Alison Cotton presents The Portrait You Painted of Me, her recent 6-track album – her first for Rocket Recordings (released on Feeding Tube in the USA). Like Alison’s previous solo albums, the touchstones of her immersive sound are viola, harmonium and voice, merged together to create a rich suite of songs.‘Mumurations Over the Moor’ is a wordless piece of layered vocals, drifting like fog towards a sunset over the green undulations of North East England (from where she hails). ‘The Last Wooden Ship’ evokes the shipyards of Sunderland using droning harmonium and viola lines, laced with piano and percussion events, while her voice calls out like one of Tim Buckley’s Sirens urging listeners to a rocky demise.
The structure and sound is reminiscent of a post-modern approach to lyrical concerns dealt with by folk singers of the British ‘60s, but the actual arrangement is closer to something John Cale might have done with Nico on The Marble Index. As with its predecessors, The Portrait You Painted of Me was recorded at home in London, beautifully produced by Alison’s partner, Mark Nicholas, and it contains all the elements that result in the sombre, exquisite melancholy she creates. This is some serious and remarkable stuff.
“An eerie, lost folk horror soundtrack glinting in the sunshine.” The Guardian
“Following an arcane ritual.”The Wire
“The power of this music is simply awe-inspiring.” The Quietus
“Folorn, hypnotic drone hymns for an ancient haunted England.” Mojo
“Alison’s ever expanding stained glass window continues to beam with unearthly light.” Shindig