Your Dreams Among My Dreams

Present company excepted, probably the only music Blog you need is obviously Aquarium Drunkard – this much has been clear for a very long time.

Back when this Blog was still in short pants, trading Panini cards and obsessing about whether to comb its hair forwards or back, I spent a formidable amount of time consulting music Blogs, snorting up freebies and collecting must-try tips. Gradually, I’ve lost interest in all that mullarkey, but Aquarium Drunkard remains an interesting and worthwhile read.

This is particularly good…

Modern Nature

I have enough trouble keeping up with Jack Cooper’s dizzying output without him releasing new stuff under different guises (a weary recourse to Wikipedia fetches up Beep Seals, another incarnation of which I was numbly unaware…). So I didn’t twig that this was even a Cooper thing, originally when I saw mention of it on Twitter. But with Ultimate Painting no more, and no apparent desire to release another solo record, a new venture has appeared in the shape of Modern Nature.

Actually, the band he’s put together here is something of a PP supergroup, teaming up with Woods’ drummer, Aaron Neveu, and Beak> keyboard player, Will Young, amongst others. But pretty much true to form, I’m maybe six months behind on it, the first release, an EP called “Nature” coming out in March, followed up by an LP (I know, old habits…) in August.

Here’s “Supernature” the meandering, compelling counterpoint to the EP’s title track:

 

Beautiful, isn’t it? And not a little hypnotic… Bella Union’s notes to it site Alice Coltrane and Fairport Convention. I’m not a fan of these sort of hybrid comparisons but I’ve got to say that pretty much nails it. Gorgeous stuff…

I’ve only heard the long player (I know…) online but it sounds like an absolute beaut, mixing the sort of unhurried mysticism of the above track with the sort of more disciplined gentle songcraft you hope for from a Jack Cooper record.

But to return to Aquarium Drunkard, one of their regular features is their Laigniappe Sessions, where guests give away a couple of tracks, usually covers, recorded especially for the site. It’s a bit of a treasure trove of quirky freebees, made in the spirit of back-in-the-day by quite prominent artists, with recent contributions from Gruff Rhys, Mikel Cronin and Damian Jurado.

Cooper has made previous recordings too. But has recently made two more with Modern Nature including a version of “Fine Horseman”. Now if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll be aware that I’ve recently developed a bit of a thing for the long-departed but vividly oddball Lal Waterson. That Cooper should record a cover like this is actually not such a surprise (a version of Anne Briggs’ reading of “Blackwaterside” is one of the other tracks on “Nature”) but that he should be accompanied on it by Lal’s daughter Marry is something of a coup. It’s a bold reworking with dense, claggy percussion and lugubrious saxophone all over it, preserving the damp strangeness of a song that will always stop you in your tracks.

It’s available for download, but I’m obviously not going to try to palm it off here.

Step this way, folks…

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