Loops In The Secret Society (Fire Records)
Space, the final frontier? How about time and space? How about folding them into one and letting it expand like the universe – which Monty Python once told us was expanding at “twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is” – the way Jane Weaver has chosen to?
Weaver, whose 2017 album, Modern Kosmology had me buzzing with light and energy (read that review HERE) has dipped into the past with songs from Modern Kosmology and its successor, last year’s The Silver Globe, to reimagine/reconfigure/realign them into a new form that feels very forward looking.
You might say futuristic, especially as it matters not whether you had a relationship with these songs in their previous incarnations or not. The freshness of the ideas here, and the integration of the songs – via drones, tones or linking tracks – means that Loops In The Secret Society feels like something that’s coming, not something that’s already been.
Or maybe, in Did You See Butterflies, something that’s been and come back, with its blend of ‘70s Germanic rhythm, ‘60s folk pop vocalising and a sense that just listening to it will make us all take up all-in-one outfits and voice-activated pod doors.
Space is an apt metaphor too for this album.
Firstly in a literal sense as some tracks, like the ambient drone of Battle Ropes – Loops Variation, or the drifting, circling, open-ended Majic Milk with voice (solid but distant, curving around lines) and strummed, vibrating instrument (which might well be a Celtic harp or even zither) seem to operate as if hanging in a vast area of nothingness. Meanwhile, interludes such as Sous le meme soleil, vie disapru dans le ciel -Loops Variation, and Conduit feel almost like lost noises, or discovered sounds emerging from inky blackness.
Then in a more figurative sense it works too as Weaver sends songs into a kind of sketchy orbit, their paths sometimes on long parabolas (Slow Motion – Loops Variation, where Weaver sings with a hushed delicacy over a quasi -primitive beatbox rhythm), sometimes on short bursts (Found Birds – Loops Variation, a deep breath in before the beginning of Slow Motion) and sometimes on a singular path (Code – Loops Variation, which flies through like a silent, graceful, sleek glider).
The territory Weaver works in is never set in stone. Electronica is its core, but the ambient introduction feeding into a super propulsive kommische groove of Element – Loops Variation hovers between art and rock while two tracks further on, Arrows – Loops Variation is shimmering low-key pop as a presaging of Did You See Butterflies, and Mission Desire is Portishead and the appeal of discomforting attractiveness revived.
And everywhere there’s a sense of openness, darkness folding back to reveal slivers. and then whole screens of light through lenses. What does it mean? That I can’t tell you. What does it feel like? That’s easier: fascinating.