From Euronymous’s love of Tangerine Dream onwards, the underground metal world has embraced a small coterie of artists who may be worlds apart on a superficial sonic level, but whose umbilical connection to the other has forged a spiritual bond. Dead Can Dance, Fields Of The Nephilim and Wovenhand have long been revered by the likes of Behemoth, Immortal and Primordial, but in recent years a new range of artists have emerged – Anna von Hausswolff, Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle – who have resonated on levels far deeper than genre classification.
UK artist Jo Quail might seem further out on a limb in that her instrument of choice is the cello, but the organic and exploratory currents she’s channelled over the course of four albums have felt like dormant realms of consciousness being fertilised to revelatory effect – and she’s now holding the metal world in her thrall. Aside from having collaborated with both Myrkur and Wynterfylleth, Anna von Hausswolff, Amenra and A Storm Of Light have chosen her to support, with a further Myrkur tour to come, and she’s performed at ArcTanGent, Tramlines and Dunk! festivals as she weaves a gilded thread throughout our scene.
Now she’s about to release her latest album, Exsolve, on November 2. Produced by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios (Electric Wizard, Primordial, Witchsorrow, Conan), it features three lengthy tracks whose gradual, unfurling wonder proves both alien and intimate, at one with the wilfulness of nature as they evolve into otherworldly and exhilarating forms.
Exsolve is unlike anything you’ve heard, but feel you’ve always known, and we’re proud to offer a preview, in the from-fledgling-to-magisterial form of Mandrel Cantus: and edit from the 11-and-a-half-minute original, but offering seven minutes of transformative, exquisitely expansive grace.
“Mandrel Cantus is a track that's been evolving over a long period of time, and continues to morph each time I perform it live,” says Jo. “I started with abstract percussion; in fact I built a whole new armoury of sounds for this track, and these themselves helped inform the direction of the music as I continued to work on it. It's impossible to talk about your own music without sounding pretentious... I wanted to make a pathway through the percussive labyrinth that resolves and opens powerfully in a physical sense, but dissolves to leave just the spiritual essence of the whole music with the modal C cantus at the end. I'm doing things I've never done before in terms of how my loop station is set up, and the sound modelling too, and as such I'm really excited every time I play this track, though it's a potential minefield to navigate!”
Open your mind, prepare for a flood of new sensations, and get carried along to wherever Mandrel Cantus will take you below!
Visit Jo Quail's Facebook page here (opens in new tab)
Visit her Bandcamp page for forthcoming news on how to order Exsolve here (opens in new tab)
And go see her play with Myrkur at these UK dates!
Dec 18: London, The Dome
Dec 19: Bristol, The Fleece
Dec 20: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Dec 21: Glasgow, The Great Eastern
Dec 22: Manchester, Gorilla