Reviews that mention Tony Buck

September 5, 2017

Météo Mulhouse Music Festival

August 22 to August 26, 2017

A consistent French tradition like chewy baguettes, fine Camembert or Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Mulhouse, France’s Météo Festival, now in its 35th year, continues to present exemplary musicians in concert, without the program ever becoming homogeneous. What this means is that while the festival which took place August 22-August 26, was introduced and reached a climax with absorbing and innovative with sets by veteran Imptov saxophonists Evan Parker and Peter Brötzmann, performances which encompassed minimalism, hard-core Free Jazz, electronics, Rock, notated and folkloric music were part of the schedule. MORE

December 11, 2016

Circadia

Advances and Delays
SOFA A551

Franklin Kiermyer

Closer to the Sun

Mobility Music MMII016

Bennett/Johnston/Mezzacappa/Rosaly

Shipwreck 4

NoBusiness Records NBCD 67

Anna Weber’s Simple Trio

Binary

Skirl Records 033

Michael Vlatkovich

Myrnofant’s Kiss

pfMentum CD 095

Something In The Air: Catching up with Canadian Expats

By Ken Waxman

Q: What’s the best way to become famous in Canada? A: Leave the country. Unfortunately that hoary jape still has currency in 2016, especially if you want to be a renowned actor. Music is less aggressive and plenty of first-class musicians make their home in the dominion; some foreigners even relocate here. Still for many improvisers concerns, both personal and professional, cause them to abandon their native land. Expatriation often means interaction with a wider crew of players than if they had stayed put and these recent discs capture the results of these challenges. MORE

April 12, 2016

The Necks

Vertigo
Northern Spy NS 067

By Ken Waxman

Members of the Australian trio, the Necks habitually construct mesmerizing CDs consisting of one extended improvisation. As committed to their musical vision as ensembles such as the Beaux Arts or the Lyric Arts trios were to theirs, after three decades as a band pianist/keyboardist Chris Abrahams, bassist Lloyd Swanton and percussionist Tony Buck can still alter the overall interpretation in such a way that it become like an aural kaleidoscope offering novel facets on each playing. MORE

January 16, 2016

Simon James Phillips

Blage 3
Mikroton Recordings cd 39/40

Answering affirmatively but with stipulations as to whether an almost indeterminate site-specific composition should be preserved on disc is Australian pianist/composer

Simon James Phillips’ Blage 3. Originally performed in a dance space in Berlin where Phillips now lives, the five-hour performance was designed so that audience members file in-and-out of the room at will once the improvisation began. Besides the pianist, the ensemble consisted of American trumpeter Liz Allbee, Dutch guitarist Arthur Rother, German bassist Werner Dafeldecker, Australian percussionist Tony Buck and British electronics manipulator BJ Nilsen. An edited version of the performance is presented here on one CD of approximately 58 minutes and a second of about 42 minutes. MORE

August 21, 2015

Magda Mayas/Damon Smith/Tony Buck

Spill Plus
Nuscope CD 1028

Transmit

Radiation

Monotype mono081

Properly tracking Australian drummer Tony Buck’s musical trajectory as he careens from one genre to another is as difficult as discovering a consistent path for Robert DeNiro’s screen appearances. Just as the DeNiro of Meet the Fockers has little overt resemblance to the DeNiro in the Deer Hunter, it’s a difficult to associate the austere free improvising percussionist on the Spill Plus trio disc with the hard-edged drummer, guitarist and vocalist [!] on Radiation’s quartet session. MORE

August 21, 2015

Transmit

Radiation
Monotype mono081

Magda Mayas/Damon Smith/Tony Buck

Spill Plus

Nuscope CD 1028

Properly tracking Australian drummer Tony Buck’s musical trajectory as he careens from one genre to another is as difficult as discovering a consistent path for Robert DeNiro’s screen appearances. Just as the DeNiro of Meet the Fockers has little overt resemblance to the DeNiro in the Deer Hunter, it’s a difficult to associate the austere free improvising percussionist on the Spill Plus trio disc with the hard-edged drummer, guitarist and vocalist [!] on Radiation’s quartet session. MORE

December 27, 2013

Spill

Fluoresce
Monotype Records Mono050

Magda Mayas and Chris Abrahams

Gardener

Relative Pitch RPR 1011

As she becomes progressively better known, it’s evident that Berlin-based Magda Mayas is one of the evolving masters – or more properly mistresses – of extended keyboard playing. Regularly improvising with fellow sound explorers such as prepared guitarist Annette Krebs from Berlin and Parisian alto saxophonist Christine Abdelnour, the keyboardist has revealed close-listening and participating strategies. Gardener and Fluoresce confirm this; but the CD with her long-time partner, percussionist Tony Buck comes across as more satisfying than the one featuring keyboardist Chris Abrahams, despite him, like Buck, being an Australian plus a member of The Necks. MORE

December 8, 2013

Butcher/Buck/Mayas/Stangl

Plume
Unsounds 35u

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton

Live at Maya Recordings Festival

NoBusiness NBCD 55

Michel Doneda/Joris Rühl

Linge

Umlaut Records umfrcd 07

Lori Freedman & John Heward

On No On

Mode Avant 16

Matt Mitchell

Fiction

Pi Recordings PI50

Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake

A Night in November Live in New Orleans

Valid Records VR-1015

Paul Bley Trio
MORE

April 16, 2013

Tony Bevan/Joe Morris/Tony Buck/Dominic Lash

Tony-Joe Bucklash
Foghorn FOGCD 016

NoReduce

Jaywalkin’

nWog Records NWOG 005

Pumped up past the expected, despite the common saxophone-guitar-bass-drums configuration are these CDs. Although each features an American playing with a European unit, the path to quality is achieved by different routes.

In one case perhaps visiting Boston guitarist Joe Morris could be the spark plug for the extended go-for-broke improvising on Tony-Joe Bucklash, since the three other British players have singly and together frequently recorded outstanding work in the past. Besides Morris, known for his association with the likes of bassist William Parker and saxophonist Joe Maneri, Oxford-based reedist Tony Bevan is not only one of the (few) masters of the bass saxophone, but equally proficient on tenor and soprano. Berlin-based Aussie drummer Tony Buck is a long-time member of the Necks; while bassist Dominic Lash is busy in both New York and London. Rather than Morris being the only special guest, this CD also marks the first recorded meeting by Bevan with both bassist and drummer. MORE

September 26, 2012

Bevan/Bourne/Buck/Phillips

Everybody Else But Me
Foghorn Records FOG CD 015

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips

Montreuil

Jazz Werkstatt JW 125

Now 78, bassist Barre Phillips is one of those Americans who transferred the investigational skills he intuited playing with the likes of reedists Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Giuffre to Europe in the late 1960s. Like most Jazzmen, he was looking for steady work, but since that time he has helped create a distinctive European improv aesthetic. Based in southern France for the past 40 years, Phillips has worked with nearly every major European musical innovator from saxophonist Evan Parker to fellow bassist Joëlle Léandre. MORE

August 16, 2012

The Necks

Mindset
ReR Necks10

Roil

Frost Frost

Bo’Weavil weavil 42 CD

Buried among the resilient, intertwined polyphony which has characterized Australian trio The Necks’ creations over more than a quarter-century is the realization that each member is a first-class originator on his own. That why it’s instructive to compare Mindset, the band’s 16th CD, with Frost Frost, by Roil, a piano trio featuring The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams. As soldered as the tremolo patterning and aleatory dynamics of the sometimes-multi-tracked Abrahams are to the solid tempo of bassist Lloyd Swaton and the firm beat and interpolated samples from drummer Tony Buck with The Necks, the Roil CD displays his proficiency in a new setting. MORE

July 16, 2012

Spill

Stockholm Syndrome
Al Maslakh Recordings 13

Annette Krebs/Anthea Caddy/Magda Mayas

Thread

Another Timbre at48

During the past decade or so, Magda Mayas has established herself in Berlin as an inside piano specialist. A recruit to a variant of free-form exploration which threatens to become a sub-genre unto itself, the Münster native’s focal point is preparing the piano’s internal strings with tape, plasticine, metal and rubber objects and spending as much time manipulating them with hands and mallets as playing on the keyboard. Nonetheless, as these CDs demonstrate, Mayas’ improvising is most appealing not so much for how she prepares her instrument’s strings, but for the sound strategies she creates once the items are in place. MORE

March 11, 2012

Corkestra

Gas Station Sessions Platenbakkerij PB001

Beneficiary of a Dutch attitude which gives musicians the freedom to leapfrog from one stylistic outpost to another, keyboardist Cor Fuhler has created a nine-piece ensemble which revels in its eccentricity. At the same time, each member of the Corkestra puts his or her distinct concepts into play while interpreting Fuhler’s 10 compositions on this distinctive Toronto-recorded session.

