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Drive By Single

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Single, November 18, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

New studio recording by the great rhythm minimalists. Somewhere between Hanging Gardens and Aether, this is a steady moderate tempo piece with some beautiful floating chords and inspired drum passages. The usual masterful playing and restraint; forward movement and stasis. A classic band.


In many ancient cultures music is a tool for trance. Repeated figures, varied ever-so-slightly, can beckon you into a form of meditation where the outside world doesn t matter nearly as much as what lies within. Traditional drumming from Ghana, for example, centers itself around rituals relating to birth, spirits, and death. Westerners absorbed this idea in a very ass-backward way when modern classical composers like Steve Reich incorporated minimalism into a framework of repetition. The idea has been taken further by post-rock groups like Tortoise, who make use of studio tools to get it just right. The Australian group known as The Necks takes advantage of both approaches: marathon cycles of riffs and beats frame intermittent piano swirls, found sound samples, and electronic effects. Drummer Tony Buck serves as the locomotive for this trio, laying down a direct and straightforward groove that persists more than an hour. The title track is the only track on Drive By, so you have to admire the concentration required. If you're not willing to be hypnotized by this music, chances are you ll find it highly annoying or turn your attention elsewhere. That s your choice, but I strongly recommend surrender. All of these three instruments (piano/organ, bass, and drums) have the potential to be a percussion instrument, and most of the time that seems to be their primary function. (Acoustic) bassist Lloyd Swanton lays down the most deceptively simple parts of the intertwined whole, often four-note riffs syncopated with snare hits and keyboard figures. The rhythms come in units of three, four, six, and seven, often directly juxtaposed, but you wouldn t necessarily know that unless you screwed on a thinking cap. The jazz element on Drive By mostly comes from the keys of Chris Abrahams user-friendly organ and pedalled piano. To the extent this music has a melody, you ll find it there. But short phrases, swirls, and gentle cascades comprise just about all of it, and in --Nils Jacobson, All About Jazz

Listening to anything by the Necks is like gazing into an oriental rug depicting a linear yet still intricate pattern. You don t so much listen to Drive By; you become immersed. Drive By is a single track lasting 60 minutes, but you ll hardly notice the hour go by. The Necks, based out of Brisbane, Australia are Chris Abrahams on electric keyboard and piano, Tony Buck on Drums and Lloyd Swanton on bass. Each artist is a well respected performer in his own right, dabbling in everything from praised recordings to film scores. It s tempting to call them a jazz trio, but the Necks share more in common with Can, Charlemagne Palestine (think Strumming Music), house and techno than any jazz musician per se. In fact, apart from musical touchstones, one would be hard pressed to find artists producing similar work. The beauty of the Necks lies in their deceptive simplicity; an attentive listen reveals lots of complex arrangements at work. Drive By is certainly more kinetic and infectiously rhythmic when compared to their more atmospheric earlier releases like Aether and more soulful than the frenetic and darker themed Hanging Gardens. The CD opens up with electric keyboard followed by the rustling, arterial pulse from the acoustic bass and paradoxically rhythmic yet discordant percussion. Over the course of the set, each player grabs the spotlight and takes it on a short tangent, too restrained to merit solo status, arranging and rearranging the precedence of their instruments. The most understated tangents come from the acoustic bass, shifting from steady to fluttering throbs while the keyboards and piano offer the most adventurous attempts. The rhythm section articulates the tempo and drive of the CD, providing infectious danceable beats. In addition to trance inducing keyboard patterns, Abrahams also employs shimmering, crisp piano notes that feel like buckets of cool water attacking sweat-drenched dancers. An interesting addition to Drive By is the use of field re --I Khider, Dusted

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Dive By.....

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 18, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: November 18, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: ReR
  • ASIN: B0000X5DMC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,974 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was reading Uncut magazine one day and came upon this cd, which they gave 5 stars. I heard the terms improvisation and hour-long-song, which definitely got my attention, so I decided to buy it. I found that these guys are a really impressive band, taking a simple short keyboard line and stretching it out, adding and subtracting parts that makes it similar to a techno pattern but with jazz and psychidelic instruments. It's a unique blend of general jamming/jazz/mood music. It's difficult to explain, but if you are into the Miles Davis Bitches Brew-type music, you should probably give it a try! It's really amazing.
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Format: Audio CD
starts with introspective melancholic keyboard refrain, and other instruments unhurriedly, incrementally appear, until it becomes an awesome prog-house-rock-jazz-psych jam. never cluttered and not overstaying its welcome, this hour long track is a very, very nice listen all the way through.
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I've owned eight of the Necks' albums, and this is one of the best. In case you aren't familiar with The Necks, this description from [...]'s François Couture accurately sums up the group's M.O.:

"They usually start playing a very basic melodic and rhythmic figure, and then keep going at it for an hour, gradually introducing microscopic changes and variations. Some critics have compared them to Krautrock groups like Can and Faust. Others find similarities in the works of minimalist composers like LaMonte Young, Tony Conrad, even Philip Glass."

Most of the albums are one lengthy track per disc, and all of the music I've heard from the group is consonant enough to be played in boutiques or restaurants. There are no mind-numbing passages of brittle arpeggios, as you find in the music of Philip Glass (for better or for worse). Similarly, there are no noisy avant-garde passsages, vocals, or heavily synthesized sounds as you would expect to find in various flavors of Krautrock. It's not flashy or technically difficult in the way that progressive rock can be.

"Drive By" is just a touch funkier than most of the other Neck's albums I'm familiar with (though don't expect any Medeski Martin and Wood-type grooves or soloing here), and the melodic motifs here are catchy-but-minimalist. The overall feeling is major-key ambient groove music, which will allow those familiar with ambient and dance music to more easy engage with the groups' unique brand of minimalist jazz.
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The Necks are unusual in that their records typically consist of a single, hour-or-so long song (a notable exception being Chemist) that begins with a fairly simple idea and lets it effloresce over time. A standard 3-piece of bass drums and keys (sometime more than one track) and a few ambient sounds at times... these guys are a welcome change for those of us with a healthy attention span and genuine love of music.
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By moozak on March 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is great music.starts slow and builds and slows builds and slows its a journey.
Dark and moody. Improvised jazz but its great. These guys know each other so well they just play off each other.
they create this other worldly down tempo almost menacing music.
this is the soundtrack for stalking and killing, both scary and creepy.like nothing you have heard before. Dont listen if you are mentally unstable, or like the music of Justin Beaver.This is dangerous music.
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