DOT ALLISON, FORMER CHANTEUSE FOR POST-RAVE, CHILL-OUT experts One Dove-has been quiet for the
last five years or so-but she hasn't been still. After an accident that put her in a wheelchair
for several months and increasing frustration as a songwriter in her perceived role in One Dove,
as opposed to her actual role-she felt she had to show what she could do. "Being a female in a
band with guys, you're not sure how much people really know what you do. To have that pure sense
of writing, it's been a liberating experience and it's a lot easier," she reflects. "When I
embarked upon this solo thing I was really daunted, but it's so much easier than I expected. If I
had known this, I might have been quicker in leaving."
Splitting from One Dove and moving to London from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1996, Allison literally
started from scratch, leaving behind everything, including her share of the group's equipment. "I
went with a handkerchief and a stick sort of thing, you know, that cartoon image of somebody going
away?" she giggles. Demoing her ideas straightaway in studios with free time, she had a home
studio set up within five years.
The majority of her brilliant debut solo effort, Afterglow, is written by Allison. Select tracks
feature special guests. Hal David of Bacharach and David fame steps in on the lyrical side while
Primal Scream's Mani provides basslines, My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Sheilds flexes his guitar
skills, Beth Orton's Will Blanchard bangs drums, the Beta Band's Chris Allison tweaks knobs, and
Death In Vegas have their input.
"It just came together, unfolded. There was no great master plan real- ly," says Allison of her
stellar cast of musicians. "[David] is a complete genius; he takes your melody and then puts words
to it that you could have never written, but would have if you could. He's an emotional
interpreter. Certain tracks were just asking for certain people to be involved," she con- tinues.
Message Personnel' just wanted [Sheilds'] jangly kind of guitar. Mani's feel is amazing on Colour
Me.' He does this intellectual bassline, these little intonations in the wrist that are melodic
Plundering ideas from the dance scene, Afterglow is more a pop album than anything else, and
despite the slew of male influx, it is a woman's album. Strong yet delicate, intensely emotional
but powerfully steadfast, it gives lis- teners the courage to acknowledge their weaknesses and
gain strength from them with Allison's ethereal tones whispering encouragingly. "There's a mood
that runs through it. It's something to do with your aura, there's something intangible that goes
into it," she acknowledges. "It takes time to become flu- ent with your ideas. I've got the studio
here, so I'll potter about for hours. You need that experimentation space, otherwise you get no
rehearsal for what you're going to record," she continues. You make the most of what you've done,
you don't have time to deconstruct it and be realistic." Lily Moayeri
photographed by Robert
Astley-Sparke for Patrica McMahon: Styling by Charlie Green; Hair and Make-up Hitoko Urago for Shu
Uemura; Clothing: Eley Kishimoto. Shot at Big Sky Stufios, London
Originally appeared Flaunt magazine (An alternative-type women's fashion magazine).
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