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Two Delightful Evenings With “Al Berkowitz” Not To Be Missed Out On…

* * * * * The Necks * * * * *

The Necks are an experimental jazz trio from Sydney, Australia, comprising Chris Abrahams on piano and Hammond organ, Tony Buck on drums and Lloyd Swanton on bass guitar and double bass. The band plays improvisational pieces of up to an hour in length that explore repeating musical figures. As well as jazz, they are strongly influenced by krautrock.

Typically a live performance will begin very quietly with one of the musicians playing something very simple. One by one, the other two will join with their own melodies, all three independent yet intertwined. A piece of music usually lasts about 45 minutes and over this time grows in volume and pace and complexity before petering out. They are quite simply an extraordinary live experience.

The Necks are also well known in Europe. Their soundtrack for The Boys was nominated for ARIA Best Soundtrack Album, AFI Best Musical Score and Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award. They have also recorded soundtracks for What’s The Deal? (1997) and In the Mind of the Architect [ three one-hour ABC-TV documentaries, 2000.

BBC.CO.UK [ Townsville ] ~ This extraordinary Australian trio have just entered their third decade, and Townsville, a live 53-minute recording, is a fine example of what you might expect at one of their totally improvised gigs. Superficially, they are a traditional jazz trio (piano, double bass, drums) yet their unclassifiable music falls somewhere between jazz, ambient, minimalism and the avant garde.

PopMatter.COM [ Sex ] ~ Sex is hypnotic, an hour-long joyride. It is soothing and subtle, and yet earth-shattering enough to change your perceptions of both time and space. Sex can be very rhythmic, and you’ll certainly grow to appreciate its charms. OK, OK, I’ll do you the favor of suspending the semi-erotic ironic descriptors. I will, however, tell you that this Sex is well worth seeking out. It is the debut by Australian piano trio the Necks, whose sounds are as much ‘experimental’ and ‘minimalist’ as they are ‘jazz’. This album never builds and bursts into sweeping crescendos, but that’s not to say that isn’t surprising and satisfying. It can be enjoyed as background music, and is also wholly engaging under the scrutiny of headphones.

Some may level the Riley and Reich ‘minimalist’ comparison to this release, but I believe the Necks stand unique. Sex is an album unlike any I have ever heard—a one-track disc with a boxed set’s worth of ideas. Indeed, this 1989 release established the template and basic formula that the Necks are still exploring today: the creation of a general motif, which the trio subtly builds upon, morphs, and investigates over the course of forty to sixty minutes.

[ Aether ] is the eighth album by Australian improvised music trio The Necks first released on the Fish of Milk label in 2001 and later on the ReR label internationally. The album features a single hour-long track, titled “Aether”, performed by Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck. Allmusic review calls it “their most mature, captivating album. Strongly recommended.

[ Piano, bass, drums ] 1998 release from this Australian experimental Jazz trio (piano, bass and drum), recorded live without overdubs. Keeping with their musical formula, this album consists of one 50+ minute track that begins with a simple, yet melodic, idea and then builds upon it for the next hour, creating a sonic landscape that enchants the listener as it unfolds, challenging the heart, mind and soul of Rock and Jazz music. Although the band have won numerous Jazz awards in their homeland, they are one of the few bands of that genre that have been wholeheartedly embraced by Rock audiences around the world. Many critics have even compared The Necks to original Krautrock bands like Can. Fish Of Milk.

[ Mosquito, See Through ] “Mosquito” is clearly the more approachable. Revolving, for the most part, around a simple repeated bass ostinato, eighth-note cymbal pattern and percussion overlay that is paradoxically cluttered yet open, Abrahams is the most actively explorative, layering fragile free lines over a gentle wash of chords. The dynamics of the piece are so subtle that they creep up almost without warning, with a stronger bottom end developing about halfway through.

And although the music is not about soloing in any conventional sense, Abrahams’ improvisations gently dominates the first thirty minutes of the piece, while Buck’s activity increases in the second half, providing additional contrast and interest. But at the end of the day, “Mosquito” is more about a vibe, a hypnotic trance-like ambience, than it is about traditional concepts like rhythm and harmony. Still, there is gentle movement on both fronts; an ebb and flow that make for a curiously engaging listen. [ _AllAboutJazz.COM ]

“See Through” is yet another interesting listen and if you are having a go at it around one or two am completely tired and drained out of energy, you’ll notice the sound completely dies off on 11minutes32Sec but by that time you’d probably be half awake and dozing off and on 11minutes59 seconds the sound instantly picks up with swilling keys and drums sustaining an EPIC jazzy-end and believe me when that happen and if you are half awake it will be like you seeing ghost infront of you. ABSOLUTELY EPIC man…

[ Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab ] is the ninth album and second live album by Australian improvised music trio The Necks first released on the Fish of Milk label in 2002 as a 4 CD set. The album features 4 live performances by Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck recorded in Melbourne, Sydney and Raab. The album was nominated for the ARIA Music Awards Best Jazz album in 2003. Recorded on 20 January 2001 at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne (CD One), 26 January 2001 at the Southee Complex, Sydney (CD Two), 31 January 1999 at the Basement, Sydney (CD Three), and 30 March 2001 at Musikschule Raab, Austria (CD Four).

