THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Recorded In Public & Private
S@1#4/IND124

The first full length, recorded in 1994. Showing the influence of AMM, as well as A Handful Of Dust’s then contemporary Concord LP. Titles on side A taken fm the writing of William T. Vollmann. Generic LP sleeve is a piss-take mash-up of Sun Ra’s El Saturn + BYG actuel LP sleeves fr B. Coley + T. Moore’s short-lived ass run series.

Can't quite recall, but I'm pretty sure this one hit the streets before Hoichi, which makes it the debut No Neck LP in some senses. Thurston had hauled me up to see them play in their loft a couple of times, and the way they went about creating sounds totally nailed me. At this point, their music felt almost ceremonial to me, although since there were some heavy record-scum types in their midst, it seemed probably they were referencing people like AMM, Harvester and Don Cherry's Organic Music Society whether they meant to or not. The sequence of musical events and the way different players moved in and out of silence was utterly amazing, and it was clear the stuff needed to be documented as thoroughly as possible. At the time -- crazy as it may now seem -- we were concerned that this music, which seemed to rise straight from mysterious internal depths, might come and go without anyone noticing.

~ Byron Coley


Initially, I could only wrap my head about halfway around this, the first NNCK lp I encountered. Rather than a face peel-off, it presented a new kind of a slow-creeping electricity...something I wasn't accustomed to finding while on the hunt for all-out bombast improvisation. There were plenty of half machine beard moves all over this motherfucker to make you imagine their source being simultaneously more and less human than what was behind most other music or noise or whatever. (And just what the hell is that scratching all over the "Ghost of Magnetism," anyhow?). That beautiful confusion only intensified when I saw them live a few months later, all huddled together, a singular mass in low light--something like Rubens' Feast of Simon the Pharisee, Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, or a bunch of hobos around a trashcan fire, depending on your point of reference.

~ Chris Corsano


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Hoichi
S@1#1/IND125

it is recounted this event to an audience of ghosts as strings slap waves against the hull and fingers grating flagpole not coil wrapped wire drip foam and brine to a cacophonous upheaval of real sound. Then air is silent but for the soft resonating of wood, and the ship sails further out to sea.

'mimi-nashi hoichi' is 'hoichi the earless' , the doomed protagonist of the japanese ghost story of the same name. this, in english, appears as the first story in lafcadio hearn's 'kwaidan', and tells the story of a blind biwa player who is summoned by a spirit messenger to play before a royal court of ghosts. he recites for them the epic of a great battle at sea, using his biwa to "...sound like the straining of oars and the rushing of ships, the whirr and the hissing of arrows, the shouting and the trampling of men, the crashing of steel upon helmets, the plunging of slain in the flood". because he was blind, he could not know that he had not been conducted to a royal court of worldly splendor, but rather to a graveyard, where mortally alone he played amidst countless oni-bi, the spectral fires of the dead. when the priest of the temple where hoichi resided became aware of his blind friend's nocturnal sojourn, he ventured to save him from his haunting by inscribing in ink the text of the holy sutra 'hannya-shin-kyo' on hoichi's body, and bading him to remain completely still and silent at the event of his next summoning. to quote from hearn's footnote: "Apropos of the magical use of the text, as described in this story, it is worth remarking that the subject of the sutra is the Doctrine of the Emptiness of Forms--that is to say, of the unreal character of all phenomena or noumena. ...'Form is emptiness; and emptiness is form. Emptiness is not different from form; form is not different from emptiness. What is form--that is emptiness. What is emptiness, that is form... Perception, name, concept, and knowledge are also emptiness... There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind...'". this inscription renders hoichi invisible to ghost retainer who comes to summon him, all, that is, but for his ears, which in oversight had not been incribed with scripture. so, as they were seen by the ghost retainer to be hovering disembodied in space, they were taken, that is they were torn from his head, thus stigmatizing him for antiquity...'hoichi the earless'. soon after nnck's inception (1993) we inquired as to the japanese translation of the band's name, fascinated as we were then with hijo kaidan ('emergency stairs') and omoide hatoba ('harbor of memories'). We were told that that there was only a phonetic translation of the word 'blues', and that the concept, in japanese, was elusive. it was yamatsuka eye who half-jokingly suggested 'kubi-nashi hoichi' ('hoichi the neck-less') as a possibility, thus drawing our attention to the legend of hoichi and the resonance aspects of the story held with our approach to and experience of nnck. "There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind...'". and so, there is no neck.

Matchbook style gatefold LP sleeves individually silkscreened by Kristin Anderson of Poon Village, recorded in 1994.

Ten copies of the test pressing of this LP were “released” with an alternate package, each featuring the following thank you list hand etched into the exterior, as well as an x-ray of Byron Coley’s broken ribs:

(Third Ear Band, Flower Travellin' Band, Tibetan Blue Air Liquid Band, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Badfoot Brown & The Bunions Bradford Funeral & Marching Band)

Hoichi? Means "how does it feel to feel." A synaesthetic diddling. A deflowering of the mind, you understand - nothing dirty. I heard blue and silver for weeks! Like bells, or maybe chimes, ringing out.

~ Dean Blackwood


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Singles
A set of 7" singles comprising :
Live (No NNCK Death EP) 7"
The Math Of Crack 7"
The Clearing 7"

S@1#3/IND126

The first release. Recorded live in 1994 at 28 Avenue B at a benefit fr the Collective Unconscious (formerly the Gargoyle Mechanique Lab). NNCK had done a few shows here (notably our first, supporting Circle X), + wld go on to host the “this other music” series at this venue, fm which the record shop on 4th street wld take its name. On this auspicious occasion, there were 20 or so bands + no promoter, leaving each band to fend for themselves. NNCK did so, in guerilla feedback fashion, resulting in a fistfight w local paramilitary junkie singing group the WAR HIPPIES, captured in audio verite at the end of side B (side A runs out on a sample of “Shinobi” fm In the Name of Suffering by EyeHateGod, who were a good band).

NNCK, when we least expected it, set up shop in the downtown “living music” scene and ruled it by following no rules. We immediately wanted to document what may have been impossible to locate, but with primordial desire and passion, the collective came through, albeit in no-compromise fashion: A 7” of an unruly, somewhat non-indicative and reverse-charmed performance, 100 copies, in custom cardboard sleeves. Anything for the religion of resplendence. Long live the queen. Noise is God.

~Thurston Moore

Ecstatic Peace records + tapes


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Math Of Crack 7"
S@1#2/IND126


The pre-curser to A TABU 2, + the first document of NNCK as a collectivity. By now we had heard the Destroy All Monsters archival set, + were of a mind to follow suit. Gigs around this time w United Noise, Dona Velasquez & The Gag Reflex, Temple of Bon Matin + an apocryphal Shit Spangled Banner.



THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Clearing 7"
S@1#5/IND126


Further collective explorations, made at the behest of Graham Lambkin of The Shadow Ring. Packaging is a collaboration betwixt dry leaf discs + s@1. Titles (excepting “the clearing”) taken fm Milorad Pavic’s novel The Dictionary of the Khazars. “Shaitan’s Fingering” shows the influence of Limbus 3. The last ostensibly available single we wld produce.

I first encountered The No-Neck Blues Band during the summer of 1995. Tom Lax had told me about them - how they somehow sounded like a mix of AMM/Godz - I was intrigued. The Shadow Ring played a show that June at The Cooler and afterwards I was approached by Keith. We had a nice chat, and I told him I was looking to do a non-Shadow Ring record for my then label Dry Leaf Discs and invited NNCK to send something. A few weeks later the tapes for the 7" arrived and we proceeded as planned. Keith and I collaborated on the sleeve art and we pressed up 500. It was a very exciting record to work on, and I still maintain it well represents the group in their early raw peak before the bongos and beads took over.

~ Graham Lambkin


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Languid Red Marchetti
S@1#6/IND127

Archival recordings fm ’94, released by this offshoot of Alga Marghen. Dedicated to Bruce Witsiepe, our earliest mentor.

See link below to essay included as insert w original LP:





THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Lathes
A set of 8" lathe-cut EPs comprising :
Cum / Thinner 7" (S@1#7)
Ink / Sweat(S@1#8)
Piss / Oil(S@1#9)
Blood / Vapor 7" (S@1#10)

S@1#7-10/IND129


LSD specifically unmoors perceptual restraint, such as that structure or meaning no longer amount to cognitive goals, at least not a structure or a meaning that is generally acknowledged as real.

to enliven the figmentary places + to cause shadow to shine
to derail the train of thoughts, running the narrow track + to spread the heart like gas
+ to rest in the house of spirals



THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Raise The High Roof Beams, Carpenter
A track recorded with Violent Onsen Geisha in 1994 and released on the CD compilation Vidas Ilustres with Bananafish Magazine #11, with artwork by Margaret Murray).
BF11/IND130

A track recorded in 1995 in collaboration w VIOLENT ONSEN GEISHA, whose Otis CD rivals XHOL’s Motherfuckers GmbH & Co KG + the KLF’s Chill Out as the greatest surrealistic collage record ever made.


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Large Taquat
S@1#25/IND131

Recorded at the first NNCK studio 195 Chrystie St, NYC, 1996.

UN/normal tongues and confounding blasts--you sense the Wolf--at times as great/greater than mr. Seven speed-slapping his forehead while licking the shiny carpet of elastic temperatures invoking the holy trinity of viscosity, void and vacarme.......quite staggering...

~ Joseph Frivaldi




THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Circle Broken
S@1#32/IND132

Self released cassette conceived + executed by JLM of NNCK, preserving fr posterity two occasions where the entire group was not present, in 1995, a situation which wld eventually precipitate K-Salvatore, Enos Slaughter, The Suntanama, Izititiz, Amolvacy, Decimus, Rhyton, Llilw Gray & sundry others.

I don’t have a copy of this cassette, nor have I ever heard the music on it.

Despite this, I suppose I’m qualified to write this based on three things. A) I’ve been in a number of group/band/things involving members of this band without it ever actually being this band proper B) I experienced umpteen NNCK performances from the era shortly following the release of this cassette C) I wrote an overly long masters thesis that was largely centered on the folks that play here.

A) Some of these groups involved Izititiz (free jazz/acting out/wiggling around with doll heads and in double bass cases), Enos Slaughter (bombastic psychedelic head trauma and plucking), early Malkuth (minimal meditative BM in Latin), Vrkolak (semi-mathematic costumed and coded metal) and some shit with a suitcase full of money and a bolted together tree that went down in an art gallery.

This is getting long, so it seems like B) and C) are beyond the scope of this writing, but what A) suggests is that the band playing on this cassette is comprised of an unusual group of individuals with widely deviating interests that have somehow managed to keep a band together for nearly twenty years despite some very strong, cantankerous, idiosyncratic and idealistic personalities with divergently specific ideas. Each is able to do his or her own thing outside of the proper group or in sub-groups in a pretty gravitational and aggressive way, but somehow the group itself has remained evolving, glued and, seemingly, honest. The music on this cassette is probably good and, if it’s not, I can assure you that the process that went into its creation probably was. Though I’m not sure what the difference is.

~ C. Thornton


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
A Tabu Two 1
S@1#35/IND134

Here the first set of two themed LPs, each sold separately (in the manner of the domestic release of the Incredible String Band’s Wee Tam + The Big Huge), a presentation we wld return to repeatedly over the years. These LPs are manifest evidence of the “Chainless Mystery” of Jean Crotti and Suzanne Duchamp’s TABU, which sought “To break the thread which ties us to matter” + “To travel the spheres of Universes + Infinities”. A self-proclaimed movement with no adherents, TABU remains largely unconsidered. Recorded in 1995-96.

More on Jean Crotti and Suzanne Duchamp’s TABU :



There are folkloric aspects to the avant-garde that are much the same as in other so-called vernacular musics: function within a particular community, learning and refining an aesthetic through performance / ritual, awareness of and (one would hope) expansion on that which has come before.  Within this there are different schools; William Parker has noted that some improvisers have what he calls a "street approach." This method certainly contains, but is not overly confined by, intellect.

There was an abundance of energy in and around NNCK at this time. Things were changing quickly. Personnel was still slightly in flux. Individual voices were often difficult to pinpoint, even while watching the music being created. It was a charged atmosphere, attracting other musicians, visual artists, writers, and enthusiasts. The music that resulted both reflected and influenced the environment.

When the Tabus came out, they already seemed to be from the distant past, postcards from where the group had traveled but had long since left by the time they were received. They evoke and serve as signposts for those heady, often unpredictable times, and document a band eager to make its contribution.

~ Adam Lore
50 Miles of Elbow Room
Brooklyn, NY
March 2013

THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
A Tabu Two 2
S@1#35/IND134

The second Tabu Two recording was from the 2nd show I put on with NNCK at my dad Abe Lubelski's loft space at 473 Broadway, back when Soho was raw and cheap-o by the footage. The first one had been wild - controlled chaos -  bodies sprawling, running the length. The invisible mind threads resulting in a pile of instruments in the center of the room. This show was a more smoldering - summer of '96 -  afternoon affair, what I tend to think of as the 2nd phase of NNCK, with (the new presence of) Jeff Ryan (Michiko was yet to join), standing front and center. The room was very white and light - Keith had covered all the art with sheets. The physical explosiveness of the earlier show simmering into a thing with more heat, more stillness.  The same deep, focused intent, concentrated and contained.  And the oneness of the group feel. Groups within groups, mind within mind... Mesmerizing, and so great...

