The uniting factor in Jo Quail's music has always been its all-consuming omnipresence. How it engulfs the listener whether listening loudly or quietly, softly or harshly. Where opener 'White Salt Stag' on this beautifully designed digipak CD edition is earthy and enchanting, closer 'Gold' takes a malleable, shaping of man-made metal angle in the form of Quail's use of electric cello and electronics, and the formulation of solid materials. There is a probability you'll not have a
whisper to it, but a blast, as the mourning strings stretch up through the inner ear and the drones throe-in the low ebb.
I am certainly taken by the 'Five Incantations' theme: take five simple steps, craft five complex tunes with over twice the narrative arcs interwoven. It is spectral music; to borrow Simon Reynolds' term, it creates a "cathedral of sound". A line can be traced like a silken sheet, a thinly woven cloth, a metal wire, all tension and never enough to satisfy in one take. Indeed, the music doesn't sound one take at all. Jo as her name goes knows how to put the work into her rhythms of refuge, her insomniac getaways. The sound art is rife with the kind of aching passion that teased through Greg Haines'
'Until The Point Of Least Resistance' from 'Until The Point Of Hushed Support', 2009. The psychological unease of it all.
Luckily for us there are plenty of moments where the tension reaches satisfying climaxes rather than plummeting us down. This factor makes a good album, in short, especially one that takes mood music so seriously. Mood music has a specific aim:to create that mood, to set one mood, no other mood, and anything else is futile. Resistance from the creator of the music would be his or her achilles' heel in the eyes of a mood music connoisseur. I have spoken of fine lines, and this record
is like a spider diagram, in that respect. Full of bewitching Bjork-esque cello and viola-register harmonies, the genie inside 'Five Incantations' is no fickle spellcaster - that thing has a mind of its own, an organic one, one that grows on you like greed does to a gambling addict. What does this mean? If you have any money left by now, by now, buy it.