Is the Neck an organ? It is now!

The Birmingham Town Hall organ

The Birmingham Town Hall organ

The Necks, the piano trio that sounds like no other, is doing something different in Birmingham Town Hall next month. Necks pianist Chris Abrahams will be using the Town Hall organ with Tony Buck on drums and Lloyd Swanton on bass. The music they make with it will, as usual, be competely improvised.

It’s part of a project which explores a new side of The Necks as well as featuring some of this country’s classic giant instruments in a thoroughly new way. In addition to Birmingham’s Town Hall organ, Abrahams will be playing the organs of Leeds Town Hall, the Meeting House at the University of Sussex, Colston Hall in Bristol and the Union Chapel in London.

The evening is a collaborative one with organist James McVinnie – he calls the organ the original synthesiser – playing music by Philip Glass and giving the world premiere of a new work for organ by Tom Jenkinson, who is perhaps better known as Squarepusher.

Chris Abrahams said:

With the pipe organ, the Necks take the idea of site-specific music making to another level; one where both the site and the instrument are the same. The hugeness of sound coming from an organ comes about through the combination of thousands of discreet sound producing units as well as the complex, multi directional reverberations possible in the hall space.  The sound seems everywhere. Sometimes a pipe set is split between both sides of the pipe array, making possible wild “panning” effects; some pipes sound from the front of the instrument – like the massive bass pipes of the Leeds Town Hall organ; others sound from unseen pipe chambers deep within the confines of the instrument. Each organ is an important part of the building in which it is housed and is reflective of the economic and cultural aspirations of the city that brought it into being.

  • The Secret Life Of Organs, from The Necks and James McVinnie is at Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday 5 April at 7.30pm. For more information go to the THSH website here.

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