May 22, 2024

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Minimal tantra: “The Necks” from Australia at the Hamburg: Video

Can you play in a famous concert hall without ever having rehearsed? The Necks from Australia do it in the Elbphilharmonie.

Attention, this concert report is 100 percent improvised, that is, formulated without thinking, and I put this only briefly in advance, so you will not be surprised when reading. Articles are usually thoughtful, not this one! I put word to word, and there is no back, no cuts, no subsequent overdubs. In a way, you can watch me write, and that does not necessarily have to be pleasant.

An experiment, well, how do you get that?

Guilt is a band that has now performed in the Elbphilharmonie without rehearsing. Piano, double bass and drums are on stage, three older men step into the light and go to their instruments. First of all, nothing happens. The drummer sorts his cutlery, the bassist tunes his instrument, which he could have done before. The pianist is sitting motionless in front of his grand piano. A fumbling-uneventful while passes. Then nobody moves anymore.

They not only did not rehearse; they also do not know what they are going to play now. Everything that comes now comes completely from the moment. That’s why they are famous in Australia and on every continent, so they invited them to Hamburg, to this most famous concert hall in the world, or at least Northern Germany, which is sold out as always, although a few seats are available in the front third of the Kleines Saal because of the cold wave. If someone coughed now!

But it remains silent, and the question is, who will start from the three, because the fact that they start all three at the same time seems to be excluded, because it would require a sign that no one can give in a band that renounces any organization.

Saws, saws, bells, bells

The pianist starts with a few notes in the upper register, which he repeats repeatedly. And this is how structure comes about: A sound may stand alone, two relate to each other and open up a space for more notes and the other players too. The bassist saws with the bow on the strings, the drummer slides bells through his fingers.
So it starts, and one gives the other, the other, repeated, repeated. No melodies, no harmonies, no rhythms, but Tremololololo, saws, saws, bells, bells, bells.

Is it possible to write a concert report without verbs? Here you have it. This music does not jump between thirds and fifths, no themes varies. It rises on the spot from repetition, gluing, compaction.

Now strange things, things, saws, saws, bells, bells, rubbing, rubbing, on the drums and the eardrums, the drummer stiff behind his pelvis, the pianist unmoved, a sounding accountant, respect, respect, tax audit!

No pieces, no interruption, further, further, louder, louder. Unmoved, the audience, except for those who go. Elbphilharmonie seen and bye.

What was that?

Eventually, my attention blurs. I am in sound, in a cloud of sounds. I’m floating inside, I’m dozing, I’m falling asleep for a while. Take a quick look at the clock, maybe at the moment when the bass drum beats for the first time, the clock indicates an eternity.

The music swells in minute slowness to a minimal altar, crowned by the thousand bosoms that tireless carpenters have milled into the wooden walls of the Small Hall, ostensibly for the purpose of perfect sound diffusion.

A carpenter’s fantasy or pure acoustics?

The thousandfold arched Saalwand

After three quarters of an hour the Tonschwall suddenly collapses, it comes to an organically expiring conclusion. Gosh, what was that?

“Thank goodness,” someone behind me says. He is leaving now. The three musicians recommend themselves in the break. Then they play a piece, I think it’s not as good as the first one. But who am I and what is good?

Afterwards they sell their music in the foyer, big demand. The bassist can barely sip his red wine. I buy the first record they ever recorded and that was a long time ago, because they’ve been playing together for 31 years. The three older men sign the album under their photo showing three young men: pianist Chris Abrahams, bassist Lloyd Swanton, drummer Tony Buck. The plate is called sex.

Elbphilharmonie
: The Necks aus Australien in der Hamburger Elbphilharmonie

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