New Necks

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Just received the latest releases by Aussie drone minimalist jazz maestros The Necks.

"Photosynthetic" is another live recording, this time from Russia, on a Russian label. It's possibly the dullest live disc they've ever released. And this includes the completely inessential "Aetheneum" and "Homebush" from last year's box set. I can only assume that it's to be treated as a document of a night in a place they don't normally play but it was one of those occassions where the band don't connect and show little inventiveness.

"Drive By" is another matter entirely. It's a studio piece and follows the path of one of their masterpieces "Hanging Garden" : each player seems to get 2 or more tracks to allow drones and chords supplemented by faster accents. About 20 mins in and another beautifull chord progression rises out of the sound floor. Buy it now.

phil turnbull (philT), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 08:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Magic - Looking forward to hearing "Drive by". Hanging gardens was one of last years best releases by anyone (it only appeared in the uk last year). Have u listened to their online concert here phil?

i think part 2 of this is at least as good as anything they have released commercially.

jed (jed_e_3), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 13:57 (sixteen years ago) link

thanks for the link - will listen whenever bloody real player gets going.

phil turnbull (philT), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 20:46 (sixteen years ago) link

yes, that piece on the bbc is lovely, quite different to anything i've heard of theirs. not so much droning and fantastic percussion throughout.

phil turnbull (philT), Wednesday, 12 November 2003 01:18 (sixteen years ago) link

one month passes...
oh yes - "Drive By" is great if not quite as good (yet) as "Sex" or "Hanging Gardens".

Guardian article for anyone who is interested (almost no one).

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 10 January 2004 00:35 (sixteen years ago) link

when i say "yet" i mean that literally - im only 30 minutes into my first listen.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 10 January 2004 00:37 (sixteen years ago) link

two years pass...
I have finally bought my first Necks CD, after reading about them for years & liking the sound of them. 'Chemist' has three 20 minute tracks instead of the usual 1 hour long piece & I'm liking it a lot.

It's spacious, but focussed. Reminds me of Talk Talk a lot. What should I get next?

bham (bham), Tuesday, 29 August 2006 08:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Seawards, by Sickoakes, is very Talk-Talk/Bark Psychosis...sans vocals...

as for the Necks, get "Drive-by"...their finest hour (literally speaking)...

hank (hank s), Tuesday, 29 August 2006 12:40 (thirteen years ago) link

Drive-By is decent but the percussion is horribly plodding and it seems rather aimless. i'd recommend almost anything else over that one.

jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 29 August 2006 20:41 (thirteen years ago) link

hmph...I've always found "Drive-By" to be reminiscent of a good round of sex...guess that explains why I'm single!

hank (hank s), Wednesday, 30 August 2006 01:27 (thirteen years ago) link

Drive-By is by far my fav by them. it also reminds me of sex!

ryan (ryan), Wednesday, 30 August 2006 01:57 (thirteen years ago) link

Get Aether. Or Sex. Or Mosquito/See Through. Or Hanging Gardens. Or Piano Bass Drums. Or whatever, it's pretty much all wondrous.

These Robust Cookies (Robust Cookies), Wednesday, 30 August 2006 05:01 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

I didn't know about this one before the Wire's end of year list:

Has anyone heard it?

toby, Thursday, 20 December 2007 13:09 (twelve years ago) link

it's good...totally different from their other stuff, but still unmistakably the Necks...back to the one-long-song format...a little less hypnotic than, say, Drive-By, but it's very twinkly/chiming/glassy...stellar as usual...

henry s, Thursday, 20 December 2007 14:17 (twelve years ago) link

four months pass...

so is anyone going to see them at the vortex in london?

cw, Friday, 9 May 2008 09:29 (eleven years ago) link

i'm going to see them at the city halls in glasgow.

jed_, Friday, 9 May 2008 11:17 (eleven years ago) link

i'm off live music but i have waited a long time to see them.

here's the current tour, starts in glasgow.