~ Samara Lubelski


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Letters From The Earth
S@1#2627/IND135

The first compact disc, recorded on the rooftop of 264 Canal Street on Orthodox Easter 1996 by Bryan Leitgeb. Features a guest appearance by Tamio Shiraishi on alto sax. Album title taken fm Mark Twain, track titles “Cosmos” + “John the Baptist” taken fm the Witold Gombrowitz novella + Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, respectively. This concert, lasting 4+ hours, marks the turning point of NNCK as mythology in real-time. By largely eschewing “proper” venues, we wld come to exist phenomenally, w performance describing space rather than vice versa. The proscribed role of the “audience” wld now include the “public”, ideally out of doors, where we found the results of documentary recording also yielded far greater results. Musically we were here mirroring Älgarnas Trädgård, among others.

264 Canal street was a melting pot to execute ideas that would push anybody anywhere else over the edge. there were artists and there was an audience and the limit was unspokenly understood as limitless--somewhere to the point where one can still stand stay to watch and listen... On canal street in my work, often I approached new directions as "what would be the most embarrassing piece of art one can make?" and it found a team of mad individuals who were up for the same drive. there were dirty negotiations that led us to divine "nothing is impossible" only to learn in time that to hold onto this type of practice is not possible... there were lobsters crawling all over the bed just couple of weeks before a shielded bedroom jam session was open to the public... but really NNCK easters were the anniversaries that marked the time we had passed there.

~ Rita Ackermann


The first time I met NNCK as a group they were playing with Royal Trux at The Mercury Lounge. But I had actually met most of them at various earlier times when I thought at each meeting I was talking to the lead representative from the band or just some person who was hanging out backstage or just someone with no shadow. When NNCK took the stage that night, then, it was like a convention of characters from disparate dreams I'd had appearing together, interacting and uniting.

Semi-rock-related performance collectives, typically, evolve into vehicles for one key individual, or they get weird and become families. These things can't last beyond a natural span. Only the best can manage to "tread lightly upon this earth, seeing, understanding but never imposing." We're lucky with NNCK because we have a self-directed audio chronicle-- rare that it happens and rarer that we have the opportunity to learn from it.

~Neil Michael Hagerty


I received Letters from the Earth couple of weeks after mailing well hidden cash in an envelope to Blackjack Records somewhere in America. The process of getting far out sounds is different now. The little information available about NNCK around my cave was baffling and a fine lesson in (non)publicity as an art form. Got the won't-be-facing-mysteries-like-that-no-more blues. I don't really remember what the album sounds like. Electric wind and some rain drops on drum skins? I can easily recall the heavy poetry of the whole package though and the vertiginous time bending & ear opening effect. It's a statement that keeps giving.

~ Jan Anderzen


Ironically, this CD wld reach the widest audience to date, garnering some reviews, including this one in Ugly American:



THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Letters From The Serth
S@1#42/IND136

The second CD release, recorded again on the roof of 264 Canal St on Orthodox Easter 1997, this time to an audience of no one. The first release to feature an un-interrupted performance in its entirety.



THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
At 6AM We Become The Police
S@1#99/IND137


The soundtrack to the unreleased film by Adam Egypt Mortimer, comprised in part of unused music commissioned fr the Harmony Korine film Gummo. This LP also documents the first session w Michiko X, aka mico, then rounding out the complete NNCK line up.

In the battered nation we have lost ourselves to hunger and spite, as birds sing false starts and motives are questioned what i have noticed is not the great divides that separate us and torn folly from foe but the callous human stations that seem to be so common these days. there is too much sense ringing in the ears of donkeys, there is not enough worship to constitute our divinity, there are many people thinking of hidden gods with vendettas and murky pasts, and if the battered nation is seeming lame and broken then all hope can not be lost. there are still dreamers amongst us, there are still great untold riches to rags stories, men who have lost it all with pride, way out glass eaters, performers and mentalists free on bail, there are still those who are happiest in the shadows, men and women who know each other by their smells and cadences. they exist without time, they have given it all up for a riddle and a ride, the masters of the stringless banjo, human pigeons whose lives are lived in the sand and rain, the bums who play Bach on tin cans when no one is looking . these are them and i have known them since they were boys, I have seen them play on rooftops and highways, always funeral music and minstrel parlor drones that celebrate air and spirits. they do not give up and continue to play every day, here in the battered nation…"

~ Harmony Korine


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Live At Ken's Electric Lake
S@1#4849/IND138


The first piece of fan mail NNCK ever received was a videotape, not even mailed to our own P.O. Box address, but care of Alan Licht … which was strange because just about the only legible information on our cd was our P.O. Box address. The videotape contained footage of a group of young men setting fire to a fish in a porch mailbox in a rural, snowy environment, simultaneously smoothing things over with a concerned passerby, all soundtracked with the most alienating high-pitched tones from our Letters From The Earth CD.The tape ended with an infomercial for KISS action figures.

Mystified, we tracked down the sender, one Ayal Senior of Toronto, Canada, and eventually made our way to visit him on our tour with the Sunburned Hand of the Man. To counter our urban maxim of Not Playing Nowhere Never, on tour we adopted the credo of All Playing Everywhere Always, which after meeting up with Senior, required renting a generator and driving out to the middle of the woods to play a concert for nobody.

Not exactly nobody, as Ken, the caretaker of the property on which we'd been trespassing, happened upon our woodland jam, and obviously having previous “experience,” invited us for a grand tour of the palatial grounds in his Jeep. We saw the white mansion, the hedge maze, and all of us took a dip in the walled garden fountain, one of us losing his wedding ring in the muck.

Worth Seeing :



Live @ Ken's Electric Lake featured NNCK (sans Michiko) in collaboration with Adam Mortimer (aka Egypt is the Magick #, aka Mr. Egypt, here Mystery Gypped) & Chad Cooper & myself from Sunburned Hand of the Man as The Clear People. Clear People, incidentally, was the moniker I had originally chosen for Sunburned but rejected out of concern that it might be interpreted as a Scientology reference...

I am struck now, upon reflection, that this album was recorded five years after NNCK's inception, yet it would take another five full years before the terms Free-Folk, Freak-Folk & New Weird America would be coined in the attempt to contextualize this approach to sound creation (alongside other, quite different approaches) for an audience at large. I recall long conversations with Keith from this era where we discussed our excitement with the unusual circumstance we then believed applied to our respective groups; that we were, in fact, participating in a genre of music that in many ways did not actually exist. I found operating on a platform relatively devoid of expectations & definitions liberating &, for me, this period seemed particularly fertile, filled with limitless scenarios of what might ultimately be possible & with no clear end to the horizon.

I remain satisfied that this album achieved a goal that seemed tacitly agreed upon (from my perspective) by all parties involved - to create a document of sounds & energies rendered from a modern stance, yet deeply informed by similar explorations from the past, thus generating a historical ambiguity which imbued the content with a greater chance of reaching into the future to stimulate & hold meaning for listeners in the years to come.

The packaging of this album is significant in that the inner gatefold contained the first photograph of the group to be included within a NNCK release. This photo was not, in fact, taken at Ken's Electric Lake, but was made approx. 36 hours later, at dawn in Ithaca, N.Y.

