All Is Quiet At The An­cient The­atre Car­di­nal Fuzz An au­tum­nal sym­phony from the Left Outsides vi­ola ace.

Prog - - The Musical Box - KN

After two al­bums with hus­band Mark Ni­cholas in on­go­ing acid folk duo The Left Outsides, Ali­son Cot­ton aban­dons tra­di­tional song struc­tures to em­bark on her first solo work. Fol­low­ing the heady path opened up on her col­lab­o­ra­tory cas­sette with Plinth’s Michael Tan­ner, this is still es­sen­tially a folk record, but leaves usual tropes as dis­tant specks. Over five lengthy tracks, Cot­ton cre­ates a mes­meris­ingly at­mo­spheric au­tum­nal sym­phony, armed with just her vi­ola and spec­tral voice, fre­quently multi-tracked. Per­haps the clos­est com­par­i­son is the frozen warn­ings and ar­cane Euro­pean folk spir­its on Nico’s 1968’s shape-shift­ing The Mar­ble In­dex; a haunt­ing drone reverie set against stark back­drops of skele­tal trees and an­cient church ru­ins (even a de­serted WW1 bat­tle­field). Cot­ton’s spell is cast from the first waves of mourn­ful vi­ola that bring in the open­ing 10-minute ti­tle track, duet­ing with it­self then joined by the pas­toral strokes of her worldess vo­cals. This con­tin­ues through The Last Sense To Leave Us, The Bells Of St Agnes – where her vo­cal re­sem­bles a me­dieval Nico – and A Tragedy In The Tithe Barn. A beau­ti­ful al­bum that’s per­fect for the cold snap.

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