Although all participants are improvisers, some like flutist Anne La Berge and Nora Mulder, who plays the cimbalom or hammered dulcimer come from the so-called classical music field. Meanwhile multi-reedist Tobias Delius, known for his membership in the ICP Orchestra and bassist Wilbert de Joode, who steers many ensembles for pianist Michel Braam and others and drummer Michael Vatcher, part of the Availa6ble Jelly band are committed Jazzmen. Guitarist Andy Moor is a member of Punk-Improvisers The Ex, drummer Tony Buck drifts between groove-directed The Necks, Rock and experimental improv, while clarinetist Xavier Charles usually specializes in revealing more abstract tones alongside saxophonist John Butcher and others. MORE

February 5, 2012

Olaf Rupp/Joe Williamson/Tony Buck

Weird Weapons 2
Creative Sources CS197 CD

Splice

LAB

Loop Records 1013

Bioni-Solberg-Brow

Hopscotch

ILK 179 CD

Tony Malaby’s

Novela

Clean Feed CF 232

Something In The Air:

Expat Canadians Create High-Class Improv

By Ken Waxman

Almost from the time the professional music business was established in this country, the expected route for success has been for artists to head off to the larger market down south and set up shop there. Canadians from Percy Faith and Maynard Ferguson to Joni Mitchell and Teresa Stratas effectively followed that formula. But today, as American musical hegemony lessens and modern communications almost literally shrink the world, musicians, especially those who play improvised music, can demonstrate that a permanent home in Europe is as beneficial as becoming an American resident. MORE

June 10, 2011

Festival Report:

Freedom of the City 2011
By Ken Waxman

Electronics, percussion and home-made instruments were prominently featured in many contexts during London’s annual Freedom of the City (FOTC) festival, April 30 to May 2. In spite of this, some outstanding performances involved the hyper-traditional piano or saxophone.

A snapshot of contemporary, mostly European, creative music, FOTC encompassed sounds as different as electronic processing from the likes of Adam Bohman and Lawrence Casserley; rarefied ensemble minimalism; unabashed free jazz from saxophonist Lionel Garcin’s and pianist Christine Wodrascka’s quartet; an entire evening devoted to the massive London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO); and pianist John Tilbury’s and bassist Michael Duch’s interpretations of Cornelius Cardew and Morton Feldman compositions. MORE

April 23, 2011

Cooper/Abrahams/Kurzmann/Delius/Thomas/Dafeldecker/Buck

Hammeriver
Mikroton CD 8l

A billet doux – and re-configuration – of the music of one harpist by another, Hammeriver is Australian-in-Berlin Clare Cooper’s interpretation of some of the sounds created by American Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. The result, as expressed on this CD’s five tracks, is alternatively agitato and moderato sounds. They are notably atmospheric as well as being true to Coltrane’s spiritual ideals, but without being remotely imitative. Generated during one day in a former-GDR radio station recording studio, the sounds encompass Cooper’s graphic scoring of the 1968 Coltrane composition plus the septet’s further alchemic transformation of affiliated sounds through novel improvisational blends. MORE

December 24, 2010

Heaven And

Bye And Bye I'm Going to See the King
Staubgold 98 CD

Huntsville

echo arches & eras

Rune Grammofon RCD 2079

Plowing a furrow in between Rock and Jazz, without resorting to the pyrotechnics of Fusion are two European ensembles with unbeatable improv cred, dedicated to trying out groove-and-electronica-based material.

Norway’s Huntsville, is a trio consisting of multi-string instrumentalists Ivar Grydeland, percussionist Ingar Zach and bassist Tonny Kluften, with all usually found it the company of sound explorers such as trumpeter Axel Dörner and synthesizer player Thomas Lehn. Similarly often-involved in reductionist improv are Heaven And member guitarist Martin Siewert, in Trapist with bassist Joe Williamson, and drummer Steve Heather in efzeg with guitarists Burkhard Stangl. Heather’s fellow Aussie-in-Berlin, drummer Tony Buck is best-known for his long-time membership in The Necks, as well as microtonal playing with pianist Magda Mayas. Meanwhile bassist zeitblom – whose allegiance to lower-case sounds extends to his name – was initially a member of the avant-rock band Sovetskoe Foto, and has collaborated with figures such as guitarist Fred Frith and turntablist Christian Fennesz. MORE

October 22, 2010

Sol6

Sol6
Red Note 15

Another one of those only-in-Europe ensembles which ingeniously intermingles strands of chamber music, pop and punk currents within an overlay of improvisation, Sol6 calls on talents from four countries and varied ages for this buoyant session.

