Travel, the 19th studio album by Australian improvisational trio The Necks, documents their recent practice of starting each day in the studio with a 20-minute trio improvisation. The recordings offer some of their most ecstatic and captivating music cut to tape. As bassist Lloyd Swanton puts it: “It’s a really nice communal activity to bring us together in focus each day, and some lovely music has resulted from it.” Although a straight “live” improvisation has never been recorded in the studio by the band, these tracks (save for some light overdubs and post-production) feel closest to their 30 years of celebrated live performances.
In 2017 Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ label released the band’s lauded Unfold, which first offered up this uncharacteristic studio work: four sub-20-minute pieces – instead of the typical 60+ minute arc for which the band is known – along with an obfuscated track list which leaves play order to the listener’s hand. The album quickly sold out, and persists as a treasure in collections or as a high-priced ‘Want’ on Discogs.
Travel marks a return to this double-LP format, offered in a beautiful gatefold package that features photography by Traianos Pakioufakis and impeccable mastering by Doug Henderson. Travel is out February 24th, 2023 via Northern Spy Records and is available to preorder here.
We have an advance copy of the album here, it is improv, but that doesn’t mean hard-boiled or difficult, these are beautifully fluid pieces, music that flows with deceptive ease, almost easy listening without ever being watered down. These recordings are complex, clever, they’re warm, they’re inviting. The necks are flowing here in such a rewarding way, this really is a pleasure. Don’t let the idea of a jazz trio put you off, I mean, yes, it is jazz, it is improv but throw all your ideas out of the window, this is for anyone and everyone. This is warm, this is very very human, full of warm emotion, almost magical in the way it all flows and fits together in such an easy way, such a beautiful way. Wonderfully accessible, and yet deliciously challenging, this is clever, this is refreshing, cleansing, open, expansive, it does sound like a fine fine way to start to each day, and as bass player Lloyd Swanton put it, this is just lovely music. Highly recommended
Right now you ca nhear one of the four tracks that make up the album on the Bandcamp page
More via TheNecks,com
This footage is probably a little more late night than the morning music you’ll find on the album
“The award-winning band The New York Times called “the greatest trio on earth” perform live in the Utzon Room, performing their singular mix of avant rock, jazz and ambient music in a unique single-take performance. ‘In Session’ is a series of intimate, long-form music films, staged behind closed doors. In taking a highly stylised filmic approach, ‘In Session’ goes beyond the confines of a traditional performance film, giving audiences an entirely unique and close-up perspective on their favourite artists. Recorded 8th February 2022 Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House With Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck, Lloyd Swanton”
And while we’re here, this seems fitting this week….