City Halls, Recital Room

Box office (+44) 0141 353-8000

The Sage Gateshead

Box Office (+44) 0191 443 4661

Tues 13 NORWICH,
Arts Centre

Box Office: (+44) 01603 660352

Manic Organic at Brighton Dome

The Cube

Arts Centre

Box Office: (+44) 01206 500 900

Mon &

19/ 20 LONDON,
Vortex Jazz Club


FEW TICKETS LEFT - standing only

Monday 19th
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL - one set only
Tickets: £9.00
Doors from 10.30 pm

Cafe/bar downstairs serving pre-gig espresso and black sambuca shots: or come earlier for dinner.
Showing films by Tony Buck


Box Office: (+44) 020 7254 4097

Or -
and search on "The Necks"

Philharmonic Hall

Box Office: (+44) 0151 709 3789

jed_, Friday, 9 May 2008 11:19 (eleven years ago) link

sigh...they never seem to play in the States...

henry s, Friday, 9 May 2008 12:51 (eleven years ago) link

New Necks is one of my secret band/album names!

G00blar, Friday, 9 May 2008 13:06 (eleven years ago) link

six months pass...

hanging gardens is still one of the dopest records ever

some know what you dude last summer (Jordan), Tuesday, 25 November 2008 03:38 (eleven years ago) link

speaking of (Tony Buck), anyone heard the new Heaven And rec out on Staubgold? from what I ca tell on myspace it's pretty good. not really Necks-y but still interesting.

sonderangerbot, Tuesday, 25 November 2008 04:21 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

anyone going to see them in bath? tempted to make the trip...bargain for a tenner too.

Phelan Nulty (Local Garda), Monday, 16 May 2011 11:31 (eight years ago) link

I'd love to see them but the location and timing isn't great. This mention here isn't on the website and looks better for me;

mmmm, Monday, 16 May 2011 13:04 (eight years ago) link

yeah that is better...would prob have to stay in bath by time gig is over.

Phelan Nulty (Local Garda), Monday, 16 May 2011 15:04 (eight years ago) link

anyone seen them live before? seems like it'd be good to have some chemical aid beforehand

Phelan Nulty (Local Garda), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:11 (eight years ago) link

I've seen them a few times, sober or on a couple of drinks, and you absolutely don't need anything to be swept away in delight or wonderment, or stop thinking at all and enjoy detached brain dancing at drones or rhythms. but if the surrounds are comfortable, seems like it'd be good is probably an entirely accurate estimation.

special midget status (sic), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:21 (eight years ago) link

Saw them last year at Big Ears 2 -- the trio, and also the three of them plus Ned Rothenberg. There was another concert involving an ad hoc group of players doing a Necks-like set, Tony Buck on drums. Highly recommended. I'd skip the chemicals, but that's just me.

Stomp! in the name of love (WmC), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:25 (eight years ago) link

xpost: and the "two sets with an intermission" duration of their shows would suit that, if you did try.

check the venue though. last time I saw them, this year, was in a jazz club where 80% of the couple of hundred capacity stand behind a railing by the bar, while a few dozen sit at dinner tables in 80% of the floorspace = prob not conducive. a few years back at ATP, they played in the afternoon sun, a meter from the harbour, where the entire audience bar 8 people* lay down on the trimmed lawn and let the piano roll through the ground = potential zomg.

*halfway through, one of these 8 hugging the stage turned around and saw the rest of us, tugged his mate's sleeve, and promptly sat cross-legged.

special midget status (sic), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:39 (eight years ago) link

yeah i mostly wouldn't bother with chems either these days, once a year maybe, but seems like you could have a bit of a transcendental experience with this band!

Phelan Nulty (Local Garda), Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:40 (eight years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Played Drive By at our record club last night; went down very well. Just bought Mosquito / See Through too; every time I play a Necks album for the first time in a while, I end up buying another one.

lol sickmouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 07:03 (eight years ago) link–-drive-by-–-round-10-nick’s-choice/

lol sickmouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 13:26 (eight years ago) link

three months pass...

anyone going to the gig next month at THE BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE, whatever that is

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Sunday, 9 October 2011 11:41 (eight years ago) link

I opted for the date in Oxford at "The oldest custom-built concert hall in Europe"

Super Receptor (Barnaby, Hardly), Sunday, 9 October 2011 11:55 (eight years ago) link

Anybody fancy Leeds on November 25th?

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 9 October 2011 12:40 (eight years ago) link

yeah I'm going to both the London dates.

toby, Sunday, 9 October 2011 12:47 (eight years ago) link

Harold Budd and Werner Dafeldecker should be great at those non-London shows, wish i could catch this tour.

master musicians of jamiroquai (NickB), Sunday, 9 October 2011 13:36 (eight years ago) link

Probably will go to the Bishopsgate Institute one, just making sure I am in town for the date.

mmmm, Sunday, 9 October 2011 17:40 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

How is Mindset? Been on a serious kick but I think I prefer the more 'live' sounding, less overdubbed stuff, like Sex and Piano Bass Drum, though I've yet to hear an album by this group I dislike. Still, wondering if the new one is worth a plunge, given that I find Drive By a little too maximalist and Aether a little too sleepy. Their records are expensive in the States.

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Sunday, 1 April 2012 00:09 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

these dudes are nothing if not consistent -- the new one is totally gorgeous.

tylerw, Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:10 (six years ago) link

yes! they might be my favorite band going.

has anyone heard any of these side projects?

ryan, Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:35 (six years ago) link

Don't know any of those but I can highly recommend Buck's project with Martin Siewert and Steve Heather, Heaven And (not listed there).

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:38 (six years ago) link

Can't wait to hear the new one.

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Thursday, 26 September 2013 16:26 (six years ago) link

Yeah thanks for the heads-up

Brakhage, Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:41 (six years ago) link

What is the name of the new album?

crowhurst, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:04 (six years ago) link


tylerw, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:06 (six years ago) link

The Wire seemed to really like it. I'm just glad it's on a US label so I don't have to pay like $28 for this one.

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Thursday, 26 September 2013 21:29 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

Open is out today and let me repeat myself: it is totally gorgeous.

tylerw, Tuesday, 12 November 2013 17:45 (six years ago) link

Yeah I listened to that a bunch of times when it was streaming. It is a cool journey for sure, gotta track down more by this band. My kinda thing.

grandavis, Tuesday, 12 November 2013 18:07 (six years ago) link

yeah it's really good. I think it's important to listen loud. playing softly in the background you might thing it just passed on by and nothing happened.

ryan, Tuesday, 12 November 2013 18:27 (six years ago) link

Loud, this thing is amazing. On headphones, another experience entirely.

I can still taste the Taboo in my mouth when I hear those songs (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 12 November 2013 21:44 (six years ago) link

yeahhhh, at points it almost sounds like the necks meet bernard hermann

tylerw, Thursday, 4 May 2017 14:45 (two years ago) link

You can watch the whole of the Necks performance (w/ orchestra) at Tectonics Glasgow here:

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Monday, 8 May 2017 18:00 (two years ago) link

This is so how I expected. 1 id, 1 ego, 1 superego is enough.

No one is THAT ackbar (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 9 May 2017 01:49 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

are we allowed to comment on this piece?

scott seward, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 21:50 (two years ago) link

Comment away! (The Lab in SF, which Dyer talks about throughout, is where I saw them earlier this year.)