Chief instigators of this CD, recorded live at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, are Luc Ex from the Netherlands and British pianist/vocalist Veryan Weston. A founding member of punk group The Ex, since leaving that band, Ex has devoted his time to quirky improv groups such as 4Walls with Weston and British vocalist Phil Minton. Weston of course, is a veteran of the London improv scene, where he works in various configurations, including one with cellist Hannah Marshall, who is also in Sol6. Marshall, who usually plays in improv setting with people like drummer Steve Noble, was also on an album by pop band Polar Bear. So was violist Mandy Drummond, another Sol6er, who usually divides her time between accompanying pop bands and classical music. German-born saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock now lives in New York where she performs with people like drummer Tom Rainey; while Australian drummer Tony Buck, a long-time Berlin resident, is best-known for his membership in The Necks. MORE

February 21, 2010

Aus

Live in Nickelsdorf
Jazzwerkstatt JW 051

Dörner/Schröder/Thomas/Steidle

Das Treffen

Jazzwerkstatt JW 059

Musicians of all stripes frequently relocate to make a better living and find a more sympathetic playing situation. But few literally travel as far as bassist Clayton Thomas, who a couple of years ago traded his home in Sydney, Australia for one in Berlin. It’s a testament to improvised music’s contemporary universality that Thomas’ trek was to Europe rather than the United States and a tribute to the German capital’s burgeoning improv scene that the bassist from Oz is constantly busy in his adopted city. MORE

February 6, 2010

The Necks

Silverwater
Fish of Milk/ReR Necks 9

Aptly described as mesmerizing, the sonic currents created by Australian trio The Necks sweep listeners along without complaint during any one of the band’s hour-long, time-suspending performances. The audience at the trio’s Music Gallery show in late January could testify to that. Yet Silverwater – named for an industrial suburb of Sydney – pulses with even more textures, since with overdubbing and granualization multiple and fungible sonic layers can be exposed.

That means that the swelling and jabbing organ tones played by Chris Abrahams that quiver throughout this one-track CD to reach a crescendo of almost visual three-dimensional polyphony, sometimes operate in tandem with knife-sharp piano chording – also played by Abrahams. Additionally, samples and patching split Tony Buck’s percussion skills so that rhythmic tambourine shakes, thick press rolls, ratcheting wood scrapes and a steady backbeat are heard all at once. Holding the bottom are the rhythmically powerful and chromatic spiccato runs of bassist Lloyd Swanton, occasionally doubled by overdubbing. MORE

December 12, 2009

Rob Mazurek Quintet

Sound Is
Delmark DE 586

Regenorchester XII

Town Down

Red Note RN 14

Although these similarly structured quintets play what could loosely be termed electric jazz, the complex patterns and unexpected strategies shouldn’t be confused with clichéd fusion sounds.

For a start the chief protagonists aren’t guitarists, but brass players – Sao Paulo via Chicago’s cornetist Rob Mazurek on one, Vienna’s Franz Hautzinger on the other. Another reason is that the inspiration for these sound-collages was as one way out of a conundrum, not towards fusion. As a matter of fact Sound Is doesn’t even feature jazz-rock’s most distinctive icon: a six-string electric guitar. MORE

December 12, 2009

Regenorchester XII

Town Down
Red Note RN 14

Rob Mazurek Quintet

Sound Is

Delmark DE 586

Although these similarly structured quintets play what could loosely be termed electric jazz, the complex patterns and unexpected strategies shouldn’t be confused with clichéd fusion sounds.

