Album of the Week: Alison Cotton, Only Darkness Now

Sometimes words fail to capture my mood and this week was a perfect time for wordless reflection.

Only Darkness Now is violist Alison Cotton’s second album, originally released as a limited cassette by Bloxam Tapes. The fuller instrumentation picture features viola, chimes, Omnichord, percussion, harmonium, piano and voice all used to create atmosphere that seems to exist between earth and sky. Or if you prefer, heaven and hell or mind and body. This is slowly unfolding pensive music that is at once completely engaging yet acts as accelerant to a dream-like state, having us hover between the present and the unknown.

The album consists of 20-minute opener “Behind The Spiderweb Gate” followed by 3 shorter tracks and ending with a 12-minute cover of Dorothy Carter’s “Shirt Of Lace”. “How My Heart Bled In Bleeding Heart Yard” opens with harmonium joined by viola and wordless vocals bringing to mind Nico, another dream-weaving wonder, for an ecstatic trip propelled by the rhythm of the harmonium’s human-like breathing.

I find Only Darkness Now to be completely enchanting and I fell under its spell with great delight, escaping the madness of the day.