The Necks are an experimentaljazz trio from Sydney, comprising Chris Abrahams on piano and Hammond organ, Tony Buck on drums, percussion and electric guitar, and Lloyd Swanton on bass guitar and double bass. The band, who are also well known in Europe, play improvisational pieces of up to an hour in length that explore the development and demise of repeating musical figures. The band's 17th album Open was released in late 2013.
Typically a live performance will begin very quietly with one of the musicians playing a simple figure. One by one, the other two will join with their own contributions—all three players independent yet intertwined. As the 'piece' builds through subtle micro-changes, the interaction of their instruments creates layers of harmonics and prismatic washes of sound that lead some to apply the genre label 'trance jazz'. Their live performances can be challenging for those expecting a conventional musical experience.
Their soundtrack for The Boys (1998) was nominated for ARIA Best Soundtrack Album, AFI Best Musical Score and Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award. They have also recorded soundtracks for What's The Deal? (1997) and In the Mind of the Architect (three one-hour ABC-TV documentaries, 2000).
Sex (Spiral Scratch, 1989 – reissued on Fish of Milk) – a single hour-long track of a two-bar motif with variations. This album was notable for the instrumentation of piano, bass and drums being overdubbed in a dual take, unlike later works
Next (Spiral Scratch, 1990 – reissued on Fish of Milk) – six tracks: "Garl's", "Nice Policeman Nasty Policeman", "Pele", "Next", "Jazz Cancer" and "World At War"
Beyond El Rocco (Vox, 1993) – Soundtrack to Kevin Lucas' documentary on Australian Jazz features one track by The Necks – "Royal Family"
Silent Night (Fish of Milk/Shock, 1996) – a double CD featuring two disc-length tracks, "Black" and "White"
Piano Bass Drums (Fish of Milk/Shock, 1998) – a single fifty-three-minute track, "Unheard", recorded live at the Basement, Sydney, with instrumentation restricted to piano, bass and drums. Nominated Jazz Recording of the Year, ABC Classic FM Awards
The Boys (original soundtrack) (Wild Sound/MDS, 1998 reissued on Fish of Milk)
Hanging Gardens (Fish of Milk/Shock, 1999) – a single disc-length track of the same name
Aether (Fish of Milk/Shock, 2001) – a single disc-length track of the same name. Notably more ambient than their other works
Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab (Fish of Milk/Shock, 2002) – four-CD box of four live performances, three in Australia and one in Austria (Athenaeum was recorded on 20 January 2001 at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne; Homebush was recorded on 26 January 2001 at the Southee Complex, Sydney; Quay was recorded on 31 January 1999 at the Basement, Sydney; and Raab was recorded on 30 March 2001 at Musikschule Raab, Austria)