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Jazz Articles


The Necks: Vertigo

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Permit me a moment on a soapbox. Improvisation is merely a process, just as composition is a process. It is simply a way to organize sound. There are no imperatives, no agendas. Just spontaneity and interaction. Contrary to what's been drilled into your head over the years, improvisation doesn't necessitate “harsh" or “abrasive" sounds. In the early days of freely improvised jazz, harsh and abrasive sounds were common currency as the development of the style was steeped in the energy ...


The Necks: Vertigo

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The Necks don't swing. Since they are sometimes described as an “experimental jazz trio," it seems best to just put that on the table at the outset. I hesitate to call their music “free improvisation," as well, because of the abrasive, dissonant qualities so often found in that music--which doesn't describe The Necks at all. What this Australian group does is collectively create soundscapes that change and grow, but very slowly and gently. It's no accident that ambient pioneer Brian ...


The Necks at Cafe Oto

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The Necks Cafe Oto London October 8, 2014 It is always a good sign when the imposing windows of Cafe Oto are misted up. If one could see through the condensation, if one could, with just one finger, remove the minuscule droplets amassed on the vertical plains, one would almost invariably spot fine music in the making. A woman, glass of red wine in hand, explains to her neighbour that, yes, this ...


Lloyd Swanton: The Necks Trust Each Other to Not Push the Music Too Fast

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The Australian jazz--improv--jam trio The Necks has been active for quarter century. Consisting of drummer Tony Buck, bassist Lloyd Swanton and keyboardist Chris Abrahams, The Necks' members are all seasoned jazzers who approach the trio's music rather differently. Drawing inspiration from electronica, systems music and rock, the Necks have reshaped the role of the jazz keyboard thus improvising with textures and space rather than just notes and chords. Characteristically, their performances are lengthy and their records often consist of one ...


The Necks at the Bishopsgate Institute

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The Necks Bishopsgate Institute London March 21, 2014 The Necks live are a different beast to their studio incarnation. In the studio the mixing desk becomes almost a fourth member of the band with, using the recent Open album as an example, contributions being faded in and out or panned across the stereo image to enhance and fine tune the soundscape. Live, however, you get the full visceral experience unmitigated by clever production and, in ...


The Necks: Open

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Not many artists would respond favourably to a question on how they felt about audience members falling asleep in one of their performances. The Necks, however, are not like other bands--bass player Lloyd Swanton quipping in a recent interview that “I have no objection to audience members sleeping, as long as they don't snore and wake up the person next to them!." The question was put to the band during a discussion of the best state to listen ...


The Necks: Open

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Listening to a recording by the Australian trio The Necks is akin to over- hearing a conversation between two giant sequoia trees. While humans might not perceive the growth and movement of the trees, mom and pop Sequoiadendron giganteum might comment, “Little Billy sure has sprouted up these past 400 years, he's outgrown all his school clothes, again!" Open is the 17th album by pianist Chris Abrahams, drummer Tony Buck and bassist Lloyd Swanton. The band returns to ...


The Necks: Manchester, England, September 15, 2012

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The NecksBand On The WallManchesterSeptember 15, 2012The Necks is one of those rare and ingenious bands that has consistently made the role of the critic wonderfully obsolete. Since the group's inception in the late '80s and across 20 albums, this Australian trio has deftly maneuvered out of any pigeonhole ascribed to them--whether it be the reductive term “Post-Rock" or the ludicrous early noughties marketing tag “nu-jazz," communicating The Necks' sound has always been a difficulty ...

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