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andrewcsmith on 02/01/2010 at 02:30PM

The Necks (a two-night engagement)

The Necks: Night One / Set Two

It’s not so much hearing things happen. It’s more like noticing that things have changed, and now it’s time to re-assess your surroundings. It’s not so much listening for individual motivic and textural changes. It’s more like looking at time-lapse photography. It’s not so much seeing it all happen sped up. It’s more like looking at each image for a full minute or two. It’s not so much like noticing the movement of forms in the photo. It’s more like noticing the movement of color and shadows, whether random or patterned.

As a direct consequence of stretching one moment into such a duration, the slightest changes become tectonic shifts.

The Necks’ music comes in pockets, in revolutions per second that sometimes are very slow, and other times are very fast. Still other times, slow moments are superimposed on percussion patterns approaching twenty Hertz, the lower range of audible frequency. Phantom sounds come from Chris Abrahams’ piano strings, or maybe from Lloyd Swanton’s bass bowing in the upper registers. They could also be coming from how Tony Buck drags a cymbal across another cymbal.

It’s not so much hearing things happen. It’s more like noticing that a cymbal, dragged across another cymbal, makes an interesting sound. It’s not so much taking in the novelty of this technique. After enough time has passed, it ceases being a novelty act and fixes itself in your ear. It’s not a conscious effort at hearing this sound. After enough time has passed, the sound of the cymbal is taken for granted.

As a direct consequence of repeating one sound again and again, the slightest changes in timbre are audible.

The Necks’ music ceases inaudibly. In revolutions per second, whether very slow or very fast, we expect continuity. Still other times, we expect that these revolutions will continue, albeit slightly changed. Staring at the sun for too long will leave a spot in your eyes, where the eyes expected the sun to be. They could also be happening from too much exhaustion, as the sun tires your eyes out.

It’s not so much hearing. Things happen, and it’s more like you know they’ve happened and your ears expect them to keep happening. It’s not so much active-listening. It’s more like accepting and observing, because there are no other choices available. It’s so much continuing to hear. It’s hearing things as they change, and forgetting that they were even still there to begin with. It’s hearing not the things, but how the things have already disappeared. After the things disappear, they leave a spot in your ear, like the sun and your eyes.

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User Comments

01
unknown convict on 02/01/10 at 10:17PM
A mazing, just a mazing.
02
taniP on 02/02/10 at 02:39AM
This made my day! I've been starving for the Necks but unfortunately couldn't make it the show. This is like a free album! I like the textures they're messing with...I don't recall hearing so many bell-like tones on the albums I have. Excellent stuff.
03
African on 02/10/10 at 12:22AM
thanx.
no —
THANX!
04
desertalis on 02/10/10 at 01:13AM
Thank you for this beautiful offering. Wonderful to be able to listen across the vast distances between me and the live shows!
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