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The Necks: Three

Mark Sullivan By

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Live performances by Australian free-improvising trio The Necks typically take the form of a single, slowly growing and morphing mass of sound. On recordings the musicians give themselves permission to sculpt the sound, so it is not a real-time document. Nevertheless their two previous albums Vertigo (Northern Spy Records, 2015) and Body (Northern Spy Records, 2018) both presented a single long track apiece, paralleling their live practice. This time the program is broken into three parts, each with its own distinct atmosphere.

The set begins at a gallop with "Bloom." But Chris Abrahams' piano plays melodically in half time: eventually a synthesizer line becomes more prominent, sometimes in time with the rhythm section, sometimes floating above it. Like many of their improvisations it somehow manages to be busy and static at the same time. "Lovelock" begins sparsely, with Tony Buck's cymbal rolls, piano arpeggios and Lloyd Swanton's bass pedal point. It ebbs and flows (with snare rolls building to climaxes that never quite materialize), and organ chords thicken the texture.

In traditional terms, it is the ballad of the set. "Further" introduces a moderato modal feel, with a calm bass ostinato and melodic piano. The background texture includes organ and guitar. So it is the densest and most varied selection timbrally. A conventional album structure would have swapped "Further" and "Bloom:" moderato, slow, fast. But The Necks are rarely conventional, and Three makes its point in the band's own inimitable way.

Track Listing

Bloom; Lovelock; Further.

Personnel

The Necks: band/orchestra; Chris Abrahams: piano; Tony Buck: percussion; Lloyd Swanton: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: Three | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Northern Spy Records

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