24 years and 16 albums into an estimable career, The Necks present two engrossing longform tracks, comprising their first major release since 2009s ‘Silverwater’. On ‘Mindset’ Jazz, drone and electronic soundscaping coalesce into something far, far greater than the sum of their elements, creating a multi-tiered, organically shifting mass of piano, bass and drums knitted with subtle but crucial synthesis and FX to hypnotise and leave us frankly dazzled. The first of these two 20+ minute pieces ‘Rum Jungle’ is densely realised yet rendered with a minimalist vision, allowing each independent layer to swirl and swoon without friction in its own frequency space while still somehow managing to communicate freely with the other kinetic sections operating at idiosyncratic tempos. The effect is utterly magical, at once feeling fluidly improvised and highly organised in a manner achieved only by the most skilled, attuned musicians. In stark contrast, ‘Daylights’ is more richly textured, deploying filigree electronics around sparse, plangent keys and stalking bass recalling Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, but also following a steady evolutionary vector which could only come from three master musicians in synchrony. Warmly encouraged to fans of Carsten Nicolai, Oren Ambarchi, Christian Marclay.
by Michael Wallace, Readings Carlton
After more than 20 years improvising together, The Necks’ musical world of intuitive interaction and minimal, organic musical development continue to transfix this listener. Mindset, their sixteenth record, unveils two extended improvisations.
Unlike The Necks’ other albums, which usually present hour-long improvisations, the shorter lengths of the two tracks on Mindset were likely guided by their decision to release not only on CD, but also vinyl. Rum Jungle develops from Swanton’s pedalling bass tones and Buck’s juxtaposed bass drum pulses into a thick soundworld, full with low piano rumblings and organ chords from Abrahams. Daylights begins like a musical mobile – high-pitch electronic frequencies, muted piano melodies and occasional guitar riffs that all seemingly float around an axis point – and gradually builds to a spellbinding climax.
Although The Necks continue to utilise their well-established processes, Mindset proves to be a thoroughly engaging record and a fine addition to their substantial body of work.
Michael Wallace is from Readings Carlton
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