For a start the chief protagonists aren’t guitarists, but brass players – Sao Paulo via Chicago’s cornetist Rob Mazurek on one, Vienna’s Franz Hautzinger on the other. Another reason is that the inspiration for these sound-collages was as one way out of a conundrum, not towards fusion. As a matter of fact Sound Is doesn’t even feature jazz-rock’s most distinctive icon: a six-string electric guitar. MORE

September 14, 2009

Piotr Zabrodzki/Arthur Lawrenz

Trylobit
MultiKulti Project MPI 001

Magda Mayas/Tony Buck

Gold

Creative Sources CS 153 CD

Superficially, the most obvious difference between Warsaw-based pianist Piotr Zabrodzki and Berlin pianist Magda Mayas is that he confines his improvisations to the piano keys, while she’s comfortable exploring the instrument’s innards.

In fact what’s revealed in these duo sessions – Zabrodzki’s playing partner is Polish drummer Arthur Lawrenz and Mayas’ is Australian drummer Tony Buck – is an antithetical view of the pianist’s role. Firmly in the contemporary jazz mode, Zabrodzki’s high-energy performance places him in the lineage of showy keyboard-pounders that encompasses Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner and Gonzalo Rubalcaba and goes back at least as far as Art Tatum. His presence is always felt and he always appears to be front-and-centre. MORE

September 14, 2009

Magda Mayas/Tony Buck

Gold
Creative Sources CS 153 CD

Piotr Zabrodzki/Arthur Lawrenz

Trylobit

MultiKulti Project MPI 001

Superficially, the most obvious difference between Warsaw-based pianist Piotr Zabrodzki and Berlin pianist Magda Mayas is that he confines his improvisations to the piano keys, while she’s comfortable exploring the instrument’s innards.

In fact what’s revealed in these duo sessions – Zabrodzki’s playing partner is Polish drummer Arthur Lawrenz and Mayas’ is Australian drummer Tony Buck – is an antithetical view of the pianist’s role. Firmly in the contemporary jazz mode, Zabrodzki’s high-energy performance places him in the lineage of showy keyboard-pounders that encompasses Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner and Gonzalo Rubalcaba and goes back at least as far as Art Tatum. His presence is always felt and he always appears to be front-and-centre. MORE

March 6, 2008

The Necks

Townsville
ReR Necks 8

Kapital Band 1

Playing By Numbers

Mosz 017

With terms such as ambient and minimalist sloppily and frequently bandied about, their correct connotation becomes as blurred as the sound often is during purported performances of the musical genre they’re supposed to represent.

The advantage of CDs such as The Necks’ Townsville and Kapital Band 1’s Playing By Numbers, however is that they’re ingeniously designed by musicians who concentrate as much on the details of creation as the overall structure. The discs also demonstrate that homespun, unfussy and discreet sonic creations should be expansive, not static or flimsy. Furthermore, although each band may be slotted in the same sub-section of musical creation, each pursues a different itinerary to reach its defined objective. MORE

March 6, 2008

Kapital Band 1

Playing By Numbers
Mosz 017

The Necks

Townsville

ReR Necks 8

With terms such as ambient and minimalist sloppily and frequently bandied about, their correct connotation becomes as blurred as the sound often is during purported performances of the musical genre they’re supposed to represent.

The advantage of CDs such as The Necks’ Townsville and Kapital Band 1’s Playing By Numbers, however is that they’re ingeniously designed by musicians who concentrate as much on the details of creation as the overall structure. The discs also demonstrate that homespun, unfussy and discreet sonic creations should be expansive, not static or flimsy. Furthermore, although each band may be slotted in the same sub-section of musical creation, each pursues a different itinerary to reach its defined objective. MORE

December 23, 2007

BlankDisc Trio

U ĈudnojZemlji im KomikerLand
Nurnichtnur 107 04 29

Buck/Fuhler/Zaradny

Lighton

Musica Genera mg 011

Serendipity can often work as efficiently as scheduling when putting together improvised ensembles, as these two top-quality Eastern European-focused CDs prove.

Lighton, which matches the talents of Polish alto saxophonist Anna Zaradny with those of Dutch keyboardist Cor Fuhler and Berlin-resident, Australian percussionist Tony Buck, was formally organized for a performance at the 2006 Musica Genera festival in Szcezin, Poland. On the other hand, U ĈudnojZemlji im KomikerLand, which was recorded in the equally exotic location of Zrenjanin, Serbia, came about because veteran German reedist Georg Wissel, whose wife is Serbian, was looking around for sympathetic playing partners during one of his frequent trips to that country. Introduced to the sounds of guitarist Srdan Muc and Róbert Rózsa, who manipulates no-input mixing and electronics, he felt that a collaboration would be fruitful. MORE

December 23, 2007

Buck/Fuhler/Zaradny

Lighton
Musica Genera mg 011

BlankDisc Trio

U ĈudnojZemlji im KomikerLand

Nurnichtnur 107 04 29

Serendipity can often work as efficiently as scheduling when putting together improvised ensembles, as these two top-quality Eastern European-focused CDs prove.

