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Third Ear Band

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

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Third Ear Band The Magus album cover
3.44 | 13 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Key (5:32)
2. Cosmic Wheel (6:24)
3. The Hierophant (4:38)
4. The Magus (8:12)
5. New Horizon (6:14)
6. The Phoenix (3:54)
7. Kozmik Wheel (3:50)

Total Time 38:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Glen Sweeny / drums
- Mike Merchant / guitars and vocals
- Simon House / VCS3, violin, sitar and piano
- Paul Minns / oboe, recorder and Hammond
- Ron Kort / percussions and doom piano
- Dave Tomlin / bass guitar

Releases information

Labels : Angel Air Records ‎? SJPCD173, Akarma ‎? AK 312

Vinyl, LP

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to sheavy for the last updates
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THIRD EAR BAND The Magus ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THIRD EAR BAND The Magus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Although this is a posthumous release , this was to be the next album after the McBeth soundtrack. But this is easily IMHO , their most accessible record and all tracks are SUNG if you can believe it (previously even vocalizing was rarely done) and this brings a whole new dimension to TEB.

This does not mean that they abandoned thei dronal medieval music feel at all , though but it did bring in that psychadelic touch that was absent since Alchemy and their past as psych band The Giant Sun Trolley and later on The Hydrogen Jukebox. Long dronal grooves allowing for plenty of soloing on wind instruments and some improvisation. Overall , this is a very even album with no weak tracks but The Key and The Phoenix as highlights. The title tracks ends in a flurry of electronics sound that would descibe their vision of the Apocalypse.

Easily their most accessible album.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The lost 4th album

Simon House recalls his time recording with the TEB in their Basing Street studio: "Upon opening the door, my eyes, ears, and nose would be simultaneously assailed by plumes of sweet hashish smoke, entwined with tirades of Paul's oboe notes..As Ron's wicked spliff did its worst, I would join the others, take out my violin, switch on the VCS3 and start making sounds, ancient and modern with equal abandon, as we sailed off into the night exploring uncharted reaches of music..we only managed to do these few (songs) before fate would have its inexorable way and 30 years would flash by." [Simon House]

As Simon alludes to, this project stalled in the early 70s and it was decades before their proper 4th album surfaced. On this one the band has opened up the sound with more traditional sounding vocals and a wider array of instruments, including electronics. Because of this the sound occasionally veers into early Popul Vuh territory with trance music and electronic sounds. There's still plenty of droning including now in the lifeless vocals. Other parts are much more successful, some of the instrumental work quite wonderful. Listen to the lovely recorder work in "The Hierophant" or the violin on "The Key." While some point out this work is less weird and more accessible it is precisely that reason I would not choose it if you decide to sample TEB. Get "Alchemy" instead which gives you the purer and more vibrant dose of what this group was about. "The Magus" is nice for fans of the group but it is not TEB at their progressive peak. Frankly they sound a bit low on spark here if you ask me. The booklet does have a nice bio however. "Alchemy" is their finest and most important work in my opinion and perhaps a star better than I rated it. 5/10

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Though I never have grown as a huge fan of Third Ear Band, some charm from their earlier records had lured my thoughts enough still, making me want to skim their discography for any ancient minimalist droning or scarce beautiful sequences make me to understand their tale more deeper. With this album one is able to witness the final moments of their 1960's/1970's line-up, recorded after the "Macbeth" soundtrack, and released postponed after thirty years. Most radical changes in their sound for the earlier records heard are in my opinion heavier presence of electronics via Simon House's VCS3's, deeper emphasis for clumsy vocals of Mike Marchant and more solid rhythmic presence from the beat of Glen Sweeney's drum set, these factors locating the music more powerfully to the rock-music context from their earlier more acoustic tonal prayers. However Paul Minns' oboe sings still its recognizable joyless song, echoing with archaic power of ancient pagan history. These familiar events blended to the electronic rhythmic approach make some songs radiate slightly similar fuzzy vibrations as Hawkwind's cosmic explorations did; as for example the weird treatments of vocals on the title track are quite powerful with their surreal appearance. The singing voice is a factor which slightly disturbed my own listening experience, fitting most suitably to recital upon atavist textures of "The Phoenix". Though the album is not a huge monolith of aural revelation for me, I believe it is still a document of honest personalities, searching their own way from these notes of the underground. If the tracks were done more on guidance of tarot cards and spliff inhaling, it is not maybe surprising that the atmosphere and individual choices will be more dominant on compositions than lengthily matured, focused musical constructions. The album booklet has a quite definite history of the group and member's interviews, some of these giving strong impact for my orientation of observing this group from the human perspective, making the music appear more powerfully as rustic history documentations of these fellows' life from the flower power days than conventional music enjoyment.
Review by kenethlevine
5 stars For every hundred-ish long unreleased archival recordings deemed lost classics, perhaps one can claim that honour. Recorded in 1972 yet lovingly sequestered for 32 years by THIRD EAR BAND piano/percussion and sound man Ron Kort until it was finally liberated, "The Magus" is that authentic artifact. Some sources imply that it was initially instantiated as "Prophecies" in 1991, but their only similarities lie in their vocal orientation, which makes them anomalies in the "Third Ear Band" discography.

Gone are the raga inspired lattices of earlier works, and, while Mike Marchant's DONOVAN meets ROBIN WILLIAMSON voice does assume lead, the oboe and recorder of Paul Minns, the violin of Simon House, and the drums of Glen Sweeny swirl about Marchant's fiercely lyrical narratives, vying for attention without a hint of clutter or selfishness. Synthesizer is introduced as organically as its acoustic cousins. The meters of the songs are most hypnotic, materializing as incantations, offering a glancing nod back to the band's origins.

Apart from the unfettered urgency of the delivery and the virtuosity of the players, "The Magus" is even more striking for the list of bands it could have influenced, and I say could have because herein lies the blueprints for punk, industrial, dark wave and neo folk music to name a few genres that didn't really exist at the time of recording. Yet all were well underway and, in some cases, interred, before "The Magus" appeared. In particular, I want to cite DEAD CAN DANCE and CURRENT 93 as would be benefactors. It's true that THIRD EAR BAND too claim influences, among them the Krautrock and the "Lizard/Islands" period of KING CRIMSON particularly in how they capitalize on flourishes of the wind instruments. But this is very much a sui generis of prog folk. It might be a challenge for fans of their early work to adapt to what is laid down here, which is deceptively accessible yet stratified with the same perfectionism that marked those earlier projects.

Where uniformity of mood and multifariousness paradoxically mingle, all 8 tracks are luminous, but I want to especially underscore the Native American sounding "Hierophant", the apocalyptic title cut, and the poetry and music of "The Phoenix". But "The Magus" is an opus, and any over emphasis on one part is mere distraction. Therein lies its wisdom.

Latest members reviews

3 stars THIS IS WHERE YOU COME FOR STUFF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD BEFORE (NOT NEO- PROG!) Have you ever ever heard of a movie called 'Dude, where's my moog?' ? (yes the two question marks are necessary!) No? Oh come on! Everyone's seen that one! Nup????? Oh well, I'll explain. There's a modern day neo-p ... (read more)

Report this review (#377474) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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