The previous night had seen an attempt to make another outdoor recording with the same line up on the edge of a lake in Ithaca, this time with all involved under the influence of psychedelics. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers were called upon to stop this particular endeavor shortly after it began, but those curious to hear the results are urged to consult the "Hog's Hole" / "Siriusly" 7" released with some copies of the
Ever Borneo! LP (S@1 63 / Ser 203) as well as track one from Egypt is the Magick #'s How Many Pieces of the Puzzle Can the Mind Go Without?" CD (S@1 51 / Psych-O-Path Records).

Robert J. Thomas
Sacramento CA 2013


I have heard the interval of a sound to the sound.
It can be buried among very important moments between something all the time.
I can not explain what the interval is.
The space is full of intervals, too.
An interval is space.
For example, where will be the sound between a keyboard and the keyboard of the piano which showed a Western musical scale properly?
There is it, in the feeling of the person to play and hears it at the moment that there cannot be sometimes.
It sounded like NO NECK BLUES. Thank you.

YOSHIMIO


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Birth Of Both Worlds
S@1#4647/IND139


Disc 1: We'd traveled to industrial Somerville, Mass in 1998 for a 24-hour jam fest with the Sunburned Hand of the Man at their loft space of epic bohemia. They took the night shift while we took the day shift. There was a swingers' orgy booked in one of the other spaces in the building, so a number of wrong-address sex lizards in tight clothing got to meet a bunch of dirty hippies with big record collections. It was a groovy meet cute, but the longhair faction waited too long to get up the dutch courage to knock on that dungeon door upstairs.

In the morning the bleary-eyed Band took to the roof under a wind-whipped tarp to hastily perform their set before the rain came in. The cops beat 'em to it and closed down the show after only a few minutes. After dragging all of our equipment back downstairs, a fellow loft troglodyte asked “Hey are you guys on acid?” and after blank response, added “Well, do you wanna be?” A volunteer was quickly nominated to “test the batch” and another 24-hours was spent peeling said volunteer off the ceiling.

Disc 2: The third annual Orthodox Easter outdoor performance in 1998 found the band in the right place at the wrong time. Rain had postponed the event into the seasonal occupation of the 79th Street Boat Basin by a hamburger stand operated by a militant non-music-lover. Not long into the performance, power cords were cut, fists went flying, the Parks Department arrived, permits went missing and for the second time in a row, the Band were sent packing early. A New York Times reporter happened to be in the audience and the whole thing got written up as another “Jazz Attacks” incident.

New York Times metro section article:



Sounds like the interstellar fuel that your antique spaceship glides on in the saturated cosmic jungle. Or the unholy mix of electronic Miles and Sun Ra with the kraut sounds of the late 60s early 70s marinating in loin cloth polyamourous mucous mandalas.

These urban bushmen clamor their way through the third eye thicket with swagger and stealth, grace and defiance. Both of these respective concerts were 'public and free' ...showcasing that back to nature attitude could be felt among the clouds of the city and nips and nobs can be a fashion statement for the day's youth... that is until the cops disperesed both performances and the people had to scatter with nary a fig leaf dragging behind them back to their sacrificial alters through the exit portal...

~ Hisham Mayet


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Re: "Mr. A Fan...
TMQ638/IND140

"Look, either we play in Detroit on July 4th (1998), or we are just gonna go play in the woods in Canada.” I had no choice. It was my patriotic duty to hook up the No-Neck Blues Band with a very sexy benefactor, and make sure that they had some gas money and some food, as they played as part of a free festival on the grounds of Detroit Contemporary, a friendly neighborhood art gallery. DC was a stone’s throw off the beaten path, close enough to points of population density that a handful of the cognoscenti and some stragglers showed up to partake in the all-day-long fun. Brad Hales and Steve Kenney deejayed, playing the Bubblepuppy’s “Hot Smoke N Sassafrass” a half-dozen times, mixed in with other crazy psych, funk, post-punk and soul. Were some Nicodemus sides getting played? It’s all a little hazy.

We were able to bum-rush the bill: the No Necks (the evening’s closers, outdoors in the adjacent field, no less), Sunburned Hand of the Man, Monster Island … who else? Universal Indians? Wolf Eyes? Nautical Almanac? I think they all played. I appropriated a detail from a Bruce Conner drawing and made a poster for this, but failed to save a single one from this most momentous day. Sunday, July 4th, 1999. Maybe you picked up an extra flier that you can spare?

Already playing at this festival were some of Detroit’s best: the Immigrant Suns, Outrageous Cherry, Gaffle, the Clone Defects, and the Piranhas. It was a very fun day, like the best Fourth Street Fair ever, or a Dally in the Alley with 100% awesome bands. But there were dangerous sparks around too. Upon our arrival, a tiki torch greeted us. From the sky. Descending and spearing the ground about ten feet away. This was the Piranhas, finishing up their set, causing a predictable shitstorm at the one Detroit venue they had yet to be banned from – an empty field next to an art gallery.

Like a palindrome, these dangerously blurred boundaries between performer and audience would pop up at the tail end of the day, capping the performance by our heroes. By the time the No-Necks took to the outdoor stage, at 12:30AM, most people were mellowed out. Lying in the grass. Taking in the NNCK sounds. A police cruiser, quiet like a breeze, whirred by with flashers on and siren off, speeding north on Rosa Parks Boulevard, oblivious to the communal sounds and energy. Most people were mellow. Most people.

A microphone had been set up on the ground by the band to record the performance, about 15 feet or so in front of the stage. At some point in the No-Neck set, one local spotted the mike, and viewed this as an invitation to jam. Or to recite his poetry. Or to air grievances. Open mike. Unattended mike. Said local approached the mike, kneeled down to it, and proceeded to speak/sing/shout/swear. John Fell Ryan and the towering piece of bleached driftwood he had been carrying around for years stepped in to stop this nonsense. As has been an occasional plot turn throughout the years in the NNCK story, trouble ensued.

Strangely enough, the turmoil doesn’t seep into the recordings. Why not? Censorship? Careful editing? Does the expansive sound coming from the No-Neck Blues Band communal tribe mind / inner space dwarf the drama? Who knows? I’ll never forget Keith Connolly (or was it David Nuss?) tut-tutting the turmoil with a mock-portentous, dismissive pronouncement: “All along the watchtower …”

I always hoped that I’d hear that moment again, buried on the fake bootleg “Re: Mr. A ‘Fan.’” Who knows what was muttered into the mike? Where was the scuffle in the blue vinyl groove? Is it in the space between “A Little Piece of the Sky” and “It’s the Fourth of July”? It’s certainly in our memories – absurd and mysterious and for me, eminently listenable. And it’s immortalized in one of the photographs on one of the four covers of “Re: ‘Mr A Fan.’” “Our Iwo Jima, as it were,” maintains one of the Detroit perps, proudly. I don’t know if the opposing forces ever made up, but these memories continue to provide plenty of laughs, especially around July 4th of every year. If the scuffle ever was released as a 45, it’d certainly be a hit on the jukebox at the Outer Limits Lounge.

There seemed to be some inter-band turmoil that day, too. Jason left the performance area in something of a huff, to walk around the other side of the building, where he ended up jamming with some African drummers, including Efe Bes, who had contributed to the Monster Island performance earlier in the day.

Things subsided in the balmy night (77 degrees Fahrenheit) and it ended calmly. The next day the No-Neck Blues Band hottailed it out of Detroit and hit the Great White North (presumably for side two, but you never know).

Light-headed and good,

~ Greg Baise
4/3/13


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones But Names Will
Never Hurt Me

S@1#50/IND141

Sometime in 1999 we were contacted by Dean Blackwood of Revenant Records, asking us if we wld be interested in hosting John Fahey at our Hint House compound in Harlem, with an eye toward a US tour with NNCK to follow. We agreed, + upon meeting Fahey in raybans at JFK it was clear that our lives wld never quite be the same. After doing a few shows w him in NY, it was decided that NNCK wld make a record fr Revenant, which was Fahey’s label. In order to rise to this auspicious occasion, we enlisted the legendary 60’s underground record producer Jerry Yester, whose work fr Zal Yanovsky, Tims Buckley + Dawe, + his own Farewell Aldebaran + Rosebud LPs w his wife Judy Henske we considered to be visionary. The results mark the fulcrum upon which the NNCK legacy rests. Originally packaged in a custom plexiglass + branded wooden package, + named by Edwin Pouncey of Wire magazine as his choice fr the best record of 2001.

Sticks and Stones was the first project in my newly constructed studio, Willow Sound, deep in the Ozarks of NorthWest Arkansas, 1999.

I should’ve stopped right there. NNCK floated into town on a vapor, and left the same way (Not without the notice of the local constabulary, who hassled them on their way out, for… “Bein’….just too differnt!"). They left, but not before making the most unusually creative pieces of work I’ve ever been fortunate enough to’ve been involved with. At a time when most bands ran the gamut from “A” to “B”, These folks invented a whole new alphabet! From seemingly Old Blues, to Primordial Soup. Many Musical forms will improvise the content in a given framework; with them the framework was up for grabs. Everyone should be this much fun to work with.

~ Jerry Yester


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
For Russia with Love
S@1/IND155

An outtake from the Sticks and Stones session.







THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Intonomancy
S@1#64/IND142

Intonomancy (n.): divination by means of mutually reflexive, non-idiomatic soundings of instruments, devices, and spontaneous utterance, kept in a closed group of practicing individuals. this is to be repeated at strategic intervals, based upon impulse, and it is to be documented, cataloged and published in a likewise fashion. preconceived notions must be sublimated, if not exposed unadorned and executed (put to death). no one idea may take precedence.

The second “studio” CD, recorded by Matt Szwed in the basement of a storefront in Bensonhurst, 2002.

Original text insert :



it's free jazz without any semblance of solos or showboating. all for one. individual personalities fade into the whole...

i remember seeing NNCK around the time this record came out. the band seemed to summon and revel in some discomfort in the room, to a certain extent. NNCK seemed to tap into the general vibe of the room and worked to change it, taking it somewhere else. i was also struck by the fact that there were actual musicians from different disciplines playing expressive and deep experimental music, not just doing the "moaning into a delay pedal" trick that i had been seeing at most every other show at that time. also, when i first started spending time in nyc in 2000, i was stopped on the street and asked many times if i was a member of NNCK, which is how I first found out about the band. i'm still not sure which member people thought i was...

~ Mick Barr


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Ever Borneo!
w/ : Mount Analog "Burney Toppins" 7"
Hog's Hole "Siriusly" 7"
S@1#6062/IND143


Ethnographic segments + site recordings, a “glance-trap w indications”, published by Seres in 2003. Features the first documentation of NNCK at the Hint House, a since razed three story walkup once located at 638 w 131st street in Harlem, as well as segments recorded in Columbus Park in Chinatown NYC + at Taco Land in San Antonio, TX.

Originally housed in a cloth bound + embossed jacket manufactured in Reykjavik, Iceland by Oddi. Included two single sided inserts printed on light blue 8.5" by 11" cardstock. Each copy of original LP also came w one of two “related” 7”s, either "Burney Toppins" by Mount Analog (SER 202) or "Siriusly" by Hog's Hole (SER 203). As the LP came shrink-wrapped, the buyer cld not know which 7" they wld get until opening the package (both singles included w album download.)


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Sakura Melody
NoCat/IND144

Recorded 2003, Sakura Park NYC.

I looked forward to gathering with friends on the hill in early spring for the Sakura Park gigs every year. Kieth said they were timed with Orthodox Easter and the Equinox but these performances were their own kind of cosmological event that conjured spring out of New York City winters year after year. The ground was usually cold underneath our feet where new grass sprouted and kids ran around sometimes interacting with the performance. In a trance, Dave might drop an instrument a few yards from some kid who'd join the band and the new universe being born in Sakura Park that day. Some people would get up and dance and in another part of the park not far away Mico would wail for the tree blossoms to open and for the grass sprouts to come up on the hilltop there in the shadow of Riverside church and Grants Tomb. NNCK recorded the 'Sakura Melody' that they had performed for the plants and people in the park that cool spring day and the recording was included in the first volume of the Music for Plants compilation. 'Sakura Melody' was joined by tracks from Sunburned Hand of the Man, David Grubbs, Ariel Pink, Z's, Jutta Koether, Alan Licht and Tom Verlaine, Black Dice, Arto Lindsay, Carter Thornton and Christian Marclay among others.

~ Peter Coffin


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Parallel Easters
S@1#7071/IND145

Recorded on the HintHouse roof (tracks 1-4) & Sakura Park, NYC (tracks 5-11), each Sunday after the first full moon in Spring, 1999-2003.

“The word Easter is widely believed to be derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon dawn goddess Eostre who may, in turn, have had her origins in the Greek pagan goddess of the dawn Eos. However the Orthodox Church and much of the rest of the Christian world uses "Pascha", which comes from the Hebrew term for Passover -- Pesach -- the observance of Jews' Exodus from slavery in Egypt. The formula used by the Eastern Orthodox church to determine the date of Pascha has its roots in the First Ecumenical Council, which was convened in 325 A.D. in the city of Nicea. It utilizes the Julian calendar that was in use in the time of Christ. It additionally takes into account the date of the Jewish Passover, but calculates it according to the method used by Jews during Christ's life.” – Anastasios Gounaris.

The Paschal full moon is designated and made the honorific of the season: namely the first full moon following the vernal equinox, but always allowing for the celebration of Passover to precede. The Gregorian and Julian calendars vie for attention, each getting hooked upon a lunar fence in turn.

Separated by four years, these recordings demarcate an odd celebration in lapsed time. Cherry blossom gazebo is blown through a glaring wind, crossing toward the tomb, which is found emptied through plunder. The acoustic ejecting rooftop of 131 paints itself metallic and warmth soaks through the socks of all involved. A funeral fountain of aural urine is atomized and inhaled by the unwitting. 48 hours of coma follow in sudden fashion.

THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
First Kingdom Of The Ghost
S@1#69/IND146

Recorded live in NY and London, 2003. Album title is in reference to The Tables of the Law by W.B. Yeats, which contains the following passage:

Just as poets and painters and musicians labour at their works, building them with lawless and lawful things alike, so long as they embody the beauty that is beyond the grave, these children of the Holy Spirit labour at their moments with eyes upon the shining substance on which Time has heaped the refuse of creation; for the world only exists to be a tale in the ears of coming generations; and terror and content, birth and death, love and hatred, and the fruit of the Tree, are but instruments for that supreme art which is to win us from life and gather us into eternity like doves into their dove-cots.

In its entirety :



My friend Ray from Fossils From The Sun had been telling me about NNCK for awhile but being from DC it took me awhile to catch them live but I finally did in 2004. They played a space near the then-new, hyper-shitty Convention Center downtown and they totally delivered. They started it off by ratcheting a cluster of sound from a bunch of paper bags and from there they just kept clearing space in the best possible way. They made the idea of not having a neck seem like less like a defect than the bonus you’d get from finally being free of that interminable discussion between the brain and the body. Later I got First Kingdom of the Ghost off them and listening to it always just reinforces what I thought that night - there are varieties of freedom specific to the moments you create them in and trying to get to them is the best work there is. NNCK do good work.

~ Guy Picciotto


When we went into that church in London 2003 and met NNCK it was like doors opened up and suddenly it felt like almost everything was possible. Trad Gras och Stenar had restarted maybe 10 years before that at a low speed, but when we met NNCK in that church, the first time ever outside Scandinavia for the band, a lot of pieces just fell into their right places.

NNCK's attitude towards music and art, with their monotone and ”shamanstic” output, like some tribe around the fire letting out both good and evil ghosts, was something that reminded us of when we once started as a band back in the late 60s. Up until now we had felt very isolated and certainly questioned our existence.It was like some kind of homecoming, but out into a new world meeting these farout guys. NNCK were pushing and stretching the boundaries. We found some affinity and brotherhood with them and a strong feeling of the world beeing connected despite different continents. A brotherhood and friendship that until this day remains just as strong and important. "

~ Jakob Sjöholm


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Dutch Money
S@1#68/IND147

Recorded live by Berry Kamer at VPRO in Amsterdam in 2002. Title a paean to the bygone era of the florin/guilder + how much less it cost to make this record than the second SUPERSISTER LP. Wld later play a significant role as merch on the “Take yr goods + go” tour.



THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Pulse
Bastet006/IND148



Recorded at the Hint House NYC, 2004.






THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Wolfen Nickel
S@1#76/IND149




Tracks recorded at the HintHouse, 2003-4, and released as a tour-only CDR.




THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Rye Antennae
S@1#87/IND150



Tracks recorded at the HintHouse, 2003-4, and released as a tour-only CDR.





THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Qvaris
S@1#81/IND151



Fm the original press release:

What began in exploration has for some time been an act of depiction, and as NNCK this has been recognized. Through the practice of what we have termed Intonomancy we have come upon QVARIS. And coming as it has from the overlapping unseen worlds it occupies with such clarity, we have chosen to treat it as a message, one that wld be best served by its widespread dissemination.

One aspect of this Intonomancy has been the adherence to continually naming unformed yet recognizable consistencies, thus willing their return to futurity and witnessing their separation as instant-memory. Coupled with encryption +with an eye toward transferal, this has here become Qvaris, and has been served by many hands. Given its passage, it must now again find its home in the air, from where it can assume its character, and make its final impression in the airless vacuum of minds… A slice of life, though not necessarily human life. It is finding your mind as we speak.

For although each man among them was discrete unto himself, conjoined they made a thing that had not been before and in that communal soul were wastes hardly reckonable more than those whited regions on old maps where monsters do live and where there is nothing other of the known world save conjectural winds.

~ Cormac McCarthy
from Blood Meridian

The third studio album, the presentation/theme of which is strongly informed by the speculative fiction of Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, + the Mythologies of W.B. Yeats. Recorded at The Hint House in March 2005 by Matt Szwed.

"The first east coast tour I did with the NNCKs around the time of Qvaris was a huge learning curve for me. My musical horizons were expanded to an immense degree. I've never looked back since that intial experience and we've been great friends too, ever since."

~ Michael Chapman


I wanted to work with NNCK for a long time, and then finally I got to work with them. They asked different questions than most bands ask the record label, but the food they ate when I bought them dinner was pretty much the same food other bands eat.

I really enjoy the way NNCK navigates the seemingly contradictory but ever-present rocknroll quandaries of image-making and authenticity. It was particularly interesting to see how a group generally known for their live albums handled presentation issues when preparing a studio album.

It's a good record, I listen to it from time to time and am never disappointed. I'd recommend it to anyone.

~ Slim Moon


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
The Collective Imaginings Of Quantarenius, Cook, & Co.
S@1#80/IND152




Credited on the back of the package as "AN URBAN CEREMONIAL" and marked on the front w a certain sigil, this CD documents a free live show at the Greene Naftali Gallery on November 3rd, 2004, featuring Alan Arenius (RIP) + Mik Quantius. Original gallery edition comes with a silk screened newsprint insert by Christopher Wool.

One entered into the gallery’s dark hallway, met by the rhythmic clamor of a 16 mm projector and its immersive flicker, a stroboscopic diamond icon pulsing to the cadence of “N-N-C-K” in Morse code. Lines of string partitioned the storage space into geometric symbols, which formed a kind of “Qvartic” structure in which members of the band were situated. At the room’s center was a diamond black box, mirrored on its surface and tilted at an angle – part sculpture, part prop, part devotional object, yet it was unknown what deities were being conjured that evening. It was a dark time – the night after the reelection of George W. Bush to the highest office in the land – and everyone was in bad spirits and seeking some kind of cathartic experience. NNCK’s propensity for channeling complicated energies erupted that night, helped in part by the appearance of Alan Arenius, a Living Theater actor who had reemerged after a long hiatus. The music, spatial and open, took strange turns with the text. A kind of primitive brutality was played out with blood packs, partial nudity, boned horns – yet NNCK’s signature structural quality and hypnotic rhythms maintained their presence amidst the chaos that overtook the evening. The resulting recording reflects just that.

Keith Connolly restaged NNCK’s mirrored diamond box for an exhibition entitled “The Jeweleigha Set,” at Greene Naftali Gallery in 2005. Entitled "Qvaris Object at Dawn," the slanted cube was shown after being slowly submerged by the tide at Brighton Beach, under a full moon as the sun rose on the Summer Solstice. Accompanying the weathered sculpture was a video depicting the performance. Many months later, I was surprised to see a Youtube video post-tour of the sculpture being run over with a van and smashed to pieces by another band member. This gesture revealed the deliberately elusive spirit of NNCK – freedom enhanced by unpredictability, and ambivalence to any form of permanence.

~ Carol Greene
Greene Naftali Gallery


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Embryonnck CD
Embryonnck LP

S@1#7879/IND153


A summit meeting of sorts w krautrock originals + ethnic fusion pioneers Embryo, whose nearly imperceptibly pink bus is the stuff of legend. Five Grams of the Widow recorded live at the legendary squat Supamolly in Friedrichshain, Berlin.

Maybe more then 8 years ago I received with a nice letter and a dreamlike cover with some music from NNCK. I started to exchange our CDs and LPs with them. Their music reminded me of Sun Ra things, but of course totally different. 2003 we almost had met and in 04 it finally happened.  After our first jam together in Munich we went straight into a studio in Nürnberg, only a few meters far from the tomb of Albrecht Dürer.  Even we had planned more or less everything, like where we play, sleep..., I did not know if we could communicate. For our first session in Munich I had invited all the Embryo legends, but nobody of them came to the Atomiccafe where first the NNCK played a solo performance and then a great Embryonnck took place. The Embryo group that is now for more than a decade together on the road from Istanbul to Casablanca was there.  I called up my brother in mind (since 1956!) Dieter Serfas to join us. He was laying sick in his bed but he came. His drumming was like he knew everything.

The NNCK players were flying with us around him.  Little melodies we never had heard, different moods, rhythmic interplays, and in between the music making it was like we had been together all the time. The days after the studio we did more concerts, each one an own story with new surprises. This cannot happen accidentally.  Hope it stays a miracle.

~ Christian Burchard

Was told this was krautrock, but turned out that somebody had been perfecting Wolf Dietrich's shabby chic, walking around some unpronounceable village with a Nagra and a flask of grappa. Wound up with a bunch of clothbound Ocoras, heavy tar cigarettes, and holes in my boots. They never told me it would be like this.

~ Dante Carfagna


The first time writing on NNCK was in a double-review with the newly recorded pieces of the Sixties indeterminate compositions by Cornelius Cardew . The second time it was in relation to the subject of Folk, and the third time was about the effects of “free improvisation" on “free life". Also, it has been a very deep wish of mine to find freely improvised music or music that appears as freely improvised, coming thru without those three typical "free" characteristics: expression, virtuosity, violence. NNCK keep breaking it off and breaking thru (to the other sides?). This happens without violence, yet it is not nothing. It stands audibly irreversible. It is not about planned breaks or grand theatrical effects. They just don´t like it when things take the shape of an identity, when things become “genre"-music. While dealing with movement, they have a true horror of static situations as well as of self-control or of too much virtuosity. If in doubt, the drumming constitutes a kind of refuge from too many musings and cleverness.

A few years ago in Paris, there was an art show dealing with the relation of the Formless and the Abject in art. Objects stretched out on the floor, sculptural misformings, things resembling spills or secretions, blurring the borders. This field between loss of Form, Gestalt deficit and trash, secretion and separation swiftly opened up the discussion on Abject Art in the Nineties... Not so with music! The Formless in Music comes in the shape of violence. And since Punk one can observe patterns of those voices re-appearing that like defending the healthy, crunchy song form against all those forms where form is getting lost -- especially against long Jams. Well, there are those who have an almost phobic defense mechanism against the free and non-resolved forms, but NNCK´s music never falls into Free music trappings, which are: 1) the confusing activity and non-resolvment that will not turn back to a vain or deep subject -- tautologically speaking -- that tries to express itself, and 2) the audience being bothered with anything like meditation or Path to the Inner Self-messages. This music is staying within this world’s materiality. And there remains nothing else to do but -- and that´s why I have written -- to observe NNCK music in process.

Diedrich Diederichsen
10.5.2005
translated by Jutta Koether


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
No Town
S@1/IND165

With one member occupied with laying the foundation for a studio haven deep in black dirt onion country, the rest of NNCK ventured to the southeast for the first time to perform at the Notown Sound Festival in Atlanta. The band was initially contacted by Moses Archuleta, the drummer for the not yet ascendant indie darlings Deerhunter, serving as a booker/point man in this instance. What ensued was a two day festival with a great lineup (Excepter, Magik Markers, Charalambides, et. al.) but a less than capacity turnout, although this incarnation of the venue Eyedrum was pretty cavernous. The recording evinces some definite vocal indigestion, perhaps wrought by the bottle of Old Forester procured from a liquor store on Memorial Dr.

Recorded live at the No Town Music Festival in Atlanta, GA, 2005. Also playing the fest was Excepter, Magik Markers, Virgin Eye Blood Brothers, Eyes and Arms of Smoke, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Charlambides, Skygreen Leopards, Samara Lubelski, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, and Can't.

THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Nine For Victor
S@1#82/IND155

In central Quebec, a town smelling of sewage and exploded elephant colons plays host to a summit of contemporary musicians every spring/summer. During the 2005 edition, numerous figures from the now circumscribed “noise underground” appeared alongside venerable icons of the avant-garde. A certain sweatered maestro of Middletown performed with three black clad figures in cutoffs, to great and calamitous effect. Other conglomerations proved less impactful. The hours passed in a haze of wandering and stench. Backstage in a large adjacent theater, Julius, attendant with molten fists, ushered the improvisers into the stage area. Much polycephalic mutation was witnessed that evening. A calm voice could be heard humming through the auditorium’s public address system, “Cook the brain of the animal in about 1 cup of water until the brain is tender. Each animal has enough brains to tan its own hide.” Afterwards, in a separate presentation, a miniature Dream House was erected by a group of reflected felines.

The 2005 Music Festival in Victoriaville was a very odd meeting of standard avant jazz fans, and some of the better players from the berserker wing of the American Sub-Underground of the time. No Neck's concert at the Victoriaville Cinema was one of the event's highpoints, and felt to me like beginning of a new phase for them. Their most overt beard-rock moves had been shucked for a while, but in this incarnation they were able to combine some of the post-prog musical moves they'd been investigating with the dark ritualistic vibe they were able to generate in live performance. It was a mesmerizing show, fully using the large stage for all it was worth, and playing with a very good soundman through a great sounding system. I had remembered the show as being quite a bit longer than this, and was surprised to see how they'd broken up the structure and rearranged it. Still, it remains one of my favorite No Neck recordings. Pity it was never on vinyl. And that fucking cover picture, of the festival promoter, always cracks me up.

~Byron Coley


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Aftypiclipse (For Jazzfinger) LP
Aftypiclipse (For Jazzfinger) CD

S@1#84CD/IND157



Recorded 2006 at the ATP “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

sortilege springs from many a strange source
the many necked that night
in dreary English seaside fleapit
performed oddball observance
screwed up supplication
like young hirsute Kagels brought up on the milk of MEV
they exhaled their collective hint house breath
(slightly musky, sour sweet with smoke plumes green)
and gave the hormonal and the undernourished present
a heavy whiff, a gift of the absurd
a ticket to ride their wavelength
a singular singe for eyes and ears

~ Dylan Nyoukis

THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Roodemas
S@1#93/IND158


All sound recorded May 1, 2005 on the roof of the HintHouse, NYC.







THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Angelo Mai
S@1#91/IND159

"Call me an angel or call me a cab.." - (Paul de Boe)

I wasnt in Rome in 2006 when the NNCK played the Angelo Mai, but I was the first time they came and played a squatted ex=cinema quite close to where I live. In fact I was playing support when unknown to me or anyone else deep inside the bowels of that old picture palace a bunch of local fascist thugs had turned up clad in motorcycle helmets armed with baseball bats and thrown a bomb thru the door wrecking the bar and shattering the glass door turning it into glittering cubes of glass and what looked like fridge magnet poetry spewed out across the floor. No one was seriously seriously hurt apart from the rented wheels that the NNCK had travelled down from Germany in. That had been beaten and battered in several expensive places and some members of the band had had their confidence and energy replaced by lets get the fuck out of here and go home NOW. They did however go on to play a set of folkadelik wonderous improvisation saving their final personal freak outs until after the show.

Most of anything good that happens in Italy happens in these 'Centro Socially' Roughly translates as Social Centres but that doesnt convey the political and cultural significance of the places. There are more than 50 of them in Rome apparently. Most of them left wing, anarchist, communist, or a mixture of all that and now days there are extreme right wing ones as well and we all know what they do for fun and 'cultural activity'.

The Angelo Mai was originally in a magnificent disused convent in the Monti area of Rome..the old red light district. Under the pretext of wanting to turn it into a school they were moved into a hanger-like premises with a garden and small bungalow attached near to the Caracalla Roman Baths where this set was recorded. As I said I wasnt there but in a way I was as I slept and played in the NNCK's loft in New York on my first ever visit there. I recorded that gig - a shambling hour of broken equipment, barking dogs, re-located tropical bird recordings and party people that became my Live At The Hint House vinyl only piece. In return for that magical moment of improvisatory wonderousness Im happy to be sat here in Singapore Slings - an imaginary tiki bar in downtown little india in Singapore - sipping this cocktail of ghosts from the archive (stirred not shaken) and conjuring up the soundtrack. Above me palms flutter in the breeze and across from me a young guy is asleep on a wooden bench snoring in the tropical morning humidity probably dreaming of the day he saw the NNCK live at the Angelo Mai in Rome. He has tried to tell his friends what it was like but always ends up saying "They were like ...angels...but ...you had to be there."

Sent from a mobile device at Singapore Slings, Hindoo Road, Singapore, April 4th 2013.

~ Agent Kupa.(aka Mike Cooper)


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
Clomeim
S@1#100101/IND160


Studio album fm 2006 recorded at Black Dirt Studio fr the now dormant Locust label. Packaging posits the juxtaposition of Zora Neale Hurston’s Sanctified Church + Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism, yielding the spikelet which is Confabled Locusta, Once More Entrenched In Mire. Internally critiqued fr it’s rockist layout, it is musically NNCK’s most accomplished work.

It is an unfortunate corner our civilization has painted itself into, that we need artists to experience reality for us, and report to us, its "strange" tales.

A sad, sad thing, to conquer an impossible lottery of physical existence, only to sleep through our time on earth in a gravid trance of thoughts and labels. This is the sickness of the human mind, and we all shoulder it.

There was a moment we were awake. Do you know what the bark of a tree tastes like? Blood, and rocks in your skin? Yes, but there is no access now.

So what would we do. We have to accept this gift of
Clomeim, because we no longer know how to live. It now takes an expedition of pioneers to look around themselves... and react. Let Clomeim be our eyes, because ours have atrophied. Let it be our medicine so we can feel alive. Let this tableau of players, be our view of ourselves from above. So that on our exit, we might recall the slippery stabs of a dogs bite, or the breeze of spring.

~ Tom Thayer


The recording for Clomeim consisted of 3 isolated sonic environments, with musicians shuffling from room to room, engaging in different temporary sub-ensembles. mostly i remember how interesting it was to sit at the computer and monitor what was going on in each room, sometimes selecting combinations of instruments that were being played by people who weren't in the same space or listening to each other at all. This resulted in some pretty outlandish juxtapositions. The whole session was very comfortable and had good "exploratory energy," which was probably aided by that fact that this was being recorded at a NNCK member's own home studio.

I also remember watching nothing but old videos of Sun City Girls!


~ Colin Marston

THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
YTIU
KEL005/IND161

The first of two themed LPs fr Kelippah, both recorded by Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust at his studio in the German town of Scheer, off the Danube, in 2008. The album titles when swapped create the acronym for “Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up”, itself an anonym fr the concert staple “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” by the Pink Floyd. Dedicated to the memory of Torbjörn Abelli.

In these last days of total disintegration, clawing our way through Western and Eastern cultural effluvia and falsely cherishing our tunnel as if it were a unique aesthetic choice, it is just barely possible to imagine a time when free improvisation reinvigorated both rock and jazz, a time when AMM and Pink Floyd (whose Richard Wright is memorialized on this recording) were casting aside the same shackles, a time when "non-idiomatic" hadn't yet weaseled its way into the discourse because everyone was too busy demolishing the idiom.

Contemporary Improvisation (capital 'I') is as Apollonian a discipline as carpark design, and ultimately as destructive to the spirit. NNCK heeds the whispering panic emanating deep from the heart of this increasingly antique (and treacherously dull) "avant-garde" form, infusing it with left-handed mystery. NNCK enshrines a horned god upon the same altar where most have merely posted a manifesto (or worse, a Facebook page).

Resurrection fulfills music's transformational promise; it reveals its power when freed from emotional cues and impregnated with the unspeakable. Music demands sacrifice - whether of the performer or the listener (or both) is at the sole discretion of the spirit animating the sound. Listened to correctly, this recording invites consequences.

~ Tom Carter
Malegno/ Turin/ Bologna, Italy
Easter - April Fool's Day 2013


THE NO-NECK BLUES BAND
CINo51
KEL008/IND162

Previously, a boy dreams the dreams of many other boys. He meets three other boys and they dream together. Sadly, one of his co-dreamer's dreams become nightmare. In an effort to avoid seeing their own dreams relegated back to sleeping, our hero and his fair dreaming compatriots leave their troubled friend to face his nightmares on his own. His nightcap is quickly filled and the boys march forward, eventually seeing all of their dreams made manifest. In this installment our boy has become a man too accustomed to living his boy dreams. When he places his head upon his pillow these days there is nothing, as if there is nothing left to dream of. Perhaps his conspirators sense this? They dream apart now and our hero's empty nights only serve to marginalize him from these other boys. Our man must be gifted with powers beyond the ordinary because, much as his boy dreams had become real, so too his man dreams of emptiness soon become his waking life. Unlike his lost troubled co-dreamer from years past, his nightmares are far too mundane for anyone to care about. He dies this way. Special thanks to Charlie Gilmour, millionaire.