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 21:53 (two years ago) link

i changed my mind. i choose not to comment.

i should check and see if the necks are on spotify. i never see their CDs anywhere.

scott seward, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 22:05 (two years ago) link

I couldn't stand The Colour of Memory 20 years ago, and also can't stand reading him on The Necks either. Sorry, I know this is a pretty lame "hot take" or whatever. I will shut up now.

calzino, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 22:20 (two years ago) link

It is the inverse of writing that makes you want to listen to good music in that it puts you off instead.

calzino, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 22:30 (two years ago) link

well, me anyways. I'll stfu and go away now.

calzino, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 22:31 (two years ago) link

I detected, so far back in the mix it seemed to have leaked through the inadequate sound proofing of a neighboring sound system, the faint bleed of funk

calzino OTM

prelude to abjection (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 4 October 2017 23:08 (two years ago) link

yeah, see, i was trying to be nice. i don't know the writer's work. but it reads like an extra-long blog post and makes me wish that editors still existed.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 12:50 (two years ago) link

i mean you could cut it in half and have a good editor work with that writer and you could make it a LOT better. also i'm just sensitive to sweeping statements about jazz. stuff like this:

"Now the claim made frequently on behalf of free playing is that everyone solos all the time."

this is just not anything i have ever heard anyone say. free playing is great! everyone solos all the time!

maybe i'm just too critical.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 13:00 (two years ago) link

Yeah, the nearest thing I can think of to his "everyone solos all the time" is Joe Zawinul's comment abt Weather Report - "“We always solo, we never solo“ - and I'm sure even a nitwit like Geoff Dyer would recognise that they were not a 'free playing' group.

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 5 October 2017 13:13 (two years ago) link

There were two recent longform pieces by Adam Shatz on Mal Waldron + Craig Taborn which I thought were great. And they made me want to listen to the artists again, without getting too pseudy, with an added appreciation of them of sorts or summat like that! I think a good editor would tell Dyer to not be such a bad writer or just give up the game!

calzino, Thursday, 5 October 2017 13:56 (two years ago) link

i thought that craig taborn thing was too long too. and tried too hard to make him this inscrutable and mysterious genius. he likes indie rock! but he makes jazz! who is he really?? i guess the music i had heard of his in the past never seemed that mysterious to me.

i am all for people wanting to hear jazz after reading something though. and i did read the whole thing. but it was really long. and it just seemed like he led the modern jazz life and that is not usually that exciting a life to read about.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:19 (two years ago) link

I think Taboorn + Maldron are inscrutable and mysterious geniuses, or is that genii? Fuck knows, I'd be a sorry excuse for a music critic - so I'll shut up!

calzino, Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:33 (two years ago) link

you don't have to shut up. i wasn't trying to shut you up. that was just my reaction to the taborn piece.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:51 (two years ago) link

I don't understand how anyone could find Craig Taborn's music mysterious or hard-to-embrace unless they were actively trying to do so. Mal Waldron I've never really dived into, but what I have heard is...a 1950s jazz player who gets a little adventurous sometimes? I mean, half the time he's playing standards anyway. I guess if you're a piano player Mal Waldron is doing some otherworldly shit, but if you're just a listener he's...fine.

The Necks, I don't really get. I kind of prefer their latest album because the pieces are 15 minutes long instead of an hour, but honestly most of their stuff could be on ECM without scaring anybody.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:09 (two years ago) link

I'm suffering from an OD of "hot takes" here, Unperson! You should check Maldron's The Call out.

calzino, Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:29 (two years ago) link

i've been listening to this album a lot lately:

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:13 (two years ago) link

he made lots of excellent records in the 70's. the stuff he did with steve lacy is really cool if you like steve lacy. i like that album with gary peacock a lot too.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:15 (two years ago) link

Waldron was the first release on ECM iirc, got that one

The Walter Mittyville Horror (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:20 (two years ago) link

Hard Talk. i like that one. live. euro dudes + lacy. i dunno, he's on/made a ton of good records past the 50's. there is a lot to listen to.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:21 (two years ago) link

Free At Last absolutely rules, and yep it is ECM no1!

calzino, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:32 (two years ago) link

The Quest
his twin piano trio w/ Archie Shepp - Three For Freedom
his plays Satie

These are some of my favourite things!

calzino, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:35 (two years ago) link

i heard tony buck has a solo album out -- has anyone heard it? i am curious about it but not enough to spend money just yet.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:44 (two years ago) link

i looked up their individual stuff and they have all played with 50 groups i've never heard of. it's a big little world out there. i'm not that up on 90's/2000's stuff though.

