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BIRD / FINDERS KEEPERS

THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2014.

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 paeon, this twelve track 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.

‘The Silver Globe’ features collaborations with David Holmes, Australian space rockers Cybotron, Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy), Suzanne Ciani and Andy Votel, as well as a recycled chunk of an 80s Hawkwind track.

Click here to view the full Q&A that Jane Weaver did with Piccadilly Records for our End Of Year Review Booklet 2014.

STAFF COMMENTS

Andy says: An incredible album, a concept album, a whole world of dreams, a portal. With analogue synths, Krautrock grooves, strange wonky disco and whispy, dislocated folk, Jane created a world of sound you couldn't help but fall in love with and ultimately lose yourself in. The song-writing is top notch, the production incredible, the artwork absolutely beautiful. Everything is perfect about this record.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Silver Globe
2. Argent
3. The Electric Mountain
4. Arrows
5. Don't Take My Soul
6. Cells
7. Mission Desire
8. Stealing Gold
9. If Only We Could Be In Love
10. Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary

Remaining faithful to her influences of Germanic märchen tales, Eastern European children’s cinema and mechanical pop music, Jane Weaver expands her critically acclaimed ‘Fallen By Watchbird’ concept album in this ten chapter sequel-of-sorts by employing a cast of new actors and narrators to reinterpret her surreal ‘cosmic aquatic folklore’.

Here Jane experiments with volks-music in its purest, most innocent form using modern tools to re-tell and recycle secondhand stories. Inspired by post-war cinematic interpretations and hand-me-down mistranslations of global folk tales, Jane has collaborated with a close-knit group of musicians, noisemakers and vocalists / narrators to create automatic-music and reilluminate an eleven-page novella about telepathy, technology, lost-love, wiccan, war and watchbirds.

As part of ongoing voice and electronic experiments with the people behind Pre-Cert Records, ‘The Watchbird Alluminate’ includes a wordless vocal introduction and interlude from both Demdike Stare and the elusive Anworth Kirk, while the spoken-word narrative of Finders Keepers’ lost American pop folk singer Susan Christie is reinterpreted by Ghostbox’s Focus Group with results comparable to Ruth White’s 1968 electronic / vox interpretations of Baudelaire’s ‘Flowers Of Evil’.

Jane’s own Bird Records label roster contributes two new cover versions of Weaver’s self-penned tracks re-sung by Italian singer Emma Tricca and Rochdale’s time-slipped falsetto soloist Magpahi (in a track evokes cinematic scenes from ‘Night Of The Hunter’ or ‘The Innocents’). Elsewhere vintage soft-pop royalty appears in the form of a lead vocal from Wendy & Bonnie’s, Wendy Flower, a close friend and confidant of Jane’s since their first collaborations in New York and London in 2006 at the request of Jarvis Cocker for his guest curation at the Meltdown festival.

Other lead performances from Weaver add a new poetic twist to the story in both solo capacity and alongside Samandtheplants’ Sam McLoughlin, whose ‘Natural / Supernatural Lancashire’ library project (with Alison Cooper) from 2010 still resonates as one of that year’s finest new releases.

With a unique approach to making non-linear mechanical music, this pop-up collective adds a further creative perspective to the oft mistreated ‘concept album’ virtually eliminating genre distinction in favour of communal noise - a unique product of genuinely independent music which continues to sprout further branches.

TRACK LISTING

Europium Alluminate (With Demdike Stare)
A Circle And A Star Part 1 (With The Focus Group & Susan Christie)
The Fallen By Watchbird (Video Mix)
Turning In Circles (By Emma Tricca)
Majic Milk
Whispers Of Winter (with Wendy Flower)
Noctilmina (with Anworth Kirk)
My Soul Was Lost, My Soul Was Lost And No-One Saved Me (by Magpahi)
Silver Chord (with Samandtheplants)
A Circle And A Star Part 2 (with The Focus Group & Susan Christie)

Paper Dollhouse

A Box Painted Black

    Paper Dollhouse is the work of Astrud Steehouder; dark minimal gothic folk which comprises haunting vocals, acoustic guitar, effects pedals, found sounds, slide projector and minimal electronic atmospherics. Her debut album ‘A Box Painted Black’ is released on Bird Records, the femme-folk offshoot of Finders Keepers.

    Inspired by early 60s electronic pioneers Delia Derbyshire and Eliane Radique, bleak British television soundtracks, minimal dark electronica, Scott Walker, Arthur Russell, Christine Harwood and France Gall, the music combines simple folk songs with environmental and electronic textural sounds and visuals to create a pared down, beautiful experience.

    Named after the 1988 cult horror film Paperhouse: “I watched the film when I was about 10 and was really drawn in by it. Something about the quality and tone of it, the psychology and aesthetic of that struck a chord and been with me ever since. I'm into actual dollhouses and models of things as well. I used to make these little viewfinder boxes containing little scenes in them as a child for fun, I found them magical.”

    Steehouder has created a new kind of (black) magic on her debut release. ‘A Box Painted Black’ was recorded entirely in the kitchen and garden of her London home amongst the incidental sounds of trains passing, children playing, door slams and running water. The songs retain the ambience of the place they were recorded. Often first takes and recorded as soon as the songs had been penned, they combine an immediacy and raw quality which fills the work with a naivety and emotive dark tonality.

    Dense in simplicity and thick with silence the songs are restrained, intense, lingering and decorated with white noise. Steehouder names “bewildering post nuclear landscapes, bleak fields, forests, thunderstorms and archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere” as influences, rather than the listing the much and over cited normal singer-songwriter fare. The songs possess a folk pop sensibility rich in mysterious hooks that creep up on you from around a dark alleyway, following you on the all the way home at night.

    There is a raw completeness to the work, the body of which is clearly a deep and evolving spectrum. Hypnotic, meditative and a midnight look through the keyholeof Paper Dollhouse’s secret garden; “the album’s like a Pandora's box of messages. It was kind of a dark solace for me, the slight way the album happened. Almost hidden.”


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