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London-based group SonVer were formed in November 2003 by cellist Joanna Quail and guitarist Ben McLees. The duo recorded SonVer's eponymous début during the first half of 2005, which would be released on Disconnected Music in the November of that year. SonVer's live shows at the time incorporated visuals by Simon Bryant, the largely monochrome, slow-motion films perfectly complementing SonVer's evocative music.Read More...
During 2006, SonVer's presence on the live scene grew. In addition to several shows at London's legendary The Spitz venue, SonVer's classic 2-piece line-up also performed at WGT Festival in Germany, Ashton Court Festival in Bristol and a year-ending headline set at Teviot Underground in Edinburgh.
2007 began with the release of the 4-track 'Vigil' EP, which showcased the elegiac side of SonVer alongside an incendiary live version of 'Khat Show Host'. During the summer of 2007. SonVer expanded to a 4-piece, with the additions of guitarist/bassist Ruban Byrne and drummer Alistair Richardson. Following the live début of the new line-up at The Luminaire, SonVer closed 2007 with a memorable show at The Union Chapel in London.
2008 began with a gig in Lisbon (Portugal), coinciding with the release of the limited edition 'Music Box' EP (also featuring Rose McDowall and Naevus), which included two otherwise-unavailable SonVer tracks. May 2008 saw the release of a new SonVer EP. Entitled '3 Songs', the new release came in the form of a collaboration with Belgian group Elephant Leaf. Named 'single of the week' by influential music magazine Organ, the EP was launched at a second show at The Union Chapel, which saw Elephant Leaf vocalist Lucie Dehli join SonVer for a finale of 'Safety In Numbness', the closing track on '3 Songs'. During the summer, SonVer teamed up with Ed Simpson of Lautrec to perform an AV/live soundtrack set during the festival season. Entitled '2001: A Space Dub Odyssey', the set was performed to packed film/cinema tents at both Latitude and Green Man Festivals in the UK. In November 2008, SonVer released their second album 'Luz del Abyss', supported by a live show in Liège (Belgium) and a third appearance at The Union Chapel in London.
In 2009, SonVer worked on the 'Alchemy of Man' project, a creative collaboration across the worlds of music and film featuring tracks from throughout their back catalogue and incorporating various new improvised and experimental elements, accompanied by 7 bespoke short films. Using a minimal brief to encourage complete creative freedom, each of the 7 films has been created by independent film makers from across Europe, resulting in a unique blend of style and inspiration. SonVer performed 'Alchemy of Man' live on e.g the Latitude Festival, the WGT Festival in Leipzig, Germany, and the Bath Film Festival, UK.
At the end of the year, guitarist and founder member Ben McLees left SonVer to concentrate on his new project, THIS IS RADIO SILENCE. (www.thisisradiosilence.com)
In January and February 2010, Jo Quail toured Australia, New Zealand and Japan with a solo SonVer show featuring new compositions and an experimental element to each set, taking inspiration from the surroundings, landscapes and experience to improvise new music. In May, Jo took part in an experimental improvised music festival with at Damo Suzuki at Luminaire, London.
Jo announced the end of SonVer via the group's website on 13th September 2010: "Following seven exciting and successful years as a band, SonVer will now make way for our individual musical projects. On behalf of Ben, Al and Ruban, I would like thank you all for your continued support over the years. From the early days of SonVer's duo lineup, to the ambitious audio visual Alchemy of Man tour in 2009 we have been continuously thankful for your support and have been inspired by your enthusiasm. I hope you will continue to enjoy our various musical ventures as we all move on."
Jo's solo work can be found at www.joquail.co.uk and