The Necks: Vertigo

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
The Necks: Vertigo
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 Eno chose them to be part of his house band for his improvisational "Pure Scenius" concerts.

"Vertigo" is a single 44 minute long performance, a somewhat dark—yet inviting—forest of sound initially built around a drone running from start to finish. It begins quietly, gradually building up layers of Chris Abrahams' piano and keyboards, with atmospheric percussion and guitar commentary from Tony Buck, and Lloyd Swanton's throbbing bass. It splits in two at about the 21-minute mark, as the backdrop falls away to reveal Abrahams' solo electric piano, then begins a new layering process. Not exactly dramatic in the conventional sense, but it demonstrates that the band is shaping the performance: it's not the formless ambient cloud that it might first appear. Careful attention reveals myriad interesting sonic details, and that attention is amply rewarded.

As an LP-length piece, it's an album well-suited to the announced simultaneous LP vinyl record release. Without knowing if that was a factor in the recording process, it still strikes me as a useful playing time limitation. Long enough to immerse the listener, but not too long to overstay its welcome.

Track Listing



Chris Abrahams: piano, keyboards; Lloyd Swanton: bass; Tony Buck: drums, percussion, guitar.

Album information

Title: Vertigo | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Northern Spy Records

Post a comment about this album




View events near Sydney
Jazz Near Sydney
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon


Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Read Pollinator
Matt Ulery
Read Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet
Read Touch & Go
Touch & Go
Susan Tobocman
Read The Ilkley Suite
The Ilkley Suite
Jamil Sheriff
Read Moving Through Worlds
Moving Through Worlds
Fiona Joy Hawkins

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.