As for the music itself, each player oscillates through rhythmic patterns on their own volition, and the alignment of all three almost seems to happen by chance. Abrahams, the pianist, plays a melody that repeats in cycles, at various points rapidly reiterating on a single note. Here the piano is equal parts percussive as it is melodic. Very rarely is there a melody to cling onto, but a that would defeat the point of the exercise.
The only constant seems to be the thud of the drummer's kick drum, and even that changes in tempo at the climax of the second half — the rules of conventional mathematics that underpin music theory are cast aside to create something transcendental.
When these compressions and rarefactions increase in density, new textures emerge from the startlingly limited palette of piano, double bass and drums. At one point it seems like another pair of voices contributing to the drone.
To a cynical ear the distribution of notes and sounds may seem chaotic — even random, at times – but every player is in absolute control of their instrument, commanding forth every sound possible. Lloyd Swanton taps syncopated rhythms on the side of his double bass, while Tony Buck, on the drums, seems to use every portion of his mallets, drumsticks and brushes to create varying textures.
For some, the disarray makes The Necks in concert their idea of aural hell. It’s certainly a minimalist effect, less structured than Steve Reich and more intimate than Brian Eno.
The Necks are a cult band — they’ve been acclaimed by critics and have found their niche. Their music might not be for everyone, but their fans are devoted to the cause.