Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology

by Rob Taylor Rating:10 Release Date:2017-05-19

Jane Weaver has been exploring more than just the night sky on recent efforts, employing a plethora of styles, from folktronica, to cosmic psych, space rock and jazz fusion. The stylistic shifts are conspicuous. Her latest, Modern Kosmology again spotlights an ability to create a modern sound from essentially retro elements. The title track for instance, has a jazzy backbeat which struts at a relaxed pace, while being enveloped by swirling electronica. Weaver’s slightly unworldly voice seems stuck in a proverbial canyon, imploring and beckoning from a slight distance away, but aided by resonance and echo, leaving long notes hanging in the air. 

One of the most beautiful features of Modern Kosmology is that it re-affirms faith in synth-pop as a viable, rather than junk musical culture. ‘Slow Motion’ for instance shows that it is Weaver, and not the instrumental elements that shine, her voice a melodic gift around which it’s easier to transform simple programmed beats and cheesy synths into lovely orchestrations. Well, that and the fact that she can write a majestic pop song. 

Another constant is the motorik rhythms recalling Krautrock. Imagine a supergroup with members of Stereolab, Neu and Parquet Courts, and you might imagine what ‘Loops in the Secret Society’ sounds like. Of course, Weaver is to some extent a disciple of Stereolab. 

To use a word such as groundbreaking is almost anachronistic, so hard it is to carve out a stylistic niche these days. Jane Weaver though is something of a chameleon by virtue of her diverse interests.  Even cinematic references feature, such as the futuristic backdrop on ‘Did You See Butterflies’. It's easy to admire creative anarchy, but Weaver backs her undaunted instinct with sheer class. Although essentially an electronic album, Modern Kosmology has an organic warmth, perhaps because the sharper edges are chiselled away by that heavenly voice.  When she wants to pull back from the steelier electronic sound, she does so quite charmingly, such as on sweet semi-balladry of ‘Valley’.

On album closer, Weaver fades in on a breezy disco beat, less glam than Goldfrapp but sharing the same carefree sense of fun. The song typifies a restless musical soul whose primary interests are rhythmic but who never neglects the song.

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