Lighton, which matches the talents of Polish alto saxophonist Anna Zaradny with those of Dutch keyboardist Cor Fuhler and Berlin-resident, Australian percussionist Tony Buck, was formally organized for a performance at the 2006 Musica Genera festival in Szcezin, Poland. On the other hand, U ĈudnojZemlji im KomikerLand, which was recorded in the equally exotic location of Zrenjanin, Serbia, came about because veteran German reedist Georg Wissel, whose wife is Serbian, was looking around for sympathetic playing partners during one of his frequent trips to that country. Introduced to the sounds of guitarist Srdan Muc and Róbert Rózsa, who manipulates no-input mixing and electronics, he felt that a collaboration would be fruitful. MORE

October 25, 2006

Ned Rothenberg

The Fell Clutch
Animul 105

Playful and profound at the same time, this CD by multi-reedman Ned Rothenberg’s well-paced trio confirms that the separation between cerebral improvisation and body conscious grooves is narrower than most would imagine – as long as there’s a singularity of purpose.

Usually dedicated to highly technical woodwind explorations and collaborations with the likes of saxophonist Evan Parker, or World music inferences with like-minded players such as tabla player Samir Chatterjee, Rothenberg, the New York-based clarinetist and saxophonist adopts harder beats here. Featuring drummer Tony Buck, of the Australian trance-jazz band The Necks and fretless electric bass player Stomu Takeishi, who is in trumpeter Cuong Vu’s punky jazz trio, plus slide guitarist Dave Tronzo on three tracks, there’s a rock-like sensibility present. MORE

December 12, 2005

MAP

Six Improvisations for Guitar, Bass and Drums
H&H Productions HH-1

OLAF RUPP/TONY BUCK/JOE WILLIAMSON
Weird Weapons
EMANEM 4119

Put aside the associations you have developed for conventional guitar trios like those lead by Jim Hall or the late Charlie Byrd. Similarly exploratory, the title of MAP’s CD could work for either band. At the same time both sessions –serendipitously recorded two months apart – additionally highlight the global reach of free music.

Both trios are made up of musicians from three different countries. MAP is an American/Australian/Japanese trio; Rupp, Buck and Williamson are respectively from Germany, Australia and Canada. While you can’t ascribe merit to internationalism, it’s possible that different experiences and a communal exhibition of technical dexterity have gone into producing these dazzling CDs. MORE

June 6, 2005

COR FUHLER

Corkestra
Data 044

Quirkiest of the Netherlands’ collection of third generation improvisers, Amsterdam-based keyboardist Cor Fuhler strives to advance beyond the admixture of new classical, jazz and cabaret sound that characterize Dutch improv, especially when created by its best-known practitioners – Misha Mengelberg’s ICP Orchestra and Willem Breuker’s Kollektief.

Fuhler, who studied counterpoint with Mengelberg, has long dabbled in electronics, as well, adding string stimulators, self-made modifications and antiquated electronic keyboards to his presentations. Here, using the talents of his nine-piece so-called Corkestra, he intertwines unique electronic oscillations with timbres from expected – saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass, guitar – and unexpected – cymbalom, singing saw and hammer dulcimer – instruments. Reminiscent of some of John Zorn’s game pieces, he also divides the ensemble into sub-groups, while handing them a collection of riffs, vamps, and melody lines. MORE

January 17, 2005

THE NECKS

The Boys - music for the feature film
ReRNECKS4

HOUSE BAND
Cycle Maintenance
Louie Records 033

Coming from completely different places -- not to mention continents -- because of a similar instrumental make up, these CDs end up with more similarities than differences.

