Track: Jacana People – ‘And The Lake Was …’: a masterful lope of electronica atmospheres with Neil Cowley at the keys

Jacana People

IF YOU’RE a fan of the leftfield musics, ambient and textural and nuanced, whatever its provenance, be it modern compositional or electronic or anywhere through the ultraviolets and infrareds along the spectrum between them both, then one of the artists involved in this new single you’ll likely be au fait with; the other, perhaps less so – but you soon will be, for sure.

Jacana People are a production duo from Buckinghamshire who have been quietly garnering support from the cognoscenti on the back of a clutch of a series of one- and two-track digital single drops of much intelligence and beauty, placing them with pretty much immediate effect up there in the same cohort as Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Rival Consoles and the like; music you can dance to, music you can bliss to, full of atmosphere and organic soundscapes and all-round engaging nuance.

They first crossed paths with Neil Cowley, the British pianist who’s released an enveloping body of work exploring the clints and grikes of the places where jazz and modern composition and modern ambient abut to produce an excellent and very still yet surging, clean, pan-European retake of Neil’s “Souls Of The S-Bahn” for his Hall Of Mirrors (Reflected) remixes set in July (read our full review of that here), which seemed an marriage of aesthetics to rival Alva Noto’s with Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Now Neil is returning the favour, bringing his considerable piano nous to Jacaranda People’s “And The Lake Was…” which is here for you to rather fall for, below.

The track was brought into being this spring, when the three got together in Neil’s London studio with no specific direction other than to explore; “And The Lake Was…” beginning to emerge entirely spontaneously from their interconnection.

It’s a dark beauty, with shadowy polyrhythms and shifting currents of a very Warp IDM persuasion, which is obviously excellent; it opens out into a more halcyon electro chatter, never so angular as to be jerky, always sweeping downstream and then Neil’s piano earths the track as a lightning rod in melody and harmony. Very lovely.

For their part, Jacana People say: “‘And The Lake Was…’ marks a new phase. It feels more pensive than some of our other work – more intricate and challenging, and we love that about it.

“Working with Neil was completely joyous, not only personally but creatively. He allowed us the space to experiment whilst giving us the impetus to thrive off the spontaneity and immediacy of live sound. Our collective aim was to build a track around a singular landscape, and as it developed, that scene became abstracted and murky, but still filled with hope.”

Neil rejoinders: “I have a little playground of synths and drum machines in my studio and I was delighted to see Aaron and Rob’s eyes light up on their first visit. Clearly, like me, they love the challenge of creating fresh sounds from chunks of metal!

“This track is the result of the playtime that ensued as we danced round the toys in my room. It was obvious that we both craved a certain type of atmosphere from the production so the construction came very easily … with the result sitting very happily with my ’signature’ piano.

“The particular thrill in this collaboration for me is being there right at the coal face as a new artist begins what I believe to be a very successful journey …. and they’re also now good mates, too!”

Both artists have live dates coming up in the capital in the next few days: Jacana People will be playing as part of the Melting Point event at Café 1001, in the Truman Brewery complex, Brick Lane, on Thursday, December 9th, with Tibasko, Bklava, Kiimi, Meg Ward and Raw Silk – you can purchase tickets here; whereas Neil will be playing a brace of nights in The Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre on Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th; get tickets for those evenings, here.

Jacana People’s “And The Lake Was…” is out now on digital streaming platforms. Connect with them elsewhere on the web at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bandcamp.

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