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3rd Ear Experience - 3rd Ear Experience & Dr Space: Ear To Space CD (album) cover


3rd Ear Experience


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.89 | 27 ratings

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5 stars 3rd Ear Experience is a psychedelic/space rock band that calls the Joshua Tree/Mojave Desert their epicenter, even though the band members hail from different areas. Most of their music is comprised of free form jams with a bit of experimental leanings, but usually staying in a psychedelic vibe. Their first album was released in 2013, and in April of 2019, they released their 6th full length studio album called 'From Ear to Space'.

The name of the album is a play on words that use their own group name combined with artist Dr. Space (from Oresund Space Collective) who collaborated with the band on this album. The album is made up of 5 jamming tracks with a total run time of over 73 minutes. The first 3 tracks were first recorded by 3rd Ear Experience and were then sent to Dr. Space who did final mixing after adding some overdubs to the existing music. The last two 'shorter' tracks were first recorded by Dr. Space who provided the basic track, and then sent on to 3rd Ear Experience who jammed along to these tracks. After all is said and done, the line-up for this collaboration consists of Jorge Bassman Carrillo on bass, Richard Stuverd on drums, Robbi Robb on guitars and guitar synths, Amritakripa on synths and who provides the 'middle earth' chants, John Whoolilurie on Saxophone and organ, Dr. Space on synths who also produced the album along with Robbi Robb, Eric Ryan on ambient and glissando guitar and Ryan Post on percussion.

The album starts with 'Screams of Eagle Bone' (14:50). This starts out with a nice driving rhythm which starts the album off with a nice rocking sound. Guitar and sax drive the first melodic section which eventually morphs into a guitar driven jam. The sax also comes in a lot and provides its own jams, melodic and also squawking and squealing at times. The jam settles in nicely, staying quite upbeat and leaning towards a stoner rock/space jam style. There are occasional swashes of spacey effects from the synth. Before the 8 minute mark, there is a slow deceleration as things adjust to a moderate pace and the guitar and bass take charge again. The layers tend to calm down a bit as synth effects and the guitar become more atmospheric and psychedelic sounding. The echoing and chiming of the guitar along with the heavy bass makes for a nice section, and soon the sax softly adds in some more sound. Just before 12 minutes, things calm even more as percussion softens and then suddenly starts to pick up the pace again and everything crescendos back to a sound more like the beginning of the track. All of the layers get louder and the whole thing accumulates into a swirling jam, then that slowly fades as spacey effects continue to the end.

'Anam Cara' (20:21) begins with nice effects with synth sounds shooting off everywhere, then a drum pattern helps bring everything together to create the background. While this goes on, the chanting vocals begin, but they stay at an even keel with the instruments, becoming one with the entire sound. Heavy percussion and bass continue with vocals and crazy effects and the intensity level ebbs and flows along creating a nice and unique sounding jam. Soon, the guitar takes over free wheeling over the heavy backdrop. Nice riffs by a synth keep things from getting stale. Layers of organ come in as the sound mellows a bit. The music softens even more entering an ambient stage provided by synth space effects and oscillating guitar/synth effects softly roll by. At 8 minutes, percussion comes back in with a moderately slow but consistent drum beat and the instruments soon fall into the rhythmic pattern, but remaining soft and blissful. A slow crescendo driven mostly by the bass pushes the song to more intensity and by the 11 minute mark, you know you are driving to a heavier sound, especially when the organ pushes to the front of the mix along with squealing guitars coming out of nowhere. When the climax of the crescendo is reached, the wailing guitars are having their way. After 14 minutes, the guitars calm down, the music softens, but then boils up again with another crescendo. Instead of reaching a climax however, the music rolls along in a flowing manner until the end while the guitar and organ take turns and everything stays in the same key and the chanting and psych sounds come back at the very end.

'Dreams of the Caterpillar' (22:12) begins with pulsating series of synth effects and noises for an atmospheric array of sound. After 5 minutes of psychedelic and experimental sound, the track becomes a bit more musical with a synth loop throbbing along which organizes the effects making them seem not so random. The synth ascends and descends while the musical rhythm boils along smoothly underneath. The underlying music grows as it goes along until by 9 minutes, it has established itself as a smooth sounding space jam with free floating guitar and tinkling cymbals over a moderate beat and continuing synth effects. After 12 minutes, heavy effects and sustained keys take over the guitar improvisation and the percussion fades to the background and then stops. A new percussive sound takes up the beat and the throbbing synth returns. A heavier rhythm comes in and the track picks up new steam while maintaining the same moderate rhythm. By 17 minutes, the rhythm is lost again but synth washes have taken over as the music moves back to an experimental and ambient style. After wandering along a while, the rhythm comes back bringing a push towards intensity before the 20 minute mark while squealing sounds like seagulls sound out. Intensity continues to build as it pushes its way towards an ending featuring a rousing guitar.

The next two shorter tracks are the ones that were laid out by Dr. Space before being given to 3rd Ear Experience. 'Coin in the Desert' (9:37) utilizes synth effects giving it an airy texture and something that sounds similar to a pan flute. The music has a more ethnic feel to it, and is a nice change in pace. A keyboard playing a sustained chord gives it all a nice foundation and after 2 minutes, active percussion patterns and heavy bass bring a lot of life to the track. The music floats along nicely, driven mostly by light guitar and synths/keys. At 5 minutes, a cacophony of percussion drowns out the previous sounds as hand drums and etc. create a toneless section. After a minute, and the synth creates a more melodic jam session that has a mid-eastern flair. All of the sound fades except for the soft synth/guitar sound and that eventually fades too.

'Sue's Dream World' (6:04) stais made up of mostly layers of synths creating a beautiful dreamy texture. This full, yet ambient sound makes one feel like being stuck in outer space somewhere, with the random harmonies of the universe swirling around. If you listen closely, this is very immersive.

This is an excellent album of psychedelic and spacey jams and experiments, with a surprising amount of variation not just from track to track, but also during each track. It is high quality and some of the best I've heard this year. I love the fact that it while it does include some space jamming, it also isn't afraid to explore and adjust, making changes without losing the flow. The music is smooth, at times very straightforward in its rock heaviness and other times laid back and ambient, experimental. But I found I never really got bored as there is enough change to keep the listener interested, yet doing so without interrupting the blissful sense of the music. With all the psychedelic/space rock bands and albums that have been around this year, this one really stands out as some of the best in my opinion, very authentic and dynamic, while not compromising the genre, but actually stretching it to become more explorative. This is a strong contender for being one of the best of the year.

TCat | 5/5 |


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