Exposé Online banner

Masque — Third Ear/Third Eye
(Belle 9734, 1997, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-01-01

Third Ear/Third Eye Cover art

Third Ear/Third Eye is this brazen Japanese quintet's first CD release (following a couple of cassette releases in the late 80s, plus contributions to the Canterbury Edge and Jazz Rock sampler compilations). It can easily be divided into three distinct group sections based on line-up: the Third Ear Side, Third Eye Side, and two bonus tracks. The band occupies a middle ground between Brand X, Gong, and King Crimson. One second they're pounding your head with some gnarly lick, then suddenly switching into to a classy fusion motif. The album's opener "H.T.P." contains an almost sickly odd meter loss within a walking bass line and brash sax leads, which changes after a few bars (and giggles). "Sanchos in Your Head" is an offsetting acoustic piece with sampled female vocal interjections, and whistles in a whimsical mode that fade into a traditional flute melody. These guys definitely have an amusing, anecdotal style to their arrangements. "Shyoku Shyoku" is an improvised piece which could metaphorically be described as Crimson meeting Gong by collision on a freeway marked by no survivors. The Third Eye Side is characterized by a guest female voice (Waiea), followed by five more songs of a similar approach, but less aggressive. The last two pieces date from a previous 1985 session with different personnel. The longest piece is "4383," which is a fade-in ambient, two hammer-on soundscape with alternating leads which evolves into a dissonant group improvisation. The album's closer, "Broken Space," starts with an unsettling backwards tape loop which shuffles between right channel and left. I have to admit I'm impressed by how well this all fits together, considering time delays and musician interchangeability. Although the cover art is offensive, don't flinch at a chance to find a clear choice from this notable band and label.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Masque

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Peter Frohmader & Fuchs-Gamböck - Das Ist Alles – German rock journalist Michael Fuchs-Gamböck and Peter Frohmader met at a Faust concert in 1997. Their mutual interest in Krautrock and experimental music led to a lasting friendship and now a...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues