Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tony Buck Heads to the Front of the Band

Posted By on 02.02.10 at 01:59 PM

Tony Buck
  • Tony Buck
Berlin-based Australian drummer Tony Buck has played a number of gigs in Chicago over the past few weeks, turning in two sets with his peerless trio the Necks at the Empty Bottle (you can find a fine Necks set recorded live last month at New York's Issue Project Room over at the swell Free Music Archive) and more recently joining an ad hoc group with pianists Magda Mayas and Jim Baker and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm at Heaven Gallery. He's known best as top-notch improviser, and the broad sonic palette and sharp skills as a listener that he's developed in that discipline are a big part of why Ken Vandermark chose Live in Nickelsdorf by the trio Aus (with Buck, bassist Clayton Thomas, and trombonist Johannes Bauer) as one of his favorite albums from 2009. Yet throughout his career Buck has played on several terrific, if somewhat twisted, rock albums.

He went the whiplash route with Peril, a jagged, noisy four-piece featuring the jarring turntable work of Japan's Otomo Yoshihide. He also played in a sadly overlooked band called Kletka Red with guitarist Andy Moor of the Ex, Vancouver bassist Joe Williamson, and singer and guitarist Leonid Soybelman (from Estonian art-rock band Ne Zhdali)—you can find both of the group's fine albums at Free Albums Galore, though the bit rate is low enough that you'll probably want to track down CDs if you dig the music.

Last year Buck, under the more formal sobriquet Anthony Buck, returned to a rock sound with his solo effort Projekt Transmit (Staubgold), playing both drums and electric guitar and singing (Dave Symes added bass) on austere, harrowing originals and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War." While Buck's guitar playing is adequate—he focuses on terse riffing, hydroplaning feedback, and enveloping clouds of resonant long tones—it's his drumming, unsurprisingly, that makes everything tick, from the ferocious opener "What You Want," which sounds more than a little like "Kashmir" if the main riff stayed in place instead of ascending, to "Transducer," with its relentless motorik rhythm.

A U.S. version of Projekt Transmit kicks off a short tour on Wednesday night at the Hideout, with Buck on guitar, Magda Mayas on electric keyboard, and Chicagoans Nate McBride on bass and Steve Hess on drums.

Courtesy of Buck, below you'll find an MP3 of "Blood," one of the more tightly coiled tracks from the album.

Today’s playlist:

Gary Peacock & Marc Copland, Insight (Pirouet)
Mateo y Trasante, Mateo y Trasante (Lion Productions)
Dolores Duran, Entre Amigos (Biscoito Fino)
Larry Jon Wilson, Larry Jon Wilson (Drag City)
Diego Barber, Calima (Sunnyside)

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