This month in our skills exchange culture blog we’re delighted to have Ann Scott as our musician of the month
Written and recorded during a mixed period of solitary downtime and hectic traveling Flo is Ann Scott’s third independent album release and her most personal work to date.
From bare bones acoustic to lush piano, via orchestral percussion, dulcimer, vibes and auto harp, Scott navigates to new musical depths on this installment, which she describes as ‘a bunch of songs about being lost and how to get there’.
This is something the Dublin songstress should know, having spent the last few years haphazardly touring the UK, Europe and the USA, lingering a month in Chicago to play the coffee shop scene and snatching three day’s studio time at Electrical Audio, where some of the album’s core moments were captured.
‘After months and months, trying out every permutation in accompaniment and treatment and rehearsal there is something very appealing about going into a studio and just bashing out your songs on a plain old acoustic guitar’ she explains. ‘That was the idea behind going into Electrical. Rob Bochnik – who partly built studio B – had some time off from playing with The Swell Season while I was in Chicago, so we went in to put down some of the songs using that live approach as a starting point.’
Through many hours of subsequent home recording in Dublin, late night editing sessions and days hunched over tempo maps and midi screens, Scott emerged two years and 500 cups of tea later with a mixed bag of jilted folk songs, melodic blues and faintly kitsch pop, all sounding partly lush and partly DIY and consistently raw and honest.
While Scott takes command of most of the instruments, programming and a good chunk of engineering duties over the 14 track set, Flo is not without it’s team of heavy weights.
Long-term collaborator Karl Odlum puts his signature bass and defining strokes on tunes such as Killerman and Universe, a track which nails the overall faraway mood of the album to a tee. Subtle flourishes also come in the shape of Kim Porcelli’s dreamy cello, paired to great effect with Katherine Atkinson’s violin touches while road pal Gemma Hayes adds gentle vocal flutters on the poignant Love is in him and Under the Sun.
‘Karl Odlum came in at the mixing stage and let me loose on his stash of vintage synthesizers and hi fi samples.’ says Ann. ‘I also spent about a week at Black Box studios in France working with David Odlum polishing parts and it’s thanks to Karl and David and of course Rob that there is a whole lot of ‘pro’ going on amidst my murk of do-it-yourself.’
It is the self contained approach, however which gives Flo much of it’s dark and poetic intrigue through recurring themes of death, love and despair, while Scott’s dusky sweet vocals give a resonance and rare emotional warmth to the whole affair.
With two highly acclaimed albums under her belt, Flo is further testament to Scott’s ‘work hard’ ethic and shows a snapshot of a compelling voice on a creative orbit through an increasingly
precarious indie wilderness.
Ann Scott releases her third album on June 7th
You can here Anns new single in our radio player on the sidebar…
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