Exposé Online banner

Third Ear Band — Alchemy (Expanded and Remastered)
(Esoteric Recordings PECLEC 22668, 1969/2019, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-06-30

Alchemy  (Expanded and Remastered) Cover art

This is where it all began for a band so unusual and outside the ‘rock box’ that many at the time may have dismissed them as being too far out. When I first heard Alchemy, I had recently purchased Pink Floyd’s 1969 double LP on the Harvest label, as well as Deep Purple’s self-titled, so I figured the label was a catalyst for a lot of interesting music, and after one copy of Alchemy showed up in a local record store and I took it home, I was certainly convinced of that, but maybe my tender teenage ears weren’t quite ready for it yet. Over many intermittent spins for half year or so, it finally started to make sense. What a strange band they were, with violins, cello, oboe, jews’ harp, and hand drums only, without any vocals to speak of, playing in sort of a free improvisation of east Indian styles mixed with a bit of folk in the mix, though played mostly on classical acoustic instruments, save the hand drums, and no electric guitars, bass, or keyboards whatsoever! It’s dreamy, absorbing, hypnotic, and totally non-imposing, thus inviting the listener into its strange and unique world to drift along with the spacy sounds. How pleased I was when last year Esoteric released the triple CD Elements 1970-1971, comprised of the band’s second album and two discs of material recorded around the same time, much of it previously unreleased. I knew a similar treatment of Alchemy couldn’t be far behind, and here it is in beautiful remastered sound, the original album and two BBC session tracks on disc one, and a full disc of recordings from 1968 and 1969, most previously unreleased, rounding out disc two. Notable are the three tracks from 1968 that were recorded at Ron Geesin’s studio, when the band was briefly known as the National Balkan Ensemble (and these three tracks were previously released on the Gonzo compilation Necromancers of the Drifting West), while the remainder of disc two is all previously unreleased studio cuts from 1969. At this point in time, Third Ear Band sounds like nobody else, and it’s magical to hear this album again, finally in superb remastered sound with all of the associated recordings from the same period.


Filed under: Reissues, 2019 releases, 1969 recordings

Related artist(s): Third Ear Band

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anyone's Daughter - First Five Reissued – Anyone's Daughter was one of a group of late 70s German symphonic bands who brought forth a highly melodic rock, colorful and saturated with emotion. Their vocal harmonies were strong, and...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues