A Limited Edition Boxset, a Film, a Companion LP, and a Melting Pot of Artists and Creatives – it’s Modern Nature’s New Album Release, all Created Using Only Sustainable Materials
Since the demise of his previous band Ultimate Painting, Jack Cooper – under his Modern Nature guise – has never stopped looking ahead, exploring and reaching for something further. Since 2019, he’s released an EP, one full-length LP, last year’s mini-album Annual, one 7” and three live cassettes, as well as the minimalist system music of this year’s Tributaries LP on Astral Spirits – in the process mapping out astonishing new terrain.
Island Of Noise presents an obvious new peak in his discography, combining Cooper’s celebrated songwriting and compositional skills with a free-flowing expansiveness coloured by British free music luminaries such as saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Alexander Hawkins, bassist John Edwards, and violinist Alison Cotton, as well as long-term collaborators Jeff Tobias and Jim Wallis.
Set for release on November 19th, 2021 via Bella Union, the album will be released only as a deluxe double vinyl box set with a second companion LP titled Island Of Silence: a beautiful instrumental re-imagining of the record. The album will be released – using only sustainable material – on 180g vinyl complete with a lavish booklet featuring the work of ten other artists, including Booker-nominated poet Robin Robertson, mycologist Merlin Sheldrake, illustrator Sophy Hollington, musician Eugene Chadbourne and writer Richard King, that reinterpret, deconstruct or take inspiration from the ten tracks on the record.
Modern Nature have also shared a trailer for an accompanying film of the album. Surrounding release there will be four exclusive screenings of this around the U.K. in partnership with Caught by the River, followed by Q&A’s with frontman Jack Cooper (full details can be found HERE).
Of the film, Cooper says:
“We listen to music in lots of different circumstances, but it’s increasingly rare to sit down and listen to an album without distractions, so that was really the initial aim with this film; to make something that could focus one’s attention on the music. When Conan Roberts and I started filming it at the start of the year, it quickly took on a life of its own as it built on one of the album’s main themes; finding order within chaos. Then as the year panned out, a narrative emerged with a country re-emerging from the pandemic.”
Completed during a relaxation of the pandemic restrictions in summer 2020, for Cooper and his fellow musicians, the album’s recording came to represent a sanctuary in itself. The feeling of freedom with which they made the record allowed for hours of improvisation and experimentation, resulting in a companion record called Island Of Silence.
Elaborating one step further, Cooper approached ten artists he felt an affinity towards and asked them to reinterpret, deconstruct or take inspiration from one of the ten pieces of music for an accompanying book. Island Of Noise and Island Of Silence were both recorded on 2” tape with long-term collaborator and co-producer Ed Deegan and then cut directly to vinyl. Similar attention has been paid to the production of the book and box-set, with all of the material, including the vinyl, sourced from recycled and sustainable materials.
Cooper once said: “With every song we record or musician we gain, another door seems to open on a route that’s worth pursuing.” More than ever, this rings true on Island Of Noise and Island Of Silence, with the musicians sharing a collective vision that builds the most cohesive and exploratory version of Modern Nature yet. Island Of Noise fits beautifully between genres sitting alongside (modern) classics like Mark Hollis’ Mark Hollis, David Sylvian’s Blemish, and Bert Jansch’s Birthday Blues.
Like those, this is an album that may confound or challenge some but will stand the test of time to those that open themselves up to Modern Nature.
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