The Necks are a unique and widely admired three-piece band who play distinctive improvised music. The group is Chris Abrahams on piano and Hammond organ, Tony Buck on drums, percussion and electric guitar and Lloyd Swanton on bass guitar and double bass. Their music is improvised around rhythmic or melodic patterns and one piece can be an entire CD. Aether is a masterpiece of their style.
Aether is The Necks' eighth album and consists of a single 'song' that is played for over an hour. Their music is often called improvisational jazz but could also be called ambient or even new age. As a listener you have the impression that the song is fully created on the spot and unlikely to be repeated. This effectively adds a sense of immediacy and drama and makes the recording seem more like a ritual than a mere performance. Even the title has magical overtones. 'Aether' is a reference in classical literature to the substance that fills the the universe above the earth.
Aether starts teasingly slowly with large spaces of silence. It's as if the song itself is being born, being breathed into life. As it progresses the voids are filled with washes of cymbal rolls, a pulsating double bass and delicate piano playing. The listener is teased into thinking the momentum and volume will increase but the band keep everything in check, creating a kind of sonic tension. Aether is possibly The Necks' most successful album.