Alison Cotton | Future Yard

We’re overjoyed to be playing host to one of the most arresting artists operating in the UK today. Alison Cotton is a viola player / vocalist based in London. She spent almost the last two decades performing in bands – as well as her solo work, she is one half of the Walthamstow based band The Left Outsides – and collaborating with other musicians. As well as the viola, she uses an array of other instruments (her voice, harmonium, percussion, recorder, omnichord, shruti, piano etc) to create long, haunting folk drones.

2020’s Only Darkness Now LP was released to critical acclaim, and was followed up with a six-track album titled The Portrait You Painted Of Me on Rocket Recordings (and Feeding Tube in the USA). As with Alison’s previous solo albums, the touchstones of her immersive sound are viola, harmonium and voice, merged together to create a rich suite of songs.

Support on the night comes from Meilir and Fend (DJ set).

Tickets on sale now.

As with its predecessors, The Portrait You Painted Of Me was recorded at home in London, beautifully produced by Alison’s partner, Mark Nicholas, and it contains all the elements that result in the sombre, exquisite melancholy she creates. Mumurations Over the Moor is a wordless piece of layered vocals, drifting like fog towards a sunset over the green undulations of North East England (from where she hails). The Last Wooden Ship evokes the shipyards of Sunderland using droning harmonium and viola lines, laced with piano and percussion events, while her voice calls out like one of Tim Buckley’s Sirens urging listeners to a rocky demise.

Violet May, the only traditional ‘song’ on the album, was inspired by a trip to Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst Castle. Its plot deals with a reclusive artist who has forsaken all else for a life of solitary creation in her tower. The structure and sound reminiscent of a post-modern approach to lyrical concerns dealt with by folk singers of the British 60s, but the actual arrangement is closer to something John Cale might have done with Nico on The Marble Index. The closing track, 17th November 1962, inspired by nearly-forgotten memories of disaster with a fishing boat, a storm and an ill-fated rescue attempt. The song (and album) ends with what sounds like a forlorn foghorn cutting across waves of night with Alison’s voice again evoking the Sirens. This is some serious and remarkable stuff.

“An eerie, lost folk horror soundtrack glinting in the sunshine.” - The Guardian

Future Yard presents
Alison Cotton
+ Meilir
+ Fend
Thursday 13th April2023
7.15pm doors
75 Argyle Street
Tickets £10 advance

Tickets available online in advance or in person at the Future Yard Box Office.
Future Yard is a cashless venue – all payments are taken by contactless or chip and pin. Live curfew 11pm. Kitchen open til 9pm.
If you have any specific access requests, please read all of the details about accessibility at Future Yard here.

Alison Cotton


Future Yard CIC is committed to becoming the first carbon-neutral grassroots music venue in the region

As part of this pledge we offer 10% off food and drink if you walk or cycle to the venue (bike racks available in our garden).

You can read more about our Sustainability Pledge in our Roadmap here.