The Tip-Off: The Necks

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Soundscape - Structure + Space = The Necks


“Improvisation is a compositional method.”

…so said Evan Parker, British Saxophonist and pivotal figure in the development of the European Free Jazz movement. Despite being prolific in that continental area of the genre, his words are ubiquitous with the larger, worldwide jazz community. 

If you go all the way to Sydney at the bottom of the rock, you’ll find another breed of musicians spawning a deeply complex form of experimental music that cross-pollinates with jazz, soundscape, minimal and noise.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are The Necks.


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‘Unfold’ (released in early 2017) is the band’s debut for Ideologic Organ, the avant label run by Stephen O’Malley of Sunn 0))) fame. It’s the perfect starting point for any newcomers to delve into the Neck’s weird world, before embarking on an illustrious and rewarding dive into the thirty-year back catalogue.

On ‘Unfold’, they do exactly that which is listed in the title. Each of the four pieces is a new direction, which seems to evolve and unfurl, before flattening and ironing out gently after the untangle. Their music blossoms and develops; over time, it builds a hypnotic obedience in the listener.

In previous years, releases have adopted a different format, and one long piece will often form the entire content of a record, encouraging the listener to experience the piece in it’s entirety. Tracks can last up to 45 minutes long, and the build in dynamic is so gradual that you become unaware of it’s non-transience. It mutates organically, and it’s as beautiful as it is equally frightening. You’re not sure where it’s moving to, but it takes it’s sweet time. Suspense is key in The Neck’s performances.

 

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Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck and Lloyd Stanton have each conjured their own reputations within Australian cult fandom over the years in Australia’s underground music scene. Despite associations and ties with a plethora of interesting other projects (such as Laughing Clowns, The Church, Peril, Dynamic Hepnotics, and many more), it’s The Necks that will remain their musical triumph, their most critically-challenging, diverse, and esoteric body of work.

 

You can find the band’s artist profile here.

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