Exposé Online banner

Third Ear Band — Alchemy
(Drop Out DO CD 1999, 1969/1988, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-11-19

Alchemy Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

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.


Filed under: Reissues, 1988 releases, 1969 recordings

Related artist(s): Third Ear Band

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Monolith - Monolith – At first listen this k/b/d band delivers up derivative progressive rock of the highest order. However, I discovered that a good chunk of this was written in 1977, nearly predating the sound they lean...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues