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Baker's Dozen

An Expanse Of Sound: Jane Weaver's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , May 17th, 2017 09:37

With the release of her stunning new album, Modern Kosmology, Jane Weaver talks to John Freeman about the 13 records that shaped her musical universe. Portrait by Rebecca Lupton.

Jane Weaver is sat amongst a pile of records in her dining room talking about Hilma af Klint. It turns out that the Swedish spiritualist and painter was one of the inspirations for Weaver's stellar new album, Modern Kosmology. In addition to a love of Hilma's wonderful abstract art, Weaver was also inspired by her work ethic. "She would paint for days until she dropped," Jane tells me. "I liked that story. Hilma was the kind of person I could relate to."

I can vouch for that. In discussing her thirteen favourite albums, Jane provides a meticulous and immersive experience. We are enveloped by music – the vinyl copies of her Baker's Dozen choices are spread lovingly over the floor – while her husband's (musician, producer and Finders Keepers record label owner, Andy Votel) extensive collection surrounds a variety of keyboards and Weaver's beloved WEM amp.

And, rather wonderfully, while describing the records that moulded her musical landscape and provided the reference points for the magical space rock of Modern Kosmology, Weaver plays various songs from each of the albums. "I have certain things that I pick up on when I listen to music that become my 'go to' things, when I am thinking about what to do with my own music, " she reveals. With that, and with the rolling Cheshire moorland as a visual backdrop, I'm transported into a world of classic pop, prog, psychedelia, avant-garde rock and Egyptian folk music.

After we have finished discussing her final choice, talk turns back to Modern Kosmology. "Initially, I wanted a rawer sound than The Silver Globe," Jane explains, when I ask her how she approached attempting to better her career-high 2015 album. "However, I suddenly changed tack and wanted everything to sound clearer. I made certain production decisions about tape echo and digital delay. I had a limited amount of resource and was trying to optimise what I had. It is always when I go into the studio that the decoration of the songs begins."

The results are pretty spectacular. Aided by CAN's Malcolm Mooney - amongst others - Modern Kosmology welds lush psychedelic pop to Weaver's synthesizer savviness and dark-angel vocal. The album's genesis was not a straightforward process, coming in the wake of the acclaimed The Silver Globe. "For me, the last album was a big success. I don't know how many copies it sold but I have never had that amount of positive feedback about a record. When I was starting to write Modern Kosmology I began thinking about people's expectations. I had to have a word with myself and decide to take no notice of the world outside. I had to switch off and create my own little world. It wasn't a comfortable process, as so many terrible things were happening in the world last 12 months."

Her journey took Weaver to the Isle of Eigg and a spell of writing in isolation on Anglesey. "Modern Kosmology became the study of my little universe. I liked the idea of people taking the positive things from their own universe and channel that energy into something good. It worked for me to isolate myself and draw from my surroundings, and helped me navigate a path through the last year."

Modern Kosmology is out on May 19th via Fire Records. Click the image below to begin reading Jane's selections

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