Biography
Dot Allison's music is rooted in her delicately haunting vocals and unsparing lyrical eye for sadness, whether on her own records, with One Dove, or with the variety of artists she's collaborated with -- a list that stretches from Babyshambles to Massive Attack. Her work with One Dove placed her at the epicenter of the early-'90s indie dance scene, adding her gently epic vocals to a handful of classic singles, and her solo career took off from there. While her debut solo record, 1999's Afterglow, is a natural, more song-based progression from One Dove, those that followed displayed a restless musical vision. 2002's We Are Science nods toward electroclash, while a pair of albums from the late 2000s delve into baroque pop and noir balladry, respectively. Heart-Shaped Scars, 2021's foray into pastoral private-press folk, captures Allison in her most starkly intimate setting to date.

Allison formed One Dove in 1991 with musical partners Ian Carmichael and Jim McKinven, releasing the white label single "Fallen," an ethereal indie dance hybrid that caught the ear of Andrew Weatherall, then riding high on the success of his work with Primal Scream among others. He took the group under his wing and produced a new version of the song as their debut for Junior Boys Own in 1992. A string of singles followed, but after the long-awaited release of their first and only album, 1993's Morning Dove White, the group fell prey to personal differences, partly brought on by issues with their record label, and disbanded halfway through sessions for a second album.

Allison took some time to regroup and also suffered injuries from a severe car accident that left her in a wheelchair for a few months. Once she recovered, she turned her attention back to making music. She teamed with a wide range of collaborators that included legendary songwriter Hal David, My Bloody Valentine guitarist Kevin Shields, and producer Pascal Gabriel. The first rumblings of Allison's return came with the "I Want to Feel the Chill" single in 1998; the Afterglow album followed the next year. It combined some of the indie dance fusion sound of One Dove while adding elements of dream pop, classic girl group sounds, and a dubby take on Mazzy Star-style nocturnal balladry. Also that year, Allison appeared as a guest vocalist on Death in Vegas' album The Contino Sessions. In addition, she appeared on Scottish techno group Slam's 2001 single "Visions" and on Death in Vegas' Scorpio Rising album. That band's Ian Button was one of the contributors on Allison's second album, 2002's We Are Science, along with Mercury Rev's guitarist Grasshopper. The record was produced in part by Keith Tenniswood at Andrew Weatherall's Studio in London and by Dave Fridmann in New York, and added the cold textures of electro-pop to her already established sound.

Over the next few years, Allison kept busy touring with Massive Attack, recording and performing with Pete Doherty's Babyshambles, appearing on the King of Woolworths track "Sell Me Back My Soul," and writing songs in a much folkier vein. Working with producer Kramer in his New York studio, she stripped away all of the electronics that were a staple of her approach, replacing them with layers of overdubbed acoustic and electric guitars, orchestral strings, piano, banjo, and hand percussion. The result was the pastorally baroque Exaltation of Larks, which was issued by Cooking Vinyl in 2007.

As always, Allison was much in demand as a collaborator and guest vocalist, appearing on songs by Radioactive Man and Pete Doherty, recording a version of "Montague Terrace (In Blue)" for the Scott Walker tribute album Scott Walker: 30 Century Man [Music Inspired by the Film], and working with her husband, Christian Henson, on the soundtracks for Triangle and Black Death. She also scored some hang time with Paul Weller, during which they worked on a song for her 2009 album Room 7 1/2. Produced by Rob Ellis and featuring a number of musicians on loan from the Bad Seeds -- including Mick Harvey -- the record was a collection of moody noir torch songs and murder ballads punctuated by a duet with Pete Doherty on the rollicking "I Wanna Break Your Heart."

After the album's release, Allison took a giant step back from the music industry, devoting herself to family instead, only coming up for air once in 2014 when she collaborated with Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) on their track "Soused." Though she didn't appear on-stage or in the studio, Allison did come up with the occasional musical idea and kept in the habit of playing guitar and ukulele. In the late 2010s, she began work on a batch of songs -- some brand new, some developed over time -- with producer Fiona Cruickshank that revisited the folkier landscape of Exaltation of Larks, only this time the sound was less baroque and more intimate and haunted. Also on hand to help were string player/arranger Hannah Peel, a small string section, and singer/songwriters Amy Bowman and Zoe Bestel. The set was issued in August 2021 by SA Recordings under the title Heart-Shaped Scars. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi




 
Videos
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Dot Allison - One Love (Official Video)
Dot Allison - Strung Out
The Haunted
Death in Vegas "Dirge" with Dot Allison, Live on Later with Jools Holland (2000)
Dot Allison Close Your Eyes
Interview with Dot Allison
MASSIVE ATTACK feat. Dot Allison - Aftersun
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