by Cormack O'Connor in New Music on Friday 15 February 2013

From the darkness, a tiny clatter of bells came bubbling – it reminded me of the sounds I’d heard whilst spending time at a Buddhist temple, opening my mind to foreign spiritual concepts. It’s funny that I should bring up religion so early, but what followed that tiny clatter was a huge wall of emotion dipped deep in darkness – a truly spiritual experience. A dark and rainy evening, filled with haze and a sense of mystery.

It was the perfect setting to see The Necks – an Australian 3 piece that plays an indescribable brand of experimental jazz.

Tony Buck, Lloyd Swanton and Chris Abrahams are more than band mates or good friends, they are three people that are simply connected – connected on a level so out of this world it’s hard to define their mere chemistry, let alone their sound.

Every single live set that The Necks play is improvised, completely unique – a body of feeling that lives for only a brief period, a fleeting gift, cherished by the audience. It seems like an absolute travesty to know what I experienced can never be replicated exactly ever again.

Tony Buck belted the drums with a mad intensity – scratching, pulling and moulding the dynamics of the piece; the heart and soul of the complicatedly beautiful body. At one point I sat in disbelief, eyes fixated on him, it was almost as if he was willing something out from deep inside.

Lloyd Swanton was equally as mesmerizing, adding a flow of blood to the pulsating heart Buck was providing. Swanton made me jump with terror, smile with glee and wallow in sadness in one piece of music. At times it even seemed like he was impersonating a rusty swing, blowing in the breeze.

If Buck and Swanton were amazing, Chris Abrahams was out of this world. Pulling fantastic solos out of thin air, his fingers moved so quickly and efficiently it’s almost hard to comprehend. Buck was the heart, Swanton was the blood and Abrahams was the rest of the tangible fibres – encasing the heart and blood and moving the being.

The way that The Necks build a piece – bit by bit and then deconstruct it in a live setting is something I urge everyone to experience live if they get a chance.

It’s unexplainable, it’s unclassifiable and it’s unattainable unless you’re them. Tony, Lloyd and Chris; there are no words.