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.
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- Unearth by Tony Buck
9/10 Ant Staff review, 31 August 2017
Tony Buck is the stickman from cult Australian experimental jazz trio The Necks. He’s a busy chap outside of The Necks, a frequent collaborator (John Butcher, Axel Dörner, Fennesz, Magda Mayas et al.) but this is the first solo work we’ve heard from the man in fifteen years.
‘Unearth’ is an absolutely immense longform piece clocking in at a little over fifty minutes. Having said that, once immersed, all sense of time appears to dissolve. Apparently created over the period of a year, it’s positively loaded with dynamics - as though he has compressed his experiences/emotions during that one year period and distilled them into a single piece. Like Willy Wonka’s three course meal in a single small candy. Despite the fact its clearly been painstakingly constructed, it never feels overworked and flows magnificently - you’d be forgiven for thinking this could have been an improvised work with a few extra collaborative hands rather than layering/overdubbing. Although he keeps things way tighter and more concise here. The overall mood is tantalisingly dark, with skittering percussion that feels truly alive, as though it were playing itself, and the flourishes of crepuscular guitar are at once serene and unsettling. Things subtly develop with a shivering intensity, with a brief detour into an almost exotic dreamlike passage, before returning full force, deep into the night with a dense, intricate wall of deliciously black psychedelia. Masterful and often breathtaking stuff…. and breathe.
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