|The Silver Globe|
Jane Weaver — The Silver Globe
♠ Album má svůj název od polského režiséra (Andrzej Żuławski) sci–fi podobenství Na Srebrnym Globie (On The Silver Globe, Na srebrnym globie (12 maja 1988, Cannes Film Festival; February 1989, Poland) v polovině 70´, ale bylo to potlačeno komunistickými úřady — v té době kvůli jeho implicitní odmítnutí totality. Film nakonec spatřil světlo světa až v roce 1988 a je plný odvolávek na snímky v podobném duchu: Andreje Tarkovského a Alejandra Jodorowského. Je těžké říct, jak moc samotné pojetí filmu a jeho vyprávění přímo ovlivnily Jane Weaver, ale její hudba přímo jiskří techno–utopickým leskem a mluví o éře sci-fi filmu, kdy všechny druhy filozofických nápadů byly běžně vpašovávány na plátna — od úžasného (1972: Solaris/Andrej Tarkovsky; 2002: Steven Soderbergh, based by Stanisław Lem) až k těm absurdním (1968: Barbarella/Roger Vadim; 1974: Zardoz/John Boorman).
Location: Liverpool ~ Manchester, England
Album release: October 20, 2014
Record Label: Bird Records / Eggs / Finders Keepers
01. The Silver Globe 0:46
02. Argent 8:05
03. The Electric Mountain 5:43
04. Arrows 2:32
05. Don’t Take My Soul 6:34
06. Cells 3:56
07. Mission Desire 5:23
08. Stealing Gold 4:42
09. If Only We Could Be In Love 4:50
10. Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary 4:31
01. The Silver Globe
03. The Electric Mountain
04. If Only We Could Be In Love
05. Don’t take my soul
07. Mission Desire
08. Stealing Gold
10. Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary
♠ Like all good parables Jane Weaver’s sixth solo album, a concept album called The Silver Globe, is as multifaceted as it is beguiling. Part coming of age/part cautionary tale and part romantic peon, this synth ridden post–apocalyptic prog pop opus is based on tightly embroidered, non–linear recurring themes and inspired by esoteric stories, cosmic imagery and refiltered past experiences.
♠ Written from the optimistic vantage of a long–standing female independent artist, in an desperately evolving industry, Jane’s latest set of self penned pop abstractions combine mechanical rock/recycled European cinema/empyrean vocalisations and an arsenal of rescued vintage synths to create a futurist narrative backdrop of a allegorical post apocalyptic landscape.
♠ Assembled from disparate studio sessions recorded sporadically since the release of the critically acclaimed Fallen By Watchbird LP The Silver Globe explores new collaborative relationships featuring tracks co–produced by David Holmes, guest appearances by Australian vintage space rockers Cybotron, a recycled chunk of an 80s Hawkwind track, an intricate Damon Gough guitar solo, some Suzanne Ciani waves and post production/remix flourishes by Andy Votel. Enjoying her most fertile period to date Jane’s reactions to the music of Italian synth starrs Daniela Casa and Doris Norton with local DIY artists like Una Baines’ The Fates (released on her own Bird imprint) provide yet another launch pad for Janes latest musical trajectories.
Twisted Nervous Records: http://www.twistednerve.co.uk/
Jude Rogers talks to cosmic folk songstress Jane Weaver about measuring success, unlikely inspirations and the obstacles facing female artists.
♠ Jane Weaver is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Liverpool, England. She has performed as part of the Britpop group Kill Laura, the Farfisa–fuelled girl groop Misty Dixon and as a solo artist. She also runs the record label Bird.
♠ Between 1993 and 1996 Kill Laura released five singles, two on Polydor and three on the Manchester Records label run by Rob Gretton. Her solo career began shortly after the demise of Kill Laura, and following a number of singles Weaver's first album Like An Aspen Leaf was released in 2002.
♠ It featured contributions from Andy Votel, Dave Tyack, Rick Tomlinson (Voice of the Seven Woods), Sam Yates, Naomi Hart and two members of Elbow, Craig Potter and Richard Jupp. Since then, she has released three more albums, Seven Day Smile (2006), a collection of home recordings that featured the band Doves on its title track, Cherlokalate (2007), and The Fallen By Watchbird (2010).
♠ Weaver formed Misty Dixon in 2002 and the band released one album, Iced To Mode (2003). Bird Records is an offshoot of Twisted Nerve Records and is run by Weaver. It was founded in 2002 and mainly releases recordings by contemporary female folk artists.
♠ Most notably, Bird has released the 2007 compilation album Bearded Ladies (jointly with the Finders Keepers reissue label). The album brought together both contemporary and vintage psych folk female singers such as Brigitte Fontaine, Bonnie Dobson and Cate Le Bon.
Joe Banks , October 17th, 2014 09:53
♠ Jane Weaver is a transformed woman. After years as a folky, slightly leftfield singer songwriter, The Silver Globe sees her taking a full–scale leap into the cosmic void of contemporary space rock. And it's fantastic. As one of the main figures at the archival Finders Keepers label, Weaver's clearly got impeccably exotic tastes, and 2010's The Fallen By Watch Bird signposted this new direction, particularly the interstellar valediction of the title track, but The Silver Globe is arguably her most sonically adventurous work to date.
♠ The album takes its name from Polish filmmaker Andrzej Żuławski's sci–fi parable Na Srebrnym Globie (On The Silver Globe), shot in the mid–70s, but supressed by the communist authorities at the time due to its implicit rejection of totalitarianism. The film finally saw the light of day in 1988, and is full of striking imagery in a similar vein to Andrei Tarkovsky and Alejandro Jodorowsky. It's hard to tell how much the film's concepts and narrative have directly influenced Weaver, but the music sparkles with a techno–utopian sheen and speaks to an age of movie sci–fi when all kinds of philosophical ideas were routinely smuggled onto the screen, from the sublime (2001, Solaris) to the ridiculous (Barbarella, Zardoz).
♠ The album opens with the title track, a short piece of Aphex Twin–esque ambience that conjures up the vastness of the cosmos, its spooky chirruping recurring at various points throughout the album. Then it's time for blast off with the urgent, propulsive simplicity of 'Argent', the insistent drumming and pulsating bass recalling Can's 'Mother Sky' channelled through the deep space filter of Hawkwind. Weaver's voice is pure and full of humanity, but also sounds detached and unearthly, as though she's leaving all terrestrial concerns behind. It's a brilliant example of how to layer musical elements over a basic rhythmic framework, the coiling tendrils of synth building to a string–like intensity as the track reaches its climax.
♠ Speaking of Hawkwind, 'The Electric Mountain' is cleverly based on a loop of the band's 'Star Cannibal' (from the much underrated Church Of Hawkwind album), Dave Brock's metronomic riffing recycled into a breathless slice of upbeat space pop, with Weaver cooing "Time generated us" in its wide–eyed chorus. This feeling of cosmic joy is maintained in the lush, library music fantasia of 'Arrows', before the strident thunk of a drum machine heralds the oompah circus fanfare of 'Don't Take My Soul'. It sounds disconcertingly kooky at first, but soon reveals a gleeful robotic logic at its heart, putting me in mind of The Carpenters' heroically odd 'Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft'. Weaver sings a series of interlocking lines at the top of her range trying to ward off some soul–stealing apparition, before the song gets sucked down a swirling analogue wormhole.
♠ 'Cells' is another glorious piece of synthetic womb music, its lovely ascending vocal line nagging away at my own memory cells, but before we get too comfortable, we're back on a mission: 'Mission Desire', to be precise. Like a dreamy, slo–mo re–imagining of a Barry Gray theme tune (I'm thinking Space: 1999 in particular), this is slinky, super–cool cosmic funk with a great shimmery 'bionic' sound running in the background. "Am I still awake?" wonders Weaver, as a shard of star guitar breaks through the cryogenic haze. Awesome stuff.
♠ The final trio of songs all mine a seam of ecstatic sadness, wisdom earned at the expense of innocence. 'Stealing Gold' could almost be a companion piece to Broadcast's 'Tears In The Typing Pool', Weaver's voice reverbed to the point of aural burn–out over the simple strum of an acoustic guitar. 'If Only We' is like a musical box drenched in echo, and then it's the big finish of 'Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary', everything receding into the distance as a piano is hammered into submission in some high-ceilinged celestial ballroom at the end of the universe.
♠ Where so much space/kraut/psych rock quickly disappears into a formulaic miasma, referencing everything but signifying nothing, Weaver's strong melodic sensibilities and incisive songwriting powers here alchemise raw genre material and turn it into, well, silver. This week, Jane Weaver released her excellent, cosmos–gazing sixth solo album, The Silver Globe, out on Finders Keepers Records. In our review, Joe Banks concluded: "Weaver's strong melodic sensibilities and incisive songwriting powers here alchemise raw genre material and turn it into, well, silver". Ahead of an upcoming interview with Weaver on tQ — following up on the last time we talked to her, in 2010 — she's given us a track–by–track commentary on the album — have a read and listen above and below:
'The Silver Globe'
♠ The Silver Globe is basically a red herring. It's like the yellow brick road to the imaginary emerald palace or the house with the golden windows. The harder you try to get there the stronger you become and the reflective ball begins to shine brightly, but in reality the ball is just a mirror reflecting your own hard work and your development as a human being. Once you come to terms with this life gets easier.
♠ The music industry creates the same illusions in order to sell your own energy back to you. The grass is never greener, it's actually an entirely different colour altogether, it's all about how you process your own success and preserve your original motivation, then you create your own system. The intro and interludes are made of distorted and synthesised vocals inspired by the work of Suzanne Ciani and Annette Peacock to create fake humans or trapped souls like the first Poltergeist film or the Mimarobe character in Karl–Birger Blomdahl's Aniara space opera from 1959.
♠ The title is also a homage to the post–apocalyptic visual elements to a film, On The Silver Globe, by Andrzej Żuławski (based on a book by his great uncle) which was put on hold by the Polish government for ten years. Żuławski had already had two films banned in Poland due to political paranoia, he then fled to the free West only to have his next film, Possession, banned by the BBFC who wrongly considered it a video nasty... four banned feature films but he still kept going because he was a true artist at one with his creativity.
♠ This track basically sets the electric tone of the album and introduces silver as the life–force; scientifically silver is the highest electrical current of any metal or heat. The track features a lot of synths. An extension of the first track, it vocalises the same sentiments about people's misguided goals. For this track I imagine trying to battle my way to the globe with a cast of space pirates, swordsmen and lawyers trying to steal the 'silver' using technology and smoke and mirrors to hypnotise and confuse me (influenced by Jean–Claude Forest's Marie Mathématique cartoons).
♠ The track also features a sax solo by Steve Maxwell Von Braund from the original 70s Cybotron, a cosmic synth rock group from Australia (not the Juan Atkins one). Cybotron ran their own independent label in Melbourne called Clear Light Of Jupiter which basically spearheaded a bizarre Australian Krautrock movement importing bands like Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free and selling more copies than they did in Germany. I was watching a lot of post–apocalyptic films and Aussie horror films when making the LP and especially liked the weird over–saxed club scene in Mad Max, working with Steve sealed the Aussie connection. I suppose this track is influenced by Aussie–Krautrock if you can imagine such a thing.
