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Sound Check The Wire / Mermaids Jo Thomas Holidays Records
Published 17 August 2013 by JT

Jo Thomas
Mermaids
Review written by Abi Bliss
The Wire 355 / September 2013


With the scope that it offers for shaping sounds into actors or scenery of a drama, electronic music lends it's self willingly to metaphor. Sometimes - particularly in works conceived with one eye on academic plaudits - this plays out as laughable melodrama or leaden farce , relaying heavily upon once innovative but now familiar sonic acrobatics , or drawing connections between sound and connections that are obscure to everyone but the creator.
Fortunately Jo Thomas wields metaphor with greater subtlety. The titles of the four tracks have a watery theme , yet it is unclear which way the allusion flows - are the sharp , glitchy edits and darting pans of 'Bream Choir' meant to evoke the momentary glinting of individual fish within a larger school or is the piece about the sounds them selves , there transformations best understood through a sub aquatic lens?
Regardless of the power of suggestion the album conjures up images of a chill , pressurised realm , whose borders are muffled and diffuse and where the world of detail shrinks to a few centimetres ' diameter . Thomas 2012 album Nature of Habit had a similarly contrasting sense of the intimate and the distant but Mermaids creates a more tactile , if still fantastical sonic space, where the echoing , popping sounds of the title track suggest bubbles rising to the surface in a way speaking more directly to the imagination rather than the laws of physics .
As with her 2010 Album Alpha where the voice became the basis for a Donna Haraway informed post human space , vocal sounds comprise the raw palette of Mermaids . Only rarely is this apparent . Scales features bovine groans that might be how underwater residents perceive human speech , while the richly glittering 'Earth , Moon And The Stars concludes with a ghost of a song . For the most part , however, Thomas transforms her samples beyond recognition, rendering them not so much half human , half fish as new and seamlessly fused mythical beings.

LIVE DATES
for bookings and info please email jo@jothomas.me.
Live 2017
28th of January -4th of February
Chinese Open ' Score Artwork
London
WC2H 7DT,
April 11th
Sonic Imperfections
The Montague Arms, 289 Queens road Peckham SE15 2PA
20th of May
Linear Obsessional Festival
8th of June
Desolate Live
Victoria
Walthamstow
14 October
The box Fargo
Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art 2017
22nd October
Concerto for Drum Machine
East London
Non Classical
Mermaids Vinyl available for release from Holidays Records.
http://www.holidaysrecords.it/
Mermaids Vinyl available for sale Boomkat
http://boomkat.com/vinyl/809479-jo-thomas-mermaids
Nature of Habit CD available for purchase at
http://www.entracte.co.uk/project/jo-thomas-e142/
Nature of Habit CD available for Purchase at Boomkat
http://boomkat.com/cds/746165-jo-thomas-nature-of-habit
Alpha E82 Vinyl available for purchase at Entr'acte
http://www.entracte.co.uk/project/jo-thomas-e82/
Soul Vibration / Joachim Norwdwall Jo Thomas Remix 2013
https://soundcloud.com/entracte/joachim-nordwall-jo-thomas-remix
Jo Thomas Entr'acte Mix June 2013
https://soundcloud.com/entracte/jo-thomas-june-2013
Jo Thomas New Scientist Crystal Prix Ars Electronica 2012
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/09/capturing-the-sound-of-light.html
Jo Thomas awarded Golden Nica from Prix Ars Electronica 2012'
http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/9072/
Mermaids Fact Mag Best of 2013 Nick Bullen
http://www.factmag.com/2013/12/22/nic-bullens-favourite-releases-labels-and-live-shows-of-2013/

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