(Fish of Milk)
Close your eyes and it entangles you, like being snagged in forest creepers and briars; like peering deeply into Pollock’s Blue Poles, and feeling a whisper of vertigo as its fathomless depth takes hold. Called Bloom, the piece is the first of three 20-minute, multi-layered improvisations making up the Necks’ new studio opus. The mesh of depth is primarily generated by Tony Buck’s hurtling, multi-tracked percussion (plus guitar), which is thickened by Lloyd Swanton’s bass, and amid which Chris Abrahams’ piano is partially obscured, as if choked by the thickets and vines of percussion.
By contrast the eerie beauty of Lovelock evokes the Garden of Eden in the seconds before the fall. Abrahams plays sparse, limpid lines, around which other sounds repeatedly amass, only to disperse again, as if dumbstruck by the piano’s beauty. With typically expert structural sense, the Necks end with the groove-based Further, the piano/bass/drums lope of which is only partially blurred by hazes of percussion, organ and guitar. I still prefer the band in its live guise of delivering acoustic, long-form improvisations, but the multi-tacked studio format is proving equally as fertile across an improbable 31 years.