I learned about The Necks in an interview with Michael Gira of the Swans in Mixdown. In it, Gira advises his interviewer to commit suicide because the ostensibly Australian interviewer had never heard of his fellow Aussies, The Necks. Gira can be so harsh. Who knew?
Moreover, who knew that The Necks really are that great, that you'd wonder, as I do now, why you never heard of them sooner? All those who captured the performances in the clips below deserve praise. This music has an unadorned and brooding quality to it. It's emotionally evocative rather than just purely aleatory and noisy. It's very human.
These musicians also clearly thrive from dwelling in this music, as they must play it night after night on tour. What a great musical space to spend so many untold hours! They manage to create this expansive sound out of only piano, double bass, and trap drums.
Live in Copenhagen (2013):
"The Royal Family" in Sydney (1989):
"Guelph" in Sydney (2008):
Incidentally, reading Gira interviews years ago introduced me to other greats. One is Charlemagne Palestine, whom I wrote about at length on this blog in a review of his L.A. concert in 2009. Another is the band Ulan Bator, who often have a similar sense of intensity and dynamics as The Necks.