After a decade away, Dot Allison returned in 2021 with Heart-Shaped Scars. She continues that rich seam of songwriting form with a new LP Consciousology.
Heart-Shaped Scars was often introspective and possibly one-paced. Consciousology is a punchier, more focused affair.
Dot explained: “I see Consciousology as a more psych Heart-Shaped Scars with a far fuller, more immersive sound. In that sense, it’s a more wayward, bolder, rule-breaking partner.”
The single release Unchanged demonstrates her point best. It culminates in a euphoric climax that is redolent of a communal hug at the end of proceedings at a nightclub. Dot’s Sonic Cathedral labelmate Andy Bell contributes some ace guitar work on this track too.
Intriguingly, both sides of the record begin with seemingly random electronic noises. Side 1’s first track, Shyness Of Crowns mirrors Side 2’s 220Hz (which initially brings to mind Bowie’s Warszawa). The shyness of crowns relates to the behaviour of trees and how they socially distance at the crown of the woods. Similarly, 220Hz is “the frequency at which tree roots communicate beneath the ground in the ‘wood wide web’”.
It seems as if the main inspiration for the LP is the natural world. Heart-Shaped Scars hinted at this but Consciousology makes it explicit. Not only the flora and fauna we share the planet with but also the humans that inhabit it and the connections made.
Of the over-arching concept, Dot said: “For me, it is an imagined voice of a conscious universe expressed through music. It’s a plea, an embrace, a longing, a last-gasp, perhaps… imbued through the music, voice, harmony and a harmonic composition, with the lyrics taking an interest in the differing levels of consciousness apparent in all self-organising, natural systems.”
Dot dedicates her new release to her musician mum and her botanist dad. This remarkable album is surely an enduring, heartfelt testament to their love, influence, and guidance.
Consciousology by Dot Allison is out now on Sonic Cathedral.