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The Necks Vinyl, CD & tapes by The Necks at Norman Records

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The Necks
Mindset

Releasing sixteen albums is an achievement in itself. What’s impressive about Mindset, the latest soiree into improvised musical from those wonderful Australians The Necks, is that it shows that the band are still looking to expand their sound more than 25 years after they kicked things off. The two lengthy piano-bass-drum swells that each make up a side of Mindset draw from Sun Ra, Chick Corea, Alice Coltrane and so much more without ever sounding much like any of them.

The Necks
Body

You know how the Necks do. Wake up. Get the coffee on. Simultaneously improvise instrumental gold. Another day. The wonderful and surprisingly dense Unfold was their last record and it came out on LP; now in typical Necks fashion they're releasing a CD only called Body, relying on the usual and ever-so trusty combination of piano, bass and drums -- though percussionist Tony Buck is said to really go out on a limb with some guitar excursions on this one. 

The Necks
Unfold

Noisy improv icons The Necks return with a double vinyl LP on Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ label. Unfold sees the band continuing their experiments with absurdist jazz and genre-mangling instrumental forms, with each of the four sides containing a single track of incredible, avant-garde improvisation.

Tony Buck
Unearth

It's been fifteen long years since we last heard solo work from Tony Buck. Having spent a long time working as the clairvoyant drummer in improvisational noise trio the Necks, it may be a surprise to many that he has strong compositional chops. The appropriately titled Unearth reveals his secret musical language through use of found sound, electronics and even guitars, offering another sporadic slab of Necks-related ambience. Fans of Buck's colleague Chris Abrahams and his recent room40 record would be wise to investigate.

The Necks
Hanging Gardens

The seventh LP from The Necks gets reissued. This Australian trio have a habit of making records that are a single piece of music, and 1999’s Hanging Gardens is one of these. It’s a busy, quicksilver slab of post-jazz that is kind of comparable to the stuff Radiohead, Fridge and The Bad Plus were doing at around the same time. Like other hour-long, single-track records - we’re looking at you, Dopesmoker - Hanging Gardens has a bit of hypnotic quality to it as well.

The Necks
Open

Aussie jazz stalwarts The Necks drop their umpteenth LP. On Open we find the trio in peerless form. The album consists of a single 68-minute-long work that hovers at the edges of experimental/free jazz - specifically the points where it meets musique concrete, electronic composition and post-rock. Rocketnumbernine, Oval and The Books are very rough touchstones, but really this is the work of a band in a league of its own.

The Necks
Silverwater

Word of something new from The Necks always causes a flurry of excitement in these parts. For many years now the Australian trio have consistently created genre-defying records of great beauty. Silverwater is no exception. In classic Necks fashion this album features a single piece of music that is roughly an hour in length. Along the way it nods to Steve Reich’s Music For Eighteen Musicians, astral jazz, Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert and so much more without really sounding like anything else out there. Silverwater is another casual masterpiece from this singular group.

The Necks
Aether

Alright, wind yer Necks in. No need to get shirty with us, especially when we’ve got this gem of a reissue for you. The Necks’ LP Aether has been pretty hard to locate in the years since it first came out back in 2001, but this new RER Megacorp edition gives new life to the album. Ostensibly a sort of free-/post-jazz trio, this record finds The Necks casting off in the general direction of ambient and drone. That said though, it’s not actually ambient or drone. It’s … hard to describe, but it’s very gorgeous.

The Necks
Vertigo

Vertigo is album number 18 for Australian jazz trio, The Necks. They like to take a simple idea and allow it to develop organically through improvisation. They don’t know where they’re going when they set off but they always seem to get there. Their music is very human, it allows room for space, it’s ambiguous allowing the listener to interpret it in their own way.

The Necks
Townsville

The imperious Necks with their fourteenth LP here, and the fourth one that the Australian free music trio have taped live. As is customary on the band’s albums, Townsville consists of one long piece of improvisation. Recorded at a 2007 concert, the band lock into trancelike post-minimalist grooves here that are also shaded by free and avant jazz. It is transcendent stuff. There really is no-one like The Necks.

The Necks
Chemist

The Necks deviate from their usual formula on thirteenth LP Chemist. Rather than consisting of a single long improvisation, this record is chopped up into three chunks which are all about twenty minutes in length. Each track on Chemist allows the trio to tackle a different mood - ‘Buoyant’ is a strange, smoky thing that recalls Miles Davis’ electric era, ‘Abillera’ indulges the band’s interest in ambient and post-rock, and the free ‘Fatal’ draws on John Coltrane and The Bad Plus.
  • Artist(s):
  • The Necks

The Necks
See Through/ Mosquito

Bumper collection from peerless Australian trio The Necks here. This double-disc set contains not one but two new LPs from the group. As is often the case with The Necks, both See Through and Mosquito are full-lengths made up of a single hour-long piece. The way the band delves into the worlds of musique concrete, free music, post-minimalist composition and spiritual jazz is unique and frequently beautiful.
  • Artist(s):
  • The Necks

The Necks
The Boys

The Necks’ sixth LP, 1998’s The Boys, was also the band’s first go at scoring a film. We’ve not watched the flick in question (though seeing as it stars Faramir aka David Wenham we’re inclined to give it a shot) we can tell you that The Necks’ soundtrack is mighty fine. As usual this incomparable and beautiful free-/post-jazz from the improvisatory trio. Anyone daunted by the long tomes of The Necks’ other LPs might find the comparatively shorter numbers on The Boys an easier route of access into the band’s discography.