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We had the pleasure of interviewing Dot Allison over Zoom video!
After the haunting lead single Long Exposure heralded the release of Heart-Shaped Scars – Allison’s first album in 12 years and her most personal to date – Dot Allison unveils another new single and lyric video, ‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’, out today on SA Recordings. With Allison’s vocals at its most ethereal, the single is tranquil in sound and passionate in spirit.
‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’ originated from a poem written by Dot after her friend and poet Stuart McKenzie recommended some of his favourite poets. “On reading some of the work I wanted to use my immediate natural environment to write a poem” Dot explains. The result was ‘Emblems’ set in an autumn landscape. Later, when Dot and Zoë Bestel decided to write a duet for the new album Dot suggested ‘Emblems’ as “a starting point for the lyrics” As it transpired it proved fundamental in shaping ‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’, providing much of the lyrical content.
Dot’s interests in music, literature, science and nature are integral to Heart-Shaped Scars overall aesthetic. It’s backdrop of exquisitely sparse and intoxicating dream-folk evokes Dot’s vision for “a pure kind of album that musically imbues a return to nature. I wanted it to be comforting like a familiar in-utero heartbeat.”
The album is produced by Allison alongside Fiona Cruickshank, with Hannah Peel adding string arrangements to four songs, courtesy of a quintet of Scottish folk musicians. Recorded at Castlesound Studios in Edinburgh – Dot’s home town – the sessions include new collaborations with singer songwriters Amy Bowman “The Haunted” and Zoë Bestel on new single “Can You Hear Nature Sing?”.
Since 1999’s Afterglow, Allison has striven to “keep the listener on a journey – and myself too.” That journey has taken her from Afterglow’s broad church (trip-hop, Tim Buckley-esque ballads, chilled psychedelia) to the sultry synth-pop of We Are Science (2002), the baroque Exaltation of Larks (2007) and the roots drama of Room 7½ (2009). She’s worked with an extraordinary roll call of talent – Kein Shields, Hal David, Paul Weller, Pete Doherty and Darren Emerson, Massive Attack Scott Walker, Slam, Philip Shepard, The Babyshambles & Pete Doherty, underlining the huge respect her peers hold her in.
On Heart-Shaped Scars Allison mines a deeply emotive seam. “Love, loss and a universal longing for union that seems to go with the human condition. To me, music is a sort of tonic or an antidote to a kind of longing, for a while at least.”
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