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:47 (two years ago) link

(and 90's/2000's australia would be a big black hole for me as far as this kind of thing goes...)

scott seward, Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:51 (two years ago) link

there is always something new to discover
that's why we're here :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:57 (two years ago) link

i would welcome recommendations for necks side projects (esp tony buck-based) ones if anyone has them

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:57 (two years ago) link

heard tony buck has a solo album out -- has anyone heard it? i am curious about it but not enough to spend money just yet.

Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus was good

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:59 (two years ago) link

Peril was his "main" band for a good while there

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Thursday, 5 October 2017 17:00 (two years ago) link

check him out! old 1991 neck

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 5 October 2017 19:32 (two years ago) link

Ach, I like Geoff Dyer. I get why that phenomenological transcribing of music might be regarded as pointless and superfluous but as it stands, i think he does it well. Some of the passages about Monk in But Beautiful are extraordinary.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 6 October 2017 16:50 (two years ago) link

he can obviously write it just needed a good editor. take this paragraph out, shorten this, move this up, move this down. that's how i felt reading it anyway. usually i don't feel that way reading the NYT even at this late date. someone on my facebook loved the first paragraph so much. that's why i clicked on it.

scott seward, Friday, 6 October 2017 17:38 (two years ago) link

I totally mourn the loss of good editors, but in Dyer's defence that verbosity and perfromative lack of self consciousness are part of his shtick so it didn't grate on me too much.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 6 October 2017 18:57 (two years ago) link

ten months pass...

Given both the details of today's Pitchfork review and the truly abysmal 90s cover art, safe to say this is the first Necks album I am not champing at the bit to hear

I'll still buy it, of course

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 13 August 2018 13:27 (one year ago) link

the cover art is the best thing about it imo

ANU (sisilafami), Monday, 13 August 2018 15:15 (one year ago) link

this is very nice so far! Not read p4k or looked at the album cover yet tho! How much thrills 'n' spills you expect out of this Necks album shouldn't be judged out of isolation from how you much you liked their last 19 albums!

calzino, Monday, 13 August 2018 21:05 (one year ago) link

i hate the guitar

ANU (sisilafami), Monday, 13 August 2018 21:34 (one year ago) link

hm, i had hoped the era of guitar on necks records ("chemist"-era?) had passed... it always felt a bit corny and out-of-place to me

umsworth (emsworth), Monday, 13 August 2018 21:42 (one year ago) link

I left it playing in the kitchen and had to go out, and when I come back, it was after the guitar bit. And rewinding back didn't seem right. i'll try it another day!

calzino, Monday, 13 August 2018 22:01 (one year ago) link

see what you were driving at now, definitely not a classic vintage of Necks!

calzino, Tuesday, 14 August 2018 09:13 (one year ago) link

This isn't quite the bummer I expected it to be, but that middle section definitely sounds like it could be any number of boring modern 'krautrock' inspired bands. Really liked the first 20 minutes, though, even if it is a bit Necks 101

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 14 August 2018 16:38 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

Anyone check out this collab with Underworld?

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 16:56 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah the Underworld fans like it, at least.

lukas, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:08 (eleven months ago) link

There's a touch of 'jazzy house' to it that's perhaps just this side of corny, but on the other hand it's cool to hear rhythmic Necks again. And I like how it starts fully electronic, brings them in, then slowly transitions to fully acoustic and eventually to rubato Neckisms.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:31 (eleven months ago) link

eleven months pass...

it must be great being in the necks, just like, vrrrrrrrrooooooommmm

j., Thursday, 13 February 2020 03:35 (two weeks ago) link

the consuming rattle of the opener, “Lovelock,” dedicated to the memory of Damien Lovelock, former frontman of The Celibate Rifles, is a weightless and atmospheric threnody that ruminates in the quiet and overwhelming moments of grief


Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Thursday, 13 February 2020 07:33 (two weeks ago) link

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