Posts Tagged ‘Modern Nature’

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Good news today, Seems that faves Modern Nature (feat members of Ultimate Painting, Sunwatchers) has a new project on the way. Previewing a few tracks in an excellent set at The Woods Stage at the End Of the Road Festival. The new album is unlike any other in the Modern Nature catalogue. While Jack Cooper still blends folk, jazz, psychedelia, and kosmiche touchstones, this is less a pop album and more of a compositional approach to world building.

The record spans two versions – “Island of Noise” and “Island of Silence”, the latter an instrumental version of the record. The album pushes out the edges of Cooper’s world while also drawing the conceptual edge tight — with the record set to inhabit an imaginary island seen from an outsider’s perspective. The album will feature kindred spirits both audio and visual from Cooper’s world, drawing in saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Alexander Hawkins, bassist John Edwards and violinist Alison Cotton, as well as long term collaborators Jeff Tobias and Jim Wallis. An accompanying book will feature Booker-nominated poet Robin Robertson, mycologist Merlin Sheldrake, illustrator Sophy Hollington, and writer Richard King and there will be a film as well (excerpts of which are above, created by Jack and his former Mazes bandmate Conan Roberts. The new record arrives November 19th from Bella Union.

There is an Event Bundle includes one free entry to the launch event at The Social on November 15th featuring an exclusive film screening and Q&A, presented by Caught by the River. Collect your album on the night, days before official release! More info about the event here.

Island of Noise – 180g Recycled Vinyl
Island of Silence (Expanded Instrumental Version) – 180g Recycled Vinyl
36pg Perfect Bound Booklet with 10 contributions from artists & writers in conjunction with, and inspired by, a song on the album. Contributors include Sophy Hollington, Evan Parker, Merlin Sheldrake and Robin Robertson. Limited to 1000 copies.

Since the demise of his previous band Ultimate Painting, Jack Cooper – under his Modern Nature guise – has never stopped looking ahead, exploring and reaching for something further. Since 2019, he’s released an EP, last year’s mini album “Annual“, one full length LP, one 7” and three live cassettes – in the process mapping out astonishing new terrain. Island Of Noise presents an obvious new peak in his discography.

Available only as a limited edition boxset. Made from sustainable material. JACK COOPER — Guitar JOHN EDWARDS — Double Bass ALEXANDER HAWKINS – Piano EVAN PARKER — Soprano Saxophone JEFF TOBIAS — Bass Clarinet JIM WALLIS – Percussion

Rydalwater

‘Rydalwater’, a 10-minute improvised guitar composition by Jack Cooper (Modern Nature), will be released over two sides of a 7″ single, out 10th march, originally commissioned as an improvised piece for the caught by the river programme for aerial festival back in september, Modern Nature’s ‘Rydalwater’ is now to become the twelfth release on caught by the river’s ‘Rivertones’ label (with artwork by tara okon).

Originally commissioned as an improvised guitar piece for the Caught by the River Aerial Festival programme, ‘Rydalwater’ recalls Jack Cooper’s childhood visits to Windermere.

Jack writes: “It’s difficult to reminisce about the past at the moment. The family I was a part of when I think about days out in the Lake District still exists, bonded forever by the twenty years we spent in each other’s pockets, but now we are spread out all over the country and, in my father’s case, the world.

Disregarding the pandemic for a second, it’s not impossible to imagine the current incarnation of our extended family piling into a couple of cars and heading up the M6 for a day out around Windermere. My wife, my mum, sister and her two girls did just that a couple of years ago. I’m sure when this pandemic is over, we’ll do it all again.
 
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But what I wouldn’t give to be in the back of my dad’s car, tearing up the M6 at six o’clock in the morning for a day out in the Lakes. The thought of racing raindrops across the back windows of the car with my sister while my Dad complains about caravans or tractors; my Mum singing along to Madonna on the car stereo is almost too much to even think about. The Little Chef at Staveley is long gone, but there’s some comfort in imagining our Rydal Water; its banks and contours slightly more eroded, the pebbles we stood on still there, under the water.”
 
Released February 5th, 2021

It’s been fascinating to follow Jack Cooper’s musical arc over the course of the past decade. As one half of the duo Ultimate Painting, the UK musician distilled elements of the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead to create some of the best guitar-pop albums of the 2010’s. Following Ultimate Painting’s sudden demise, Cooper redirected his efforts into an understated solo LP, collaborations with Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage, and most recently, Modern Nature.

Maintaining his prolific output, mini-album Annual marks Modern Nature’s fourth release since their debut EP in March 2019. Here, Cooper teams up with Jeff Tobias of Sunwatchers and percussionist Jim Wallis, creating a patiently pastoral sound that blooms in slow-burning splendour.

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Alternating between mood-setting instrumentals and more traditional songs, Annual follows the cycles of the seasons from springtime rebirth to scorching summer heat back to the stillness of winter. Jeff Tobias’s slinking sax lines flicker with the spiritual jazz beauty of Pharoah Sanders or Wayne Shorter, while the album’s whisper-soft touch resonates with an indefinable sacredness that recalls Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock—perhaps the highest compliment that can be paid to any artist for certain music fans.

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Our record/mini-album is out today on Bella Union. ‘Annual’ was written around a journal made over the course of a calendar year. It begins in winter and ends in winter. The track ‘Halo’ represents right now!

Please take the time to order the album from an independent business or via Bandcamp. Bandcamp are waiving their commission today, so any purchases will directly help the group make more records and play shows when the time is right.

Released in August 2019, Modern Nature’s debut album – How to Live – crossed the urban and rural into each other. Plaintive cello strains melted into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drifted through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shone with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia. The album was met with universal acclaim and featured in a number of publication’s ‘Best Of 2019’ lists. As the group took the album out on the road, Modern Nature became something even more expansive. “It feels like there’s scope and room to grow. I want the group to feel fluid and that whoever’s playing with us can express themselves and interpret what they think this music is” says bandleader Jack Cooper.

Their new mini-album Annual, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the sound of Jack Cooper’s previous bands. Will Young sits this one out, concentrating on his work with Beak, but How To Live collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis. Annual acts as a companion piece to the band’s How To Live debut but also a pointer to the paths ahead.

Mustard coloured vinyl. 

Modern Nature share ‘Harvest’

Having last month announced their new 7-track mini-album “Annual”, To be released 5th June via Bella Union, and shared a video for lead track ‘Flourish’, today Modern Nature now share a video for new single “Harvest” which features Kayla Cohen of Itasca on lead vocals. Of the track bandleader Jack Cooper says: “Harvest represents Autumn on the record and centres around rituals and superstitions. A lot of the words and ideas that became the bones of the song were written the days after a vivid experience in Lewes for Bonfire Night.” Of the video he adds: “Lockdown Britain forced us (my wife Tsouni and I) into making our directorial debut and this is the outcome. A moving snapshot of the year through the medium of everyday objects. The record moves from winter through the seasons and back to winter… We end up back where we began… It’s familiar, many of the objects are the same but everything has morphed.”

Released in August 2019, Modern Nature’s debut album – How to Live crossed the urban and rural into each other. Plaintive cello strains melted into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drifted through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shone with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

The album was met with universal acclaim and featured in a number of publication’s ‘Best Of 2019’ lists. As the group took the album out on the road, Modern Nature became something even more expansive. “It feels like there’s scope and room to grow. I want the group to feel fluid and that whoever’s playing with us can express themselves and interpret what they think this music is” says Jack Cooper.

Their new mini-album Annual, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the  sound of Jack Cooper’s previous bands. Will Young sits this one out, concentrating on his work with Beak, but How To Live collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis.

Released in August 2019, Modern Nature’s debut album – How to Live – crossed the urban and rural into each other. Plaintive cello strains melted into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drifted through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shone with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

The album was met with universal acclaim and featured in a variety of publication’s ‘Best Of 2019’ lists. As the group took the album out on the road, saxophonist Jeff Tobias’ (Sunwatchers) role informed something even more expansive. “It feels like there’s such scope and room to grow. I want the group to feel fluid and that whoever’s playing with us can express themselves and interpret what they think this music is” says bandleader Jack Cooper.

Their new mini album “Annual”, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the sound of Jack Cooper’s previous bands. Will Young sits this one out, concentrating on his work with Beak, but ‘How To Live’ collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis.

Jack explains how ‘Annual‘ came about: “Towards the end of 2018, I began filling a new diary with words, observations from walks, descriptions of events, thoughts…free associative streams of just.. stuff. Reading back, as the year progressed from winter to spring, the tone of the diary seemed to change as well… optimism crept in, brightness and then things began to dip as autumn approached… warmth, isolation again and into winter.”

“I split the diary into four seasons and used them as the template for the four main songs. The shorter instrumental songs on the record are meant to signify specific events and transitions from one season to the next. I figured it wouldn’t be a very long record, but to me it stands up next to ‘How To Live’ in every way.”

Annual opens with Dawn which brings to mind the peace and space of Miles Davis’ ‘In A Silent Way’; it rises from nothing like shoots reaching for the light. “I wanted Dawn to feel like the moment you realise spring is coming, when you notice blossom on the trees or nights getting lighter.”

On lead track Flourish, it’s clear Modern Nature have moved on from the first album; as muted percussion and double-bass stirs behind Cooper’s Slint-like ambling guitar; the chorus soars into a collaged crescendo. “Flourish is my part of the world coming to life. I live on the edge of London between Leytonstone and Epping Forest, so the signs of spring are very apparent round here – flowers, light, people talking in their gardens.”

Mayday started as an outro to Flourish or ‘Spring’ as it was titled originally. The idea was a segueway into the summer section to represent the sort of collective excitement a city gets once it realises summer is here.”

The summer of Jack’s diary inspired ‘Halo’. “The Wanstead Flats where I live, change a lot in the summer; a haze descends on them instead of the spring mist and the city’s proximity is more apparent. Blue bags of empty cans and scorched grass from out of control barbeques.” Arnulf Lindner on double-bass recalls the playing of Danny Thompson’s with Jeff Tobias‘ wonderfully lyrical saxophone referencing Pharoah Sanders. Cooper’s vocals on this record barely rise above a whisper making Halo a perfect addition to the canon of bucolic North London songs of summer, alongside Donovan’s Sunny Goodge Street or Nick Drake’s Hazey Jane II.

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On Harvest Jack takes a backseat with Kayla Cohen of Itasca singing. “All these songs are in the same key but the melody was above my range. I’d been playing the new Itasca record most days and just reached out on a whim. Her phrasing and the economy with which she sings is perfect.”

“The intention with the record was for it to feel like a circle, so Wynter reflects the opening. I guess having to get up and flip the record destroys the illusion so it’s a rare circumstance where listening with the ability to just loop the album into another year is closer to our intention.”

Annual then acts both like a companion piece to the band’s ‘How To Live’ debut but also a pointer to the paths ahead. Cooper has already started work on the next album, his speed of output an indication of the excitement and creativity that surrounds the project. Who will be involved and what the touchstones might be are yet to be firmly established but then who would have it any other way with this most fascinatingly free-flowing and mutable of groups?

releases June 5th, 2020

Modern Nature London, UK

Whenever the end of summer rolls around, no matter how hot it is outside, I develop a fierce hankering for folk rock: the pastoral acoustics and spacious arrangements, the heavenly-sung melodies, and most of all, its omnipresent comfiness. How to Live, the debut album from rising British band Modern Nature—which includes Jack Cooper of Ultimate Painting (RIP), Will Young of Beak>, Aaron Neveu of Woods, and Jeff Tobias of Sunwatchers, among others—not only encapsulates everything I love about the subgenre, but re-invigorates it, with occasional nods to hard rock (“Nature”), experimental electronica (“Peradam”), and even kraut (“Footsteps”).

Saxophone and cello co-mingle with motoriks, field recordings, and stoner fuzz, as limber grooves flutter about the mix, aloft like the pigeons on the cover art. It might be hot as hell outside, but hey — it’s never too early for some sweater-weather listening.

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Modern nature 600x600

The city and the country both have distinct, vibrant energies – but there’s something happening in between, too. As factories give way to fields, and highways drift into gravelly roads, the friction can be palpable, the aura electric.

The lines between city and country were on Jack Cooper’s mind when he named his new band Modern Nature. He took the phrase from the diaries of filmmaker Derek Jarman, written on the coast of Kent in his Dungeness cottage. Visiting Jarman’s home, Cooper was struck by what he calls a “weird mix of urban and rural” – such as the way a nuclear power station sits next to open grasslands.

On Modern Nature’s debut album, “How to Live”, urban and rural cross into each other. Plaintive cello strains melt into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drift through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shine with reflective saxophone accents. Throughout this continuous work, where no song ever really seems to end, there’s an indelible feeling of constant forward motion. It’s as if the band is laying down a railway and riding it simultaneously, and you can hear all kinds of landscapes passing by.

The endless feel of c was inspired by Cooper’s experience making his 2017 solo album Sandgrown. It was the first time he made a record with a defined theme – a suite of songs about his hometown of Blackpool – and imposing a narrative framework turned out to be refreshingly liberating. “When I started thinking about a new project,” he recalls, “going back to making an album of unconnected songs seemed as strange as making a movie with completely unconnected scenes.”

As he began writing songs, Cooper was also tuning to the vibes of Earth Loop, an instrumental solo album by BEAK>’s Will Young (under the name Moon Gangs). For a long time, Cooper had hoped to work more with Young, who almost joined his first band, Mazes, and was in the touring version of his next group, Ultimate Painting. So he decided now was finally the time, as he puts it, “to make good on hundreds of late night ‘we should really do music together’ conversations.”

“Over the next few weeks I started sending Will songs, and we began meeting up, working on ideas and formulating the bigger picture as it were,” Cooper recalls. “Approaching the album as a film or play made complete sense, and from that came the idea to have a very defined narrative, reoccurring themes and chord progressions, field recordings and a set palette of instruments and sounds. Each song came with pages and pages of notes, musical references, films, books, places, words and feelings.”

Cooper is hesitant to explain too much about How To Live’s story, preferring to let the listener to find his or her own narrative to fit what they hear. But he can offer some guideposts. “Broadly speaking, the album moves from an urban environment at the beginning to an escape at the end…whether that’s solitude or acceptance or isolation,” he says. “At the beginning the songs reflect a different type of isolation, the sort of isolation or disassociation one can only feel in a very crowded, hectic environment.”

The vibrations of these environments come across immediately on How To Live. The album’s first line is “There’s a hum in the street,” and the rest of the hypnotic “Footsteps” masterfully paints a picture: “the click repeats, repeats, repeats”….”Isolation, repetition, spark burst fission”…”turns loops to the point in which they meet.”

Throughout the remainder of the record, ideas recur and sounds return, often forming new shapes. A careful guitar pattern sprouts into the halting “Seance”, which ends with that same guitar pattern flipped into reverse. The beatific “Peradam” revels in the cycles of nature, as Cooper asks to be led “out of spirit worlds, let it whirl, out and in, swirling like fireflies. The pulsing “Nature” takes a darker view of our current environment, calling it “the great failure” and concluding with the imperative to “lock them up and don’t forgive them.”

The richness of the ideas in these songs is matched by the resonance of the music. Cooper and Young’s organic compositions gain skin and muscle through the thoughtful cello of Rupert Gillett, the insistent drumming of Aaron Nevue (of compatriot outfit Woods), and the expressive saxophone of Jeff Tobias, from Brooklyn jazz/rock juggernaut Sunwatchers. Each track on How to Live evolved as these creative forces joined the group, and it shows. The entirety of How To Live courses with both precision and vitality. The band is closely tuned to the core of each piece, but also unafraid to throw themselves into every moment.

The care that went into How To Live is clear in album notes, which map out impressionistic ideas behind each step – one block describes the song “Nightmare” as “the calm after the storm, nihilism, acceptance!! HOW TO LIVE??” – and include a list of the music and film that inspire Modern Nature. You can hear traces of those influences throughout the album – the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs, the searching melodies of Robert Wyatt, the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

But ultimately, the music on How to Live speaks for itself. It’s a work of surprising layers and limitless depths, impressing more strongly with each listen. Modern Nature may have been inspired by the line between urban and rural, but with How To Live they’ve gone a step further, and created their own complete world.

the debut album by Modern Nature‘How To Live’

The city and the country both have distinct, vibrant energies – but there’s something happening in between, too. As factories give way to fields, and highways drift into gravelly roads, the friction can be palpable, the aura electric.

The lines between city and country were on Jack Cooper’s mind when he named his new band Modern Nature. He took the phrase from the diaries of filmmaker Derek Jarman, written on the coast of Kent in his Dungeness cottage. Visiting Jarman’s home, Cooper was struck by what he calls a “weird mix of urban and rural” – such as the way a nuclear power station sits next to open grasslands.

On Modern Nature’s debut album, How to Live, urban and rural cross into each other. Plaintive cello strains melt into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drift through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shine with reflective saxophone accents. Throughout this continuous work, where no song ever really seems to end, there’s an indelible feeling of constant forward motion. It’s as if the band is laying down a railway and riding it simultaneously, and you can hear all kinds of landscapes passing by.

The endless feel of How to Live was inspired by Cooper’s experience making his 2017 solo album Sandgrown. It was the first time he made a record with a defined theme – a suite of songs about his hometown of Blackpool – and imposing a narrative framework turned out to be refreshingly liberating. “When I started thinking about a new project,” he recalls, “going back to making an album of unconnected songs seemed as strange as making a movie with completely unconnected scenes.”

As he began writing songs, Cooper was also tuning to the vibes of Earth Loop, an instrumental solo album by BEAK>’s Will Young (under the name Moon Gangs). For a long time, Cooper had hoped to work more with Young, who almost joined his first band, Mazes, and was in the touring version of his next group, Ultimate Painting. So he decided now was finally the time, as he puts it, “to make good on hundreds of late night ‘we should really do music together’ conversations.”

“Over the next few weeks I started sending Will songs, and we began meeting up, working on ideas and formulating the bigger picture as it were,” Cooper recalls. “Approaching the album as a film or play made complete sense, and from that came the idea to have a very defined narrative, reoccurring themes and chord progressions, field recordings and a set palette of instruments and sounds. Each song came with pages and pages of notes, musical references, films, books, places, words and feelings.”

Cooper is hesitant to explain too much about How To Live’s story, preferring to let the listener to find his or her own narrative to fit what they hear. But he can offer some guideposts. “Broadly speaking, the album moves from an urban environment at the beginning to an escape at the end…whether that’s solitude or acceptance or isolation,” he says. “At the beginning the songs reflect a different type of isolation, the sort of isolation or disassociation one can only feel in a very crowded, hectic environment.”

The vibrations of these environments come across immediately on How To Live. The album’s first line is “There’s a hum in the street,” and the rest of the hypnotic “Footsteps” masterfully paints a picture: “the click repeats, repeats, repeats”….”Isolation, repetition, spark burst fission”…”turns loops to the point in which they meet.”

Throughout the remainder of the record, ideas recur and sounds return, often forming new shapes. A careful guitar pattern sprouts into the halting “Seance”, which ends with that same guitar pattern flipped into reverse. The beatific “Peradam” revels in the cycles of nature, as Cooper asks to be led “out of spirit worlds, let it whirl, out and in, swirling like fireflies. The pulsing “Nature” takes a darker view of our current environment, calling it “the great failure” and concluding with the imperative to “lock them up and don’t forgive them.”

The richness of the ideas in these songs is matched by the resonance of the music. Cooper and Young’s organic compositions gain skin and muscle through the thoughtful cello of Rupert Gillett, the insistent drumming of Aaron Nevue (of compatriot outfit Woods), and the expressive saxophone of Jeff Tobias, from Brooklyn jazz/rock juggernaut Sunwatchers. Each track on How to Live evolved as these creative forces joined the group, and it shows. The entirety of How To Live courses with both precision and vitality. The band is closely tuned to the core of each piece, but also unafraid to throw themselves into every moment.

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The care that went into How To Live is clear in album notes, which map out impressionistic ideas behind each step – one block describes the song “Nightmare” as “the calm after the storm, nihilism, acceptance!! HOW TO LIVE??” – and include a list of the music and film that inspire Modern Nature. You can hear traces of those influences throughout the album – the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs, the searching melodies of Robert Wyatt, the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

But ultimately, the music on How to Live speaks for itself. It’s a work of surprising layers and limitless depths, impressing more strongly with each listen. Modern Nature may have been inspired by the line between urban and rural, but with How To Live they’ve gone a step further, and created their own complete world.

releases July 23rd, 2019

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Modern Nature, the new band from Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting, Mazes) and Will Young (Beak>, Moon Gangs), will release their debut album later hits later this month, and they’ve just shared the video for the gently motoroik new single “Footsteps.” Directed by Jake McGowan, the video follows Jack as the camera flips over and over, changing scenes along the way. “One of the threads through the album is a journey from the chaos of the city to the sanctuary of the country, so we wanted to condense that idea down over the course of ‘Footsteps’ with the final scene being a baptism… washing everything away,” says Jack. “There were a few films that felt very present when writing the album, so there’s some references to Mike Leigh’s Naked, Withnail And I, Tales From A Hard City, Emily Lloyd in Wish You Were Here and The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin.”

Taken from the new album ‘How To Live’ released on 23rd August via Bella Union Records