As well as Chris Abrahams, the pianist in The Necks, this Berlin-centric ensemble features Rico Repontente, Derek Shirley, Steve Heather and Thomas Meadowcraft, all carefully tuned into each other and carving out cool minimal wonders. Frankly, you had me at Abrahams… The Still is released by Bronzerat.
9/10 Robin Staff review, 28 April 2016
The Still, I think, are liars. I’ve been doing my best impression of boring second-fiddle detective Lewis in investigating their history on the internet; their own press release claims they hold influence over every famous musician with the surname Young and takes credit for the world population boom. On further inspection, though, when I listen to the clue that is the band’s music (their debut album? Just one more thing…) I find nothing but minimalism. Lovely, lovely minimalism.
A collective based in Berlin but forged off different global tidbits, the Still is an avant-garde think tank comprised of free jazz old-schoolers; it counts Rico Repotente, Derek Shirley, Steve Heather and Thomas Meadowcraft among its numbers, as well as the Necks pianist Chris Abrahams, who recently released my favourite sound debris of the year. If you like improv that moves at its own personal rate of expansion, and experimental sounds that like to double up as housework music, then this one’s for you. It’s gorgeous, twilit music that empties the room and leaves it all for you, with each artist contributing clips of their instrument rather than its full work.
If you’ve seen the Necks live, you’ll know that Abrahams lays down a piano tune more in his brain than through his fingers -- he’s thinking about the response, feeling for entry points and exit stage lefts through the piecemeal information his band are giving him. The whole band seems to have that secret jedi mind trick here: each instrument is mindful of the other, each piano chord met with an ever-so-sly bass note, the guitar laid down as texture rather than lead. Call it a sprinkling of music. It’s a delightful record that lounges in contented silence the way best friends do. Ah, I love it when music is best friends.
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