Jo Ryder Reminisce About A Fictional Dreamer

The Toronto duo search for connection in a digital landscape on their new single.

Jo Ryder write love letters to dead friends in the their nostalgic and cinematic new single Fictional Dreamer — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

A shape-shifting track fashioned from ghostly cityscapes and layers of urban grit, the latest track from the Toronto electro-shoegazers. It features “a ’70s filmesque vibe, reflecting on our digital culture and how lonely and isolating it can be,” the duo of Lauralee Sheehan and Owen Norquay explain. “We’re all looking for connection in a super-connected world but many of us still feel like lonely hunters.”

Fictional Dreamer took shape in 2021, after the passing of Sheehan’s uncle, who was a big influence on her musical career; his was only one of several funerals that season. The writing took a non-linear form, more of a journey than a traditional verse-chorus structure, anchored on arpeggiating synths, icy drum machines and reverb-drenched vocals.

The song was recorded at a now-defunct rehearsal space in Toronto that was home to dozens if not hundreds of acts; its loss to the city’s inflated real estate market only underscores the sense of melancholy and loss that haunts the song, a song that itself aims to conjure memories of a vibrant scene from 15 years ago.

An audio-visual project that began when Sheehan and Norquay were reminiscing about Toronto’s DIY music scene circa 2009, Jo Ryder contains two unique artists with interdisciplinary minds: Sheehan is an award-winning entrepreneur working in digital media who used to front The Lovely Killbots; Norquay is a music producer and photographer who plays bass in The Mooks and Simple Sailor. Together, they toy with analog and digital tools to create a mesmerizing soundscape that reflects on the isolation of modern life in a super-connected world. Fans of Beach House, Purity Ring and 1970s film soundtracks will find plenty to love here.

Fictional Dreamer was produced and mixed by Evan Sutton, whose credits include Shawn Mendes, Imagine Dragons, Chromeo, Oneohtrix Point Never, Robert Glasper and more. Check out the song above, hear more from Jo Ryder below, and climb on the bandwagon at their website, Instagram and Facebook.

 

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