Latest from the Australian minimal jmprovisers.
Bill Tilland 2002
A better title for this CD would be Alchemist, because The Necks have yet again succeeded in turning base metals (i.e. standard musical ingredients) into gold.
Chemist introduces a slight wrinkle with three tracks of approximately 20 minutes each (instead of the more typical single long track favored by the group), but all the usual elements are here; deep bass ostinati, supple percussive pulse and roiling piano arpeggios (heavy on the sustain pedal). Still, the little touches and treatments are what elevate a Necks release to a higher level of listening pleasure.
The funky opening "Fatal" adds occasional guitar textures and a distant, soulful organ drone, along with discreet electronic whooshes and small bursts of white noise. The more minimalist second piece, "Buoyant", begins with randomly generated oscillator beeps, later insinuates the barely perceptible ringing of an alarm bell, and altogether creates a spare but highly charged musical dream state.
"Abillera", the final track, coaxes the sounds of a hammered dulcimer (among other things) out of the piano and plays around with phasing in pleasantly disorienting fashion suggestive of early Steve Reich. Impeccable ear candy, from start to finish.