Set the controls for the heart of the sun — or, by the sound of it, a chilly flat in gray England — on the latest single from Jane Weaver. We here at Sound It Out have long championed this Liverpudlian’s intoxicating blend of droning space-rock and spooky Brit-folk. “Did You See Butterflies?” steers her sound toward an uncharted private destination, its motorik beat illuminating a melancholy mindscape constellated by Weaver’s echoing soprano. The result — a hallmark of her new album, Modern Kosmology — is less trippy but more emotionally resonant than her previous recordings.
Listeners new to Jane Weaver may find it hard not to cross-reference her music against Stereolab and Broadcast, two bands that also foregrounded hypnotic textures and sing-song vocal arrangements. That’s really no slight against Weaver, one reason being she’s had a hand in arty British rock long enough to be those 90s/00s stalwarts’ contemporary. For another, there’s ample musical terrain still to explore via repetitive rhythms, vintage instruments, and multitracked voices. The emotional tug of tracks like “Slow Motion” demonstrates how comforting and affecting that once-exotic template can feel in the hands of maestros like Jane Weaver.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.