The Necks - Body - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Necks - Body

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2018-08-14
The Necks - Body
The Necks - Body

This morning I was reading an article in The Guardian examining the modern tendency to gloss over detail, to skim read, and how modern electronic media devices facilitate this flittery concentration. I thought this might apply to music more and more, as listeners are less inclined to drill down into musical compositions, only skimming the surface, sensing the physical rather than metaphysical. I know this might sound like pretentious nonsense, but I really wonder how many people simply don’t have the patience to listen to an hour long piece of music like Body, that is dense and full of ideas.  To their detriment I surmise, as Body is superb. The Necks may not be well known outside Australia and Europe, but they've been producing captivating post-rock/experimental music for three decades.

For post-rock fans, Body is essential listening. The composition is divided into four parts, the first of which has a deliberately constrained energy. A glissando of two to three notes repeated on the piano is twitchy and unnerving. An expectant rhythm section threatening to burst forth. Tony Buck’s drumming is adjourned to the background, but still in relatively sharp focus, with steady momentum and crisp articulation. The bass notes drop periodically in a slow heartbeat that wouldn’t sustain life but does sustain interest. The second segment is more meditative and uses processed keyboard to wash over the minimalist architecture of the music. There are no drums here, just guitar, keyboard and a regular chime which has a vague religious quality like a church bell. It feels expectant, like the listener is being summoned to the altar, and here the drums re-emerge, sucking you into a swirling eddy of thunderous post-rock. The third segment a perfectly conceived storm. Raucous, exciting and a fitting reward for the concentration that the second movement commanded.

The salutary final movement may seem anticlimactic however it bestows upon the music a preternatural calm, a kind of ceremonial footnote. You could almost meditate through this part of Body. After the constant, almost metronomic heartbeat of the clamorous movement that came before it, the closing at first feels tranquil but frets a little too much to suggest complacency.



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