Modern Nature in Leeds
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Sunday 17th December 2023, £12.00
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A meandering blend of bucolic folk, experimental jazz, and psych-tinged indie rock, Modern Nature is a project led by British musician Jack Cooper, formerly of Ultimate Painting. They made a strong critical impression with 2019's How to Live, which was followed a year later by the mini-album Annual. The group made an even bigger statement with the expansive 2021 double album Island of Noise.
After the 2018 breakup of Cooper's former band, the acclaimed indie rock outfit Ultimate Painting, he began working with Will Young (Beak, Moon Gangs) on a new venture that took cues from the classic British folk of Bert Jansch and the exploratory jazz of Alice Coltrane, and fused it with elements of the indie rock from which they came. Enlisting cellist Rupert Gillett, drummer Aaron Neveu (Woods), and saxophonist Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers) to complete their ensemble, the two set about recording their debut release. Signing with Bella Union, Modern Nature issued their four-song debut EP, Nature, in March 2019. It was followed five months later by their first full-length, How to Live. Having quickly established themselves as a critical favorite, Cooper and the band, this time minus Young, returned to the studio in December to record a pastoral song cycle based around a series of seasonal journal entries Cooper had made. The resulting mini-album, Annual, was released in June 2020.
Cooper's creative ambitions continued to grow with Modern Nature's elaborate second full-length, Island of Noise. Released in 2021 as a double album, the collection featured a fully arranged album (Island of Noise) along with an instrumental re-imagining (Island of Silence), accompanied by a film and deluxe booklet that contained work from such varied contributors as biologist Merlin Sheldrake and musician Eugene Chadbourne.
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