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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.


Serge Gainsbourg - Cannabis
I was going to include Histoire de Melody Nelson, which is actually my favourite Gainsbourg album, but I thought it was a bit obvious. Also, it's a little bit dodgy, being about an obsession with a young girl. So, I chose Cannabis. Like Histoire de Melody Nelson it was arranged by Jean-Claude Vannier, who was a composer that worked with Gainsbourg, and is someone who I have been lucky enough to meet over the years through Finders Keepers. Andy knows him and Finders Keepers have reissued a lot of Vannier's music. I love how Vannier was self-taught and not at all a trained musician.

One of the records that they reissued was his concept album, L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches. When they released it, I was nursing a four-month old baby and couldn't cope with the record's madness. So, when I first knew about Jean-Claude Vannier, before I knew about his association with Serge Gainsbourg's music, I just thought that was the kind of insane music he made.

I do listen to Gainsbourg's music differently now, since knowing Jean-Claude and seeing the concerts. They did one at the Barbican in London and we also saw one at the Hollywood Bowl, which was an amazing experience. I have invited Jean-Claude to my gig in Paris, but I am not sure he will come.

The Cannabis album is perfect – the strings, the drums and the guitars all sound exquisite. It's the weight of the compositions that blow me away. It's brilliant. I think the film might be about heroin and not cannabis. We used to have the poster in the living room, but I made Andy take it down as we would have other people's kids over for tea and I didn't want the other parents to think we were drug addicts. It's upstairs now. Paul Nicholas is in the film, which is amusing in itself. Musically, the album is the magic mix of Jean-Claude and Serge. 'Première Blessure' is my favourite track. It's the best gear. It's musical heroin. I shouldn't say that, should I? I'm talking metaphorically.