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< < < < < [ EDIT NOTE: 2011 Title [ Mindset ] Update ]. > > > > >

Mindset is short by Necks standards – just two tracks of 22 minutes each – but it is typically involving. It may not have the soothing, immensely satisfying manner of their classic Drive By, but the trio have found other ways to chase their muse. “Rum Jungle” rides several overlapping pulses simultaneously, producing a strange, hesitant momentum.

Its low-end piano rumblings are dark and tempestuous, the overall effect one of being lost in a forest, frantically seeking egress in ever-thickening undergrowth, as layers of percussion are joined by shuddering waves of organ. “Daylights” opens with a trickle of bright, resonant piano, stubbed bass notes and clicky, rattling flurries of small percussion, like insects. By its conclusion, we’re back in the forest, albeit with shafts of sunlight guiding our way.

< < < < < [ I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT “THE NECKS” IS… GET ALL TITLES ]. > > > > >

< < < < < [ [ MySpace ] | [ Last.fm ] | [ FaceBook ] ]. > > > > >
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Mindset
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – Rum Jungle [ 00:21:48 ]
02 – Daylights [ 00:21:36 ]
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The Necks – Mindset
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab
Release Date – 2002
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – Athenaeum
02 – Homebush
03 – Quay
04 – Raab
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The Necks – Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Photosynthetic
Release Date – 2003
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – TT (Live In Moscow) – [ 00:42:21 ]
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The Necks – Photosynthetic
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Mosquito, See Through
Release Date – 2004
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – Mosquito [ 01:01:43 ]
02 – See Through [ 01:01:47 ]
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The Necks – Mosquito, See Through
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Aether
Release Date – 1998
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – The Necks – Aether [ 01:03:00 ]
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The Necks – Aether
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Live at WFMU on Brian Turners Show
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – The Necks – Live at WFMU on Brian Turners Show [ 00:49:59 ]
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The Necks – Live at WFMU on Brian Turners Show
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Piano,bass and drums
Release Date – 2001
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

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The Necks – Piano,bass and drums
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Silent Night
Release Date – 1996
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

The Necks – Silent Night – 01 – Black [ 01:03:00 ]
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The Necks – Silent Night
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Artist – The Necks
Album – The Boys (Soundtrack)
Release Date – 1998
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

1. The Boys I – 4:28
2. He Led Them into the World – 10:21
3. Headlights – 10:11
4. The Boys II – 3:15
5. The Sleep of Champions – 6:33
6. Fife and Drum – 10:22
7. The Boys III – 3:43
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The Necks – The Boys (Soundtrack)
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Aquatic
Release Date – 1994
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

1. Aquatic 1 – 27:37
2. Aquatic 2 – 25:31
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The Necks – Aquatic
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Artist – The Necks
Album – The Next
Release Date – 1990
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

1. Carl’s – 07:19
2. Nice Policeman Nasty Policeman – 04:58
3. Pele – 28:35
4. Next – 09:49
5. Jazz Cancer – 06:16
6. The World At War – 16:36
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The Necks – The Next
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Townsville
Release Date – 2007
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – The Necks – Townsville [ 53:40 ]
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The Necks – Townsville
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Sex
Release Date – 1989
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

01 – The Necks – Sex [ 56:10 ]
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The Necks – Townsville
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Hanging Gardens
Release Date – 1999
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz, Avant-garde, Ambient-jazz, Free Improvisation [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist
1 Hanging Gardens 60:30
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The Necks – Hanging Gardens
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Drive By
Release Date – 2003
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist
1 Drive By 60:16
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The Necks – Drive By
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Chemist
Release Date – 2006
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist
1 Fatal 21:13
2 Buoyant 19:51
3 Abillera 19:50
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The Necks – Chemist
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Artist – The Necks
Album – Silverwater
Release Date – 2003
Genre – Experimental, Jazz, Instrumental, Post-jazz [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist
1 Silverwater 67:15
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The Necks – Silverwater
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Recommendations: Contemporary Noise Quintet ~ The Six Strings Sonic ~ Nils Petter Molvær ~ Land Of Kush ~ The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
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