One year on from the release of their acclaimed Island of Noise LP, Modern Nature gave the Friday-night audience at London’s Kings Place a perfect performance, with a collection of songs that unspooled and drew back in again, combining glorious freedom with consummate discipline.
The album was made by ten musicians, but when played live, with fewer performers, each song was able to unfurl and flower on stage. Heather Roche’s bass clarinet and Jeff Tobias’ saxophone were given freedom to roam, entrancing the crowd with every flourish, with John Edwards’ double bass and Jim Wallis’ drums buttressing a system that was woven together by Jack Cooper’s exploratory vocals.
The concert was spectral and adventurous. To call it ambitious would be to deny the fact that each of these musicians is supremely accomplished, but there was a certain sense of reaching towards some unseen pinnacle present at every point of the evening’s performance. Many members of the seated crowd kept leaning further towards the stage, almost carried unwittingly in the direction of the band, borne aloft by their mounting crescendos. The higher ground was attained, and the gig attendees were treated to a stellar set.
The night coincided with the release of a limited-edition live album, Live at Cafe Oto, and it is heartening to know that those unable to attend a gig such as this one could get a glimpse into a startlingly magical world.
Follow Modern Nature on Bandcamp.