There are quite a few examples of musicians that tend to settle in a certain comfort zone when approaching improvisation, or overshoot their ideas into a wall, failing to produce a much sought after effect.
Without focusing on pleasing their audience, The Necks have thoroughly crafted their music for 30 years. They managed to develop so many voices for their ideas, that one could hardly refer to them simply as a trio from Australia.
Unfold is their 19th album so far, released by Stephen O'Malley's Ideologic Organ label. It stands as a stretch towards a new musical pace for the veteran group. Most of their recordings and performances are usually molded into one or two pieces, with an abundance of sound layers tenuously stitched together.
On the present record, The Necks change this model, splitting the process into four tracks that do not run together and need no continuous order. Each of them has its own construction flow, without following patterns, but rather sharing a search for precision in developing the effect of the piece. As it can be heard in the third track, Blue Mountain, managing to render a natural state without conditioning the sounds of the instruments to become something different than what they are. In previous examples of their work, The Necks would revolve around this approach, while trying to overlap different ideas that would create a context and tell a story. But the condition would practically remain the same from one end of the recording to the other.
In contrast, this album doesn't claim to be listened to in a specific or ”right” way. It unfolds in the form that you want it to. Whether it's the jazz rooted inter-plays of Rise, or the chanting effects of Overhear that you want to start the audition with, they will develop on their own notes.
And in their tireless exploration, The Necks still keep a safe key note, working from within their music and taking their time to do so. Yet through this they reaffirm an approach that meticulously introduces the spontaneous element in the texture of their music.
C. Blue Mountain