(Make Me A) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 102: Alison Eales

Alison Eales

Alison is a long-standing member of the band Butcher Boy, playing piano, accordion and other keyboards as well as arranging for choir and brass. The band have made three studio albums: Profit in Your Poetry (2007), React or Die (2009) and Helping Hands (2011). All of these albums have been well-received, with React or Die featuring in The Times’ top 100 pop albums of the 2000s. The band have also released two EPs. A compilation album, You Had A Kind Face, was released on Needle Mythology in 2022, along with three new songs, with tracks mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road. Butcher Boy have supported bands including Belle and Sebastian, Scritti Politti and The Wedding Present. Eales is also a member of Glasgow Madrigirls and has collaborated with bands including The Color Waves (USA), The Just Joans (Glasgow) and Featherfin (Norway). Mox Nox is her first solo album, to be released on 24 March via Fika Recordings. Mox Nox “is an album about the passing of time – most specifically, