Reminds us of:
Neu!, Can, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, the Velvet Underground, Devendra Banhart, Finlay Brown, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young
Links to music in blue
If you’ve read the about section of the website, you’ll be aware that I’ve only really got back into contemporary alternative music over the last year or so. So when I read the bio on a band that I’ve heard and liked, and it tells me they are a project comprised of members of other bands, it’s kind of a bonus as I get to investigate their stuff too.
Modern Nature are one of these ‘projects’, made up of Jack Cooper (ex Mazes, Ultimate Painting and his own solo work) and Will Young of Beak> (and Moon Gangs), and supported by Aaron Neveu of Woods and Jeff Tobias out of Sunwatchers. I do need to spend a bit more time properly listening to these bands, but so far the one that’s stood out is Mazes.
The first EP from Modern Nature arrived in March of this year on Bella Union, with Nature as its lead track, which also appears on the album. Their bio on Spotify (courtesy of Timothy Monger, Rovi) describes them as ‘a meandering blend of bucolic folk, experimental jazz, and psych-tinged indie rock’ and this description is probably best exhibited on a track from the EP Supernature which combines Fairport Convention, the Velvet Underground’s Venus in Furs and free Jazz. Flats and Blackwaterside complete the EP, and err more heavily on Folk, very nice, chilled stuff.
The band’s debut album ‘How to Live’ was released in August to widespread critical acclaim, and I like it too. The album begins with the beautiful, mournful Bloom, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Stand out track Footsteps follows, clearly NEU! influenced, with a dash of wonderful jazz. We then hit turbulence (the next track) a lovely folky drone, and a series of very chilled (and in places slightly psychedelic) folky tracks Criminals, Seance, Nightmares, Peradam, and Oracle. The almost whispered vocals and music throughout are very Nick Drake and reminiscent of that late 60s early 70’s folk movement.
The Motorik feel returns for Nature and then the album concludes with Devotee, a song in two parts which acts as almost a summary to the album, folky to start and Krautrock to finish.
Overall ‘How to Live’ is a fine listen and thoroughly enjoyable if you’re looking to sit back, relax and take it easy. The experimental jazz elements are also a good reminder that there is a very healthy UK Jazz scene worth listening to, with the likes of Binker and Moses and Kamasi Washington coming to mind.
Modern Nature head out on tour in September. For a list of dates, check out the Gigs and News section of the site.