Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology

Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology

2014’s The Silver Globe became rather a word-of-mouth sleeper-hit for Manchester music scene veteran Jane Weaver.  With its strung-out yet well-structured blend of krautrock and retro-space-age soul, the LP crept up on art-pop lovers with its translocating sonic earworms.  Consequently, the anticipation surrounding this sequel set – released via a new label home at Fire Records – is set far higher, possibly based on the embarrassment that some critics hold for not falling into the orbit of The Silver Globe on its original release.  This situation does raise a slightly nagging concern that Modern Kosmology has therefore been over-heralded to compensate.

Yet that doesn’t necessarily make it a collection not worth appreciating in its own trajectory. Whilst admittedly, Modern Kosmology isn’t such a slow-burning ear-opener as The Silver Globe – opting for a more compact and less luxurious distillation of Weaver’s latter-day kosmische-led journeying – it still contains charms of its own.

Hence, there are certainly passages where the multi-instrumentalist Weaver and her small cluster of guests galvanise grippingly into darkly-lit driving motorik grooves – on the edgy opening “H>A>K” and through the nervy burbling strains of “The Architect” – to skilfully join the dots between The Silver Apples, Neu! and Listening Center.  Elsewhere, with the warm wistfulness of “Did You See Butterflies?”, inside the entrancing electronica of “The Lighting Back” and across the standout swoon of “Slow Motion” Weaver successfully knots together Lush-like vocal layering into buzzing and exotic settings convivially redolent of Emperor Tomato Ketchup-era Stereolab. On the twangling and chugging “Loops In The Secret Society” Weaver imagines how things might have turned-out if Nico had hung around long enough to put her mark on the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat.  In the more openly alluring outré realms of “Revenspoint” Weaver and her ensemble encircle string-soaked lysergic psych-folk framings around a commanding spoken-word cameo from one-time Can frontman Malcolm Mooney.

With the strong aforementioned cuts at its core, the remaining lesser tracks – namely the somewhat insubstantial dream-pop closer “I Wish”, the jazzy throbbing title-track and the somewhat plodding “Valley” – tend to drift past as more ephemeral interlude moments, suggesting that Modern Kosmology might have made for a more consistent mini-album.  Taken as a whole though, whilst Jane Weaver may not have delivered quite the revelation hoped for, this is a solid enough self-consolidating affair, that should both keep the faithful happy and ensnare more latecomers.

Fire Records