In the run up to acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist Jo Quail‘s new album Exsolve, we asked her to put together a playlist of the artists and tracks that have influenced her throughout the years.
Watch Jo Quail’s trailer for the album here, with an excerpt of the track ‘Mandrel Cantus’:
Artists / Tracks that have influenced me:
Dead Can Dance – ‘Song of the Sybil’
My cousins playing this whole album to me when I was maybe 12, sitting on the steps outside their flat on a warm summer night. This careful, simple yet wholly powerful arrangement has stayed by my side over the years.
G Tom Mac – ‘Cry Little Sister’ (from The Lost Boys)
I remember watching The Lost Boys for the first time as a kid, and immediately rushing upstairs to the piano to play this theme back. I still love this track today (and the movie!).
Jane’s Addiction – ‘Three Days’
Perry Farrel’s vocals are unbridled in an almost animalistic fashion and this gives such space, it removes boundaries of precision in a way, yet there is so much precision in the whole track. It creates a kind of virile rawness that pervades ‘Three Days’, and much more of their music too.
Tchaikovsky Symphony No.6 – ‘Adagio (final movement)’
I have to listen to this periodically. There’s an incredible YouTube performance conducted by Myung Whun Chung that I often visit. The whole symphony is stunning but this movement especially has a place in my heart. I played this years ago and for the first time felt the true power of a symphony orchestra, and knew first-hand the absolute intention in the weight and heaviness wrought from the instruments and performers.
Saul Williams – ‘Twice The First Time’
Awesome track. He’s mesmerising in live performance and has a real breadth to what he does in terms of arrangement, as well as brilliant lyrics. Watching him open for Nine Inch Nails was a huge and profound learning curve for me.
Ratt – ‘Round and Round’
I love Ratt for several reasons but in this track it’s the drive and the kind of confident (hedonistic!) attitude that pervades the writing and the live show too, it delivers in droves!
Arvo Part – ‘Fratres’ (for strings and percussion)
When I first heard this in concert I was completely moved. The harmonic movement of the strings, the rhythmic unison, coupled with the constant pedal A sparse and profound percussion. This is pure beauty.
Manuel De Falla – ‘Asturiana’
Beauty, grace and elegance. I have played this arranged for cello and piano, and also arranged and performed it as a cello quartet in a concert a few years back. The harmonies are close, and there is a gentle almost omnipresent movement in the piano or guitar underpinning the voice which, when it pauses, creates the most powerful space in the music.
Lana Del Rey – ‘Summertime Sadness’
At home people like the Cedric Gervais remix particularly! The whole remix concept has influenced me a great deal, especially in the way I’ve dealt with pieces like ‘White Salt Stag’ in live performance, bringing the pace up a bit and making fuller use of percussion to drive things along, cutting things out or apparently ‘splicing’ them sonically speaking – changing bowing or phrasing to get a very different feel from a track that I’ve felt has been less settled previously.
Huge thanks to Jo Quail for selecting these tunes for us! Listen to them in our Guest Playlist here:
Jo Quail’s upcoming album Exsolve is out 2nd November.