Engineer
Ray Stevenson    Photography
Colin Sweeney    Percussion
Glenn Sweeney    Chimes, Composer, Drums, Hand Drums, Liner Notes, Tabla, Wind Chimes
Dave Tomlin    Composer, Violin

Third Ear BandArtist Biography by Richie Unterberger
★⊇  Although they were loosely affiliated with the British progressive rock scene of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Third Ear Band was in some ways more of an experimental ensemble performing contemporary compositional work. For one thing, they didn’t use electric instruments, or even guitars, instead employing violin, viola, oboe, cello, and hand percussion. More important, they didn’t play conventional rock “songs.” They featured extended instrumental pieces that often built up from a drone, or hypnotic pattern, to a dense, raga~like crescendo, somewhat in the manner of some of Terry Riley’s work. Their “progressive rock” tag probably arose because they recorded for Harvest Records, Britain’s leading art rock label, which was home to Pink Floyd, Kevin Ayers, Pete Brown, Edgar Broughton, and many other progressive acts.
★⊇  The group was founded by drummer Glen Sweeney, who had roots in Britain’s free jazz scene, and had played with an avant~garde ensemble, the Sun Trolley. Sweeney described Third Ear’s music as “electric acid raga,” although the electricity was shut off shortly after they formed, when their electronic equipment was stolen. Sweeney simply molded Third Ear into an acoustic ensemble, with the addition of oboe, violin/viola, and cello. The personnel (with the exception of Sweeney) would rotate over the next few years; their early albums were produced by Andrew King, who had helped manage Pink Floyd in their early days.
★⊇  Commercial success, or even widespread underground success, was never in the offing for Third Ear Band, and one gets the feeling that was not ever a consideration. Their albums were too somber and experimental for the rock audience, and in the U.S., they are still only known to a very few. Their biggest coup was getting commissioned to score and perform the soundtrack to Roman Polanski’s film version of Macbeth (issued on record as Music From Macbeth). The original incarnation of Third Ear Band disbanded in the early ‘70s. Surprisingly, they re~formed in the late ‘80s, and released a few albums that boasted sounds and ambitions that were similar to those found in their early work.
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/third-ear-band-mn0000588562