What is even odder, however, is that THE BOYS is a studio amplification of the music Australian trio The Necks improvised for the 1998 feature film of the same name, while CYCLE MAINTENACE resulted from spontaneous sessions from a quartet of Portland, Ore. musicians early in 2004. MORE

September 14, 2004

WILL GUTHRIE

Building Blocks
Antboy Music

INGAR ZACH
Percussion Music
SOFA

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Berlin drums
Absinth

By Ken Waxman

September 14, 2004

Antipodean and Northern European drummers are the focus of these essays in solo percussion. But the sociology of why these particular stick men should choose to go it alone is not part of this study. What is generic is how similarly -- and how differently -- six improvisers choose to pursue a solo course.

If there’s one process in common, it’s that all add a physical codicil to their regular kit. Thus, whether they say so or not, it appears as if some sort of electronic interface meets the trap set. Most open about it are Amsterdam-based, Melbourne-born Steve Heather -- featured on Berlin Drums -- and Norwegian Ingar Zach. Heather, who often works with keyboardist Cor Fuhler and reedist Jorrit Dijkstra, uses a sampler as well as found percussive objects, while Zach -- who plays with everyone from Swiss violinist Charlotte Hug to British guitarist Derek Bailey -- extends his drums and percussion with gongs, motors and a zither. MORE

August 16, 2004

SABINE ERCKLENTZ/ANDREA NEUMANN

Oberflächebspannung
Charhizma 024

TONY BUCK/AXEL DÖRNER
Durch Und Durch
TES/Vitamin TES CD0103

Well it had to happen eventually and it finally has: the emergence of trumpeters taking Berlin brassman Axel Dörner’s microtonal sound sculpture as a base on which to build their own improvisations.

Expanding in the 1990s from a Free Jazz base Dörner has gradually concentrated his efforts on an idiosyncratic melange of minimal techniques that neatly translate electro-acoustic elements without electronic instruments. For the past little while, he and Boston trumpeter Greg Kelley operated in similar spheres, mostly apart, but sometimes in the same group, as the Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis of the style. Now, as OBERFLÄCHEBSPANNUNG demonstrates, Berlin-based Sabine Ercklentz is another brass player to adopt the concept. MORE

April 5, 2004

COOPER-MOORE/TOM ABBS/CHAD TAYLOR

Triptych Myth
Hopscotch 14

THE NECKS
Drive By
Fish of Milk RER NECKS3

Piano, bass and drums combos have been one of the defining configurations of improvised music for more than five decades. But as these two exceptional trio sessions prove, with the right ideas and techniques, there’s still plenty that can be done with this traditional form.

Microtonalists, Australians The Necks do cheat a little bit on DRIVE BY. Using all the resources of a modern studio, keyboard man Chris Abrahams is able to doubletrack himself on piano, electric piano and organ, while drummer Tony Buck adds different percussion and samples. But seemingly tireless bassist Lloyd Swanton still uses his acoustic model to shape the rhythmic foundation of the one, more than hour-long piece that makes up the CD. MORE

February 24, 2003

THE NECKS

Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab
Fish of Milk FOM 0008

For the uninitiated, hearing performances and CDs by the Australian trio The Necks are somewhat akin to looking at those cartoon quizzes that ask you to find the differences between two nearly identical pictures. Everything sounds very similar. But more contemplative exposure to the band’s work -- like careful examination of those pictures -- reveals a host of singular details, making The Necks’s creations not only exciting, but unique as well.

So it is with this oddly titled, 4-CD collection of live tracks. About 3¼ hours of music, each instant composition takes up one complete disc. Three of the shows were recorded in the band’s native Australia, one in Austria, and were transferred to CD with minimal postproduction and editing work. All can be heard as mesmerizing examples of ritualistic minimalism. MORE

July 13, 2002

THE NECKS

Hanging Gardens
RerNECKS1

THE NECKS
Aether
Fish of Milk FOM 007

Australia’s The Necks seem to occupy a musical space somewhere between the jam band groove of the U.S.’s Medeski, Martin & Wood (MM&W) and the ambient intellectualism of the U.K.’s AMM.

Deft at mood creation, the band’s CDs and live shows are all of a piece, consisting of only one composition that takes about an hour to reveal its many facets. Like AMM’s conception, the time period allows the band members to take a piece through all its possible permutations before it’s exhausted. Unlike the British group, though, they maintain a constant, often foot-tapping beat. While the endproduct isn’t as outrightly intellectual or discerning as AMM’s, it also isn’t submerged into an almost endless, unvarying groove like many of MM&W’s compositions, which often clock in at a radio-friendly few minutes. MORE