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.

Suffused with contrapuntal clinking, chording and clattering, the extended improvisation here becomes a nearly opaque interlude of frozen time made up of bonded organ washes, bass thumps and percussion cracks. That is until steadying piano chords and the drummer’s shuffle beat isolate the different tinctures of this musical color wheel, allowing the narrative to loosen and separate into sections. The ultimate straight-ahead theme is then divided among low-frequency keyboard tinkles, spanked cymbals and solid bass string plucks.

—Ken Waxman

— For Whole Note Vol. 15 #5