Modern Nature
No Fixed Point In Space

(Bella Union)


The first two Modern Nature record, 2019’s How to Live and 2021’s Island of Noise, marked a decisive break with the past for Jack Cooper, previously best known for making charming, inventive pop music as one half of Ultimate Painting, and, before that, melodic indie rock as the frontman of Mazes. Suddenly, the traditional song structures that had defined those two outfits were eschewed in favour of open-ended pieces that often sound improvisational; it is a rabbit hole Cooper appears only too happy to continue heading down, particularly on the evidence of this third album, No Fixed Point In Space.

The title is instructive; he describes his extensive cast of collaborators on the album as “imaginative interpreters” and sure enough, there doesn’t seem to be anything in particular anchoring the songs, allowing him to let his hushed, sparse instrumentals slowly unfurl, making a quiet but determined argument for organic creativity. It is an album that rewards patience; thoughtful and ruminative, calling to mind at times the impressionistic style of songwriting that Mark Hollis of Talk Talk so skilfully embraced in the latter stages of his career. Cooper is progressing at his own pace; the results are elegant.