3rd Ear Experience seems to be some kind of collective. The cover lists not less than 18 names of musicians that have collaborated on this album. Probably not all at the same time, but each of the tracks has its own sound, so most likely different people were involved. The group is from California. Robbi Robb is one of the members, and also the producer and mixer. The band has released several albums since 2012, most of them independent, so not via a record company. The band describes themselves as specialists at blending elements of psychedelic and space rock along with touches of prog, krautrock and world music.
But there are also elements of post rock. The slow build up and lengthy repetitions reminds of a band like Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Overall the sound very much reminds of The Spacious Mind, a Swedish collective that was mainly active in the 1990's.
Opening track Flight Of The Annunaki is a Hawkwind like instrumental space rock track, starting with spacy synths and gradually adding screaming guitars. The Old Women's Dance is an instrumental jam dominated by the organ and a didgeridoo in the back. Return Of The Peacock is also an instrumental jam, with a dominant role for the flute and organ. Chungo is more of an instrumental rock track that reminds of early Gong at first but gradually moving into Hawkwind. The Balladeer's Tale is a track with vocals. It's the most prog rock track, with influences of Pink Floyd's Echoes. With a beautiful spacy part in the middle. First with synths, but gradually the violin takes over. And then the guitar takes over from the violin. Space Tripping is a live track, also with some vocals and the title says it all. Space rock, with the emphasis on rock, back into Hawkwind territory.
Overall it is quite a diverse album. As a whole it is not so homogeneous. Not really renewing or entering unknown territories. But it has beautiful and magic moments. Especially the more quiet and spacy parts. For space rock and Hawkwind lovers I can recommend to check it out. It is available in digital format from their Bandcamp page.
***+ Erik Gibbels
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