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Modern Nature Share New Single “Cascade” – Taken From New Album “No Fixed Point In Space” Out September 29th via Bella Union

August 18, 2023
Press shot credit: James Sharp

Modern Nature Share New Single “Cascade”

New Album, No Fixed Point In Space

Out September 29th via Bella Union

Modern Nature share new single, “Cascade” which comes as the second preview of the forthcoming album, No Fixed Point In Space which is out September 29 via Bella Union.

No Fixed Point In Space, the third full-length album by Jack Cooper’s Modern Nature, takes the palette of sound and themes that were honed on 2021’s Island Of Noise and launches them into an expansive world of openness and vivid technicolor. It’s a music that hasn’t been heard before; as melodic as anything Cooper has produced but framed by rhythms and instrumentation that reflect the chaos, unpredictability and color of the natural world.

Speaking about the new single, Cooper says: “Cascade is a link between the abstract colours of this record and the rhythms of the last one Island Of Noise. The imagery is an attempt to convey how overwhelming the world can be when you make the time to really observe it. Beautiful, intricate and infinite. I was honored to be able to sing this round a microphone with the great Julie Tippetts… something I’ll never forget.”

Cascade” offers this almost fragile formation. The jazz influence moves the arrangement further into its progressive play adding this striking injection but the volatile harmonies and the melody that oozes throughout the creation offer this raw sincerity which provides the ultimate hook. Modern Nature continues to create such immersive landscapes where we embrace the atmosphere developing around the listener, the tonality and vivid textures assist with building this story that the listener connects to.

Certain moorings – woodwind, percussion, strings and Cooper’s lambent voice – are still present and recognizable from No Fixed Point In Space’s predecessor, Island Of Noise, but the new record marks a shift to utilizing musical notation as a point of departure, from which the group explore the space around suggested notes and rhythms to create a semi-improvised, semi-composed ensemble performance. These explorations of partly organized chance were recorded live and directly to tape. 

“Part of it is a reaction to what I hear out in the world,” continues Cooper. “Modern Nature’s music has certain threads that run through it. Music is increasingly sterile and informed by the grids and convenience of digital recording. Music needs the swing of humans for it to resonate on any level below the surface.

“I think the most important aspect of that idea is collectivism; the rhythm, melody, timbre, dynamics, all the aspects of music are not the responsibility of one instrument, they are the responsibilities of all the instruments. The vocals are no more important than the bass. That makes the music move in an organically unpredictable way. Like a flock of birds or a school of fish, notes breaking the surface and then disappearing. That’s how I want this music to feel.”

Cooper devised musical notation for the players to follow in every song. Within this set of loose parameters or signifiers, they were able to explore the pieces on their own terms. “Most of the arrangement and orchestration is notated, but the musicians are all imaginative interpreters’” he says – and for the record, they include: Anton Lukoszevieze, Mira Benjamin and Heather Roche of Apartment House, Alex Ward (This Is Not This Heat / Spiritualized), Dominic Lash, Chris Abrahams of The Necks, Julie Tippetts (FKA Julie Driscoll) as well as long-term collaborators Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers) and Jim Wallis.

The swing of one particular human present on No Fixed Point In Space is especially noteworthy. The legendary Julie Tippetts (Driscoll) adds her distinctive voice to the record, demonstrating her ability to evoke a landscape, whether physical or interior. Throughout the record her voice does this to great, purposeful effect, not least on the closing track Ensō, where she takes the lead.

“Ultimately,” concludes Cooper. “This is music I’ve always wanted to hear. I read a quote of Einstein’s via Merce Cunningham that said there are ‘no fixed points in space’ and that felt right. It felt like what I was trying to achieve here”

1. Tonic

2. Murmuration

3. Orange

4. Cascade

5. Sun

6. Tapestry

7. Ensō

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