'The Electric Mountain'
♠ This track is very much about my growing up in Widnes between Liverpool and Manchester. I was a product of a chemical environment — my mum worked as a secretary for the ICI chemical plant and my dad worked for the pharmaceutical company that manufactured Prozac. It was a very happy and innocent childhood, and as a fan of sci–fi, the giant power plants of ICI and Stanlow were great for the imagination and looked like massive metal cities from Blade Runner, terrifying but at night beautifully lit...
♠ In my teens I hung around with hippies and bikers who would talk a lot about bands like Hawkwind and Gong. I managed to get a copy of Church Of Hawkwind in the 80s, which, although it came after their golden era period, it still made a big impact. It's actually my favourite Hawkwind album despite its 1982 cyber–punk credentials — it's been a big influence, not just for nostalgic reasons; there are some great moments on the album, instead of trying to replicate it, I contacted Dave Brock and sampled a section of 'Star Cannibal'... probably the closest I'll ever get to a Hawkwind co–write.
♠ The song itself is also written in a comic book style but is loosely based on our own power resources as human beings and preserving creative energy in a robotic society and not running too far away from our initial spark. The title is based on a huge electric energy plant built in Wales in 1974, which is concealed inside a mountain like a giant David Copperfield illusion. It was made in anticipation of the nuclear revolution, which fortunately never happened so it's never actually reached its destiny. The name also refers to The Holy Mountain (Jodorowsky's adaptation of René Daumal's Mount Analogue), which features both illusions and humankind's inconclusive metaphysical journeys and the struggle between religion, magic, science and technology.
♠ 'Arrows' combines some of the themes running through my songs, with silver at one end and birds' feathers at the other; the silver tip kills the bird and the feathers are used to make the next arrow as the circle continues.
♠ The song is a repeat of the same line like a poem or mantra. Artists want to be creatively immortal but you get trapped in a box like sapphire and steel — it's so important to work and collaborate with other people, the best way to evolve and learn. ♠ I worked on this track with David Holmes when I was in L.A. re–scoring a Czech version of The Little Mermaid for Cinefamily. David is a friend and I think we share a lot of the same ideas about cinematic pop music.
'Don't Take My Soul'
♠ This track is perhaps the poppiest track on the album. It's a little bit like the disco scene in the film where the main character goes into some futuristic Japanese roller rink with giant TV screens. I always loved the disco dance scene in the Buck Rogers film and the composer's bizarre idea of what future pop would sound like. I also sing this in a different range almost playing a different character.
♠ The song itself repeats the same themes about love, religion and secularisation but in a totally dayglo context. I like the idea of old religions being presented via bizarre robotic entities, it's obvious that a lot of the early developments in science and medicine were originally known as witchcraft, people used to think photography stole a person's soul… I heard a story that when Rebop Kwaku Baah first joined Can he felt the same about Holger Czukay's sampling technology. Everyday people use technology to steal people's music, art and film. Technology doesn't die — it outlives the moral consciousness and maturity of all mankind.
♠ I originally came up with this melody in the early Twisted Nerve days when myself and Dave Tyack were preparing the Misty Dixon LP — it's kinda fitting that Damon Gough ended up coming in to do the Godley & Creme–style guitar solo at the end, it's great that I could collaborate in some way with Damon and Andy Votel together.
♠ 'Cells' is almost like a microscopic version of 'The Electric Mountain' but with the positive realisation that nature is the real energy force, nobody is immortal… we are just cells. It's probably the clearest narrative on the LP, almost sung/spoken like a primary schoolteacher. I wanted this track to be like a BBC educational programme with time–lapse photography, like F. Percy Smith. This track also toys with the story of Icarus and what happens if people climb the mountain and get too close to The Silver Globe. It's like a cautionary folk song for kids using electric tones like Morse code.
♠ The music also features synthetic ocean waves made on the Buchla modular synthesiser by Suzanne Ciani (whose Seven Waves | Voices Of Packaged Souls LP was re-pressed on Bird Records last year), her uncredited electronic music on The Stepford Wives and the Xenon pinball machine are ingrained in my everyday life.
♠ This is another comic book–style pop track... I suppose it's about chasing your dreams and destroying the obstacles that get in your way. There's quite a distinct European soundtrack element here echoing the inimitable music of François de Roubaix or JC Vannier. I tried to use a lot of original analogue instruments and techniques on this album but it gets increasingly difficult to maintain this machinery. ♠ As the years go by, it becomes almost impossible to afford to use vintage equipment without big studio budgets which means a lot of the classic 60s and 70s rock sounds are reserved for major label signees or big indie rock groups as opposed to experimental artists. I truly love synthesisers and vintage analogue gear but it's important to have a balance — as long as the desire is there you can get as much out of a Chinese melodica and Casio keyboard with weak batteries as you can out of a mellotron and a string section.
♠ This is basically a love song for all the characters who have helplessly worshipped the globe like addicts and fallen. Those who tried to steal the limelight and got burnt quickly. Like foiled explorers or burnt–out actresses who cling like parasites to kings and queens and eat at the captain's table. They do not realise that within themselves they carry the end of their own dream so they fall and lose everything. This is probably the most stripped down track on the album with vocals and acoustic guitar, David Holmes–produced sounds and Marxophone keys for that Morricone/Nicolai effect, à la Lucio Fulci's A Lizard In Woman's Skin (which is a film about a paranoid schizophrenic Italian woman with nice clothes).
'If Only We Could Be In Love'
♠ This track refers to the top of the mountain again and a place where the wind stops and time stands still. This marks the realisation in the story that the globe or the peak of the mountain is really just a mirror of our own energy and love. It's really just a call–to–arms for people to work together as human beings for the correct reasons and the love of the art and to stop destroying each other and the environment.
♠ Perhaps this is the hippy movement on the LP, it's my first foray into samba, I'm not an expert but I love Gal Costa's first LP with Caetano Veloso [Domingo], which might have influenced this track, but this has still got a mechanical drum machine (Casio keyboard).
'Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary'
♠ This is the last track on the album and returns to organic instruments like piano and drums as opposed to synths, which is probably the direction I will go with on my next LP. The Silver Globe has disappeared and the girl has become human, it was all an illusion… human life and love is the prize.
♠ As a young artist I grew up believing that you had to take certain dictated paths, but you realise it sometimes feels like the electric carousel in Logan's Run where humans are exterminated at 30 years old… unless you form an underground resistance and find that there is a giant world out there, at which point the central computer self–destructs and society returns to the organic elements and freedom!
♠ Devising your own independent system is a wonderful thing, with so many multi–faceted social elements to enjoy. On my records and via the label I have tried to create a community and a family working with artists ranging from seven years old to 70 years old with as much creative freedom as possible. :: http://thequietus.com/
♠ Like An Aspen Leaf (mini album) (2002)
♠ Seven Day Smile (2006)
♠ Cherlokalate (2007)
♠ The Fallen By Watchbird (2010)
♠ The Watchbird Alluminate (2011)
♠ Intianni Kesa (2013)
♠ The Silver Globe (2014)
♠ Bird Records is an offshoot of Twisted Nerve Records and the Finders Keepers reissue label, and is run by Weaver. Bird was founded in 2002 and mainly releases recordings by contemporary female folk artists. These include early recordings by Beth Jeans Houghton and Emma Tricca.
♠ Most notably, Bird released the 2007 compilation album Bearded Ladies. The album brought together both contemporary and vintage psych folk female singers such as Brigitte Fontaine, Bonnie Dobson, Susan Christie and Cate Le Bon. The album has spawned a club night at the Dulcimer bar in Chorlton–cum–Hardy, Manchester. Weaver, and many of the artists featured on 'Bearded Ladies', performed at the 2007 Meltdown Festival, curated by Jarvis Cocker as part of the 'Lost Ladies Of Folk' event.
|The Silver Globe|