Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Quick Review Of The New EP From Modern Nature (Woods, Beak, Sunwatchers, Ex-Ultimate Painting)

Jack Cooper has re-surfaced. The musician who was half of Ultimate Painting is now back with a new project, Modern Nature, and the band's debut EP, Nature, drops on Bella Union on Friday. The music here is remarkably removed from that of his earlier band, and it's also bravely iconoclastic.

Opener "Nature" rides a spry hook over terrain best described as folk-rock, while the elegant "Flats" betrays debts owed to Robert Wyatt and Mark Hollis. Elsewhere, "Blackwaterside" offers up a ramble that's similar in some weird way to bits and pieces of old Ultimate Painting sides, even as the epic 11-minute closer here, "Supernature", blends flashes of free jazz with hints of prog in the service of the sort of material that far too bands are willing to risk making these days.

Modern Nature are taking a lot of chances here on Nature, and for that reason alone they should be applauded. That the music works, sounding organic throughout this debut EP, is also reason to praise what's here too. The players on Nature -- Jack Cooper, Will Young of Beak, and Aaron Neveu of Woods, with Jeff Tobias of Sunwatchers on saxophone -- are taking some risks on this EP and an attentive listener should find lots to get lost in here in these grooves. Hopefully a longer release is in the cards in the future.

Nature by Modern Nature is out on Friday via Bella Union.

[Photo: James Sharp]