ALBUM REVIEW: The Necks – Vertigo

Rating7.5necks - vertigoIf you’re a fan of The Necks you already know what you’re in for – long improvised instrumental pieces of music that explore drone, repetition and texture. The trio deliver just that but this time the point of difference is the dark, unsettling mood and the subsequent feelings of tension and unease that it conjures up; across the shimmering drone of the first piece and the claustrophobic, haunting clatter of the second. This album also has a more cinematic vista, sharing many similarities with electronic composers like Ben Frost and Tim Hecker. Vertigo’s hypnotic movement and textural detail demands high volume attentive listening.

Chris Familton

LIVE REVIEW: The Necks @ The Basement, Sydney (13/02/13)

photo by Holimage

by Chris Familton

As far as experimental, improvised music goes The Necks are the masters of their craft, never playing the same set twice and composing and creating widescreen, emotionally rich music in the moment. The trio played two hour long sets at The Basement and even though the instrumentation remained the same (piano, drums, bass) the virtuosic talent and imagination of Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck and Lloyd Swanton ensured that they felt like two distinct pieces of music.

After a minute of silence as the trio readied themselves Abrahams initiated the first flurry of notes on the piano that were full and melodic. Swanton absorbed the tonality and sweep of sound before easing his bass into the music while minutes later Buck did the same using low trajectory, rattling snare rolls to unsettle and scrape up against the gentler sounds that preceded him. The pattern of the piece was an evolutionary one that began with a delicate ornate whisper and gradually grew to a sustained squall. The music rose and fell as the players advanced and retreated at different points but the feeling was always of forward movement and auditory travel. Defining moments in both the pieces came when Buck shifted from textural, background percussion that at times sounded like a clanging abandoned ship or creaking machinery to slightly more traditional drum behaviour. The kick drum beat a pulse and toms were incorporated and when combined with Swanton’s bass in the second set the effect was reminiscent of some of the darker, avant-garde electronic music of recent years with dark, vaguely ominous themes. Abrahams’ endlessly inventive work on the keys also impressed. From morse code sounding alien dispatches to rippling and billowing runs of notes he showed both exceptional endurance and imagination. Their music was both intellectual and physical, a immersive full body experience.

this review was first published in The Drum Media / The Music

NEWS: All Tomorrow’s Parties Australia

UPDATE 7TH NOV:The next round of bands has been announced for the Mt Buller ATP, no word yet on whether we will get many of them at the Sydney shows, fingers crossed…  At this stage Dirty Three won’t be at Cockatoo Island.


Don’t forget tix are on sale on Monday !!!!


Wow, what a day.  First we get the first anouncement for the BDO and now ATP makes its debut appearance on in OZ. Check this out….

Curated by the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, the lineup is:

Nick Cave + the Bad Seeds, The Saints, Spiritualized, The Necks, Harmonia, Fuck Buttons, Silver Apples, M Gira, James Blood Ulmer, Robert Forster, Afrirampo, Bridezilla, Laughing Clowns + more to be announced November 5th.

Thankfully we all don’t have to make the trip to Mt Buller in VIC as there will be events featuring the acts in Brisbane and in Sydney (part of the Sydney Festival 2009).

Tickets on sale NOW for Mt Buller and SYD/BNE will be on sale on November 10th from Ticketek.

Check the ATP website for more details.

If you haven’t heard of James Blood Ulmer… check the legend here: