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Necks, The: Townsville

This is a live recording from Thuringowa Australia made in February 2007. The Necks method of making music is just about pure improvisation with a minimalist atmospheric base. Adopting an approach which has been tried by a number of artists before them on occasions such as Keith Jarrett and Brian Eno, the band's music floats in front of you, like the ocean on the Queensland coastal town from which the album is named and which is a pleasant reminder of the embarkation point for my one and only trip to the Barrier Reef. Delicately pasted cymbals accompany dreamy piano chords in the opening sequence as the band members build the organic musical relationship which surrounds their 20 years together.

Indeed the music itself has some of the reef's qualities the undulating piano like gentle waves washing you to and for as you hover over the myriad coral forms and shades; the impression of depth in the distance from the stuttering bass as the walls fall away at the reef's edge; the piano gradually becoming more playful like a darting clown anemone fish; the more hesitant bass and drums like a parrot fish or wrasse feeding warily from the coral itself. This music would certainly have been more appropriate then the drum'n'bass which the idiot on the boat used as background to my take-away video memento!

At somewhere around the 18 minute mark a cello joins the instruments adding richness and solidity whilst the ebbs and flows of piano become more assertive. Somehow the imagery from here becomes more glacial than marine, the trickling ice of the piano cascades while lumbering cello chords suggest pent up power and slow release, like meltwater. Minor keys aid the evoked vision of water pooling and spilling over into new runs. Despite the slow development and the ambient nature of the music, it doesn't seem overly mesmeric but always retains an organic 'alive' feel. At the 30 minute mark, the percussion thickens and something of a more pronounced rhythm develops and by four fifths of the album the musicians are so together the music now seems almost composed Fripp And Eno's No Pussyfooting album is recalled.

The album ends as it started, slowly dissolving like a great boat or whale disappearing into the mists, almost a spiritual experience. Bassist Lloyd Swanton, who provided the lead figure for the work, says he, Abrahams and Buck can never predict the course their music will take. Well, the Necks may not know where they are going when they get up on stage, but they sure seem to know what they are doing. Be warned though that, at 50 minutes, this slowly evolving work is not for the impatient.

Track Listing
1. Townsville

Added: January 24th 2008
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: ReR Megacorp USA
Hits: 1786
Language: english

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