Revolutionary musician, Jo Quail, releases her new album. It will have the tongues of discerning music listeners of all tastes wagging, as a fresh look at how music is composed enthralls us on Invocation/Supplication.
Release Date: 3rd November 2023
Label: By Norse Music
Format: Digital / CD / Vinyl
Listening to Jo Quail unaccompanied live is a unique experience (live review here), so to listen to her recorded creations abandoning musical conventions is another rare treat with her versatile use of the cello. Who says the cello is not a percussion instrument? With use of technology and looping systems, it can be anything.
Invocation / Supplication, comprised of two pieces each with what are named as ‘three-song cycles’, requires an open-minded approach to the listening experience. The voices of Maria Franz (Heilung), Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, Jake Harding and The Choir of Sing United show distinctly how the voice is an instrument, more than the transport of words.
Jo explains: “Music is an art without boundaries, to be interpreted in any way we wish, with freedom to assign individual meaning or association. That’s what I term ‘active listening’ (or audience participation!). Individually Invocation and Supplication each describe three aspects of an archetype; both together they form an entire image.“
So, you are given the choice of looking at this glorious music however you wish a complete piece in 6 sections, 2 pieces with 3 movements or 6 separate pieces. Absorb the music and free your thinking just as much as Jo Quail has in its creation. The trap is to over-analyse and intellectualise it; that would be pretentious, and Jo’s music is far from that.
You feel, when listening, that Jo is not merely playing notes with gentle fingering and swaying bow but with every muscle, sinew and bone in her body from toe to head, controlled by a unique musical mind.
As well as getting her thinking you get her soul as well. Any preconceptions about what to expect from the use of a cello or what prog music is or even what contemporary music is can be abandoned. Just immerse yourself in the listening as Jo and her colleagues do in the performing.
Thankfully there seems to be at last much new music being composed in the music world and Jo is just one element of this enlightenment in which young artists are not so much extending boundaries but creating new territories for us to explore. They won’t all be to everyone’s taste but that’s the beauty of music isn’t it?
Unfettered, flowing, sometimes otherworldly, symphonic, shooting off on different tangents, vibrant and magical, Jo describes her music as earthy, primal and spiritual in the widest sense.
What wonders will Jo Quail conjure up next?
Jo Quail is on tour around Europe and the UK during the end of the year. All her tour dates are here. Listen to The Calling below.