Jane Weaver

Loops In The Secret Society

Jane Weaver deconstructs her own music and puts it back together again into strange surreal soundscapes, finds Danijela Bočev

There is no escape from time for human beings, I think to myself as I walk into the pitch-black emptiness of Olafur Eliasson’s installation Your Black Horizon. We can only leave a trail, an echoing in the ether, moments of transcendence fossilised in art. A stream of LED light stretched around the black walls pierces my retina, changing through the colours of the sky during a one-day cycle. Inside Eliasson’s sensory deprivation chamber, disorientated perception starts twisting with claustrophobia, stretching my horizons.

I am reminded of the first childhood dream I remember having: I see myself waking up from sleeping on the floor of a dark hallway, next to my brother, both of us covered with blankets. He stays asleep. There is a single, brightly lit door open. As I sneak by closer, I am amazed to see some kind of a lab or a kitchen, with the secret society of elderly women, seen from the back, mixing up curious ingredients and whispering secret formulas to each other. A sneak preview into the creative lab of the unconscious.

Cocooned inside the velvety darkness of Eliasson’s black horizon, I easily slip into contemplation and the study of my personal kosmology – with a ‘K’, as Jane Weaver suggested – with her most recent recording providing the soundtrack. No need preaching to the Quietus choir about the quietly immense and long-standing work of Jane Weaver, from earlier pastoral folkedelia and shy sketches of inner geometry, towards sculpting fiercely modern aural suncastles in her recent cosmic era. Now we find her pushing the sound explorations even further – beyond the visible horizon, deeper into the resonant womb of the creative source lab.

Recorded after a short UK solo tour of the same name, Loops In The Secret Society bring subtle, but striking atmospheric re-workings of selected tracks from career markers, The Silver Globe (2014) and Modern Kosmology (2017), meditatively expanded with superb new ambient interludes throughout. Armed with a Suzuki Omnichord, tape loops, and dubplates with re-worked backing tracks, Weaver single-handedly deconstructed and meticulously reassembled her intricate sound for the solo performances.

Her songs are autonomous and living entities, mercurial, exquisitely crafted etheric imprints, full of romantic codes, heady sonic potions made out of bird’s feathers and cosmic dust, with a strong and sleek, silvery skeleton. These re-conceptualised variations still stick to her greatest strengths: pure musicality, melodic (re-)invention, and artistic lucidity.

Heavy 70s proggy space rock roots and steady motorik beats are here sublimated into meditative proto-electronic rhythmic clutter, with sharp 8-bit staccato blips (‘Arrows’, ‘Did You See Butterflies’, ‘Sun House’, ‘Mission Desire’, ‘Ravenspoint’, ‘Ivana Vessel’).

Intersecting stylistically with Broadcast, Weaver’s crystalline vocals with their perfectly tempered vibrato gently pierce through barriers. ‘Cells’ is a vocal triumph, soaring high, a brain-melting restoration of our capacity for deep feeling and renewal through radical empathy.

Dichotomies disappear inside the self-referential world of the Loops, both ominous and luminous, expansively spacious and sonically imploding, scientific and spiritualist, ephemeral and eternal, twisting and seamlessly blending planes like on a Möbius strip. Harnessing the subtle power of music, bending, swirling, expanding, connecting. A recurrent theme of human vulnerability to temporality is resolved, transforming the ephemera of feelings through the will to art, caught like aural lightning in a bottle.

Weaver’s surreal soundscapes are, at times, reminiscent of the Ghost Box label’s utopian experimentalism. Loops’ ‘variations’ are like counterclockwise meditations, circling forward to some new hidden possibilities. As the late Mark Fisher remarked, “when the present has given up on the future, we must listen for the relics of the future in the unactivated potentials of the past.”

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