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Hanging Gardens

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Album Review

Hanging Gardens, the Necks' seventh album, was first released in 1999 on their own label, Fish of Milk, and reissued by ReR Megacorp two years later for the European and American markets. There is a reason why the British avant-rock label chose this particular title: it is a lot more energy-driven. As usual, the CD is comprised of a single hour-long piece performed nonstop. Drummer Tony Buck lays down a fast-paced, highly danceable groove backed by Lloyd Swanton's insistent acoustic bassline. Both musicians add ornaments to the basic motif, but all in all nothing really changes over the course of 60 minutes. Chris Abrahams follows a 16-bar piano motif, typically simple and augmented by stabs of electric piano (through an echo box) and occasional organ sweeps early in the piece. Unlike Aether or even Piano Bass Drums, Hanging Gardens starts almost abruptly, with every element put into place quickly, reaches its cruising speed after seven minutes, and doesn't let go until five minutes before the end when things simmer down, leaving only a few notes on the Fender Rhodes. The music is as hypnotic as usual with the Necks, but it takes the form of an acoustic space/trance drive, something like Medeski, Martin & Wood meeting the Ozric Tentacles. It doesn't have the spellbinding power of Aether, but it makes a better introduction to the band. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Formed: Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Unclassifiable, the Necks stand aside any other musical act Australia has gave birth to. Neither jazz nor rock, this deceptive piano trio has kept a single line of conduct throughout its career. 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...
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Hanging Gardens, The Necks
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