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Jane Weaver

Born 1972 in Liverpool, raised in Widnes, but settling residing in Manchester, singer-songwriter/guitarist JANE WEAVER has been around longer than people might think, having been part of Britpop outfit KILL LAURA (releasing five singles between 1993 and 1996) and neo-folktronica act MISTY DIXON (for a one-off set `Iced To Mode’ 2003).
Setting up home with Mancunian producer/DJ mixer/solo artist Andy Votel (aka Andrew Shallcross, her hubby), Jane’s solo career slowly kicked into gear after a handful of singles for Rob Gretton’s Manchester Records imprint; indie-pop act DOVES featured on her `Everyone Knows Everyone Else’, late in 1998.
Augmented by Votel, Dave Tyack, Sam Yates, Naomi Hart, Rick Tomlinson (of VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS) and ELBOW musicians Craig Potter and Richard Jupp, the LIKE AN ASPEN LEAF (2002) {*7} mini-set was her inaugural introduction to freak folk. With tracks like the PJ HARVEY-esque `A Bird Stole The Gold’, to others in a more VASHTI BUNYAN/BETH ORTON mode (`Ridiculous’, `Why Don’t You Smile’ and the title track), it was a fine start for the kooky star.
With funding from Twisted Nerve Records (aka Votel and BADLY DRAWN BOY), WEAVER formed the Bird label in 2002; releasing tracks from a number of vintage psych-folk artists such as BONNIE DOBSON, BRIGITTE FONTAINE and SUSAN CHRISTIE (not forgetting CATE LE BON), plus three albums of her own SEVEN DAY SMILE (2006) {*6}, CHERLOKALATE (2007) {*7} and THE FALLEN BY WATCH BIRD (2010) {*8}. Best described by her publicist as “a new conceptual pop project featuring seven chapters of cosmic aquatic folklore”, Jane’s twee folktronica metamorphosed between the BRAINTICKET-esque `A Circle And A Star’, to the modern-day hillbilly beat of `Whispers Of Winter’ (complete with fuzz guitar) and the MORRICONE-meets-JONI MITCHELL-ish gem `My Soul Was Lost…’ – psych-folk was back for good. Note too of her enterprising collaborative re-works set, THE WATCHBIRD ALLUMINATE (2011) {*7} – as Jane Weaver Septieme Soeur – alongside friends from the wide world of folk.
On the back of a shared effort, INTIANNI KESA (2013) {*6}, with Pierre Ralph (and his soundtrack to 1973’s La Rose De Fer), the synth-laded THE SILVER GLOBE (2014) {*9} – the title pertaining to Andrzej Zubawski’s 1988 film “On The Silver Globe” – brought the idiosyncratic laptop folkie WEAVER into a NEU!-like cosmos (a la `Argent’). Indeed, `The Electric Mountain’ sampled “masters of the universe” HAWKWIND, whilst nods to American synth progenitor/pianist SUZANNE CIANI (or even STEREOLAB’s Laetitia Sadier) was high on the list of comparisons on respective pieces, `Cells’ and `Arrows’.
Abandoning her live time with hubby Votel on moonlight job, NeoTantrik, WEAVER’s first for Fire Records, MODERN KOSMOLOGY (2017) {*8} was again light years away from her ye olde freak folk salad days. Echoes of HARMONIA, BROADCAST and CAN couldn’t be counted out; especially as CAN man Malcolm Mooney cameo’d on the flighty, part-spoken `Ravenspoint’. The record was again indebted to krautrock, sonic-psych and dream-pop, but WEAVER’s vision and literate, breath-taking manifesto stamped her own introspective identity on such entrancing beauties as `Did You See Butterflies?’, `Slow Motion’, `H>A>K’ and `The Architect’. In fact, one of the better pieces was chosen as the title for yet another re-imagined/re-works set, LOOPS IN THE SECRET SOCIETY (2019) {*7}; utilising tracks from her previous two sets and “The Architect” EP that might’ve went under the radar.
© MC Strong 2011/GFD2 // rev-up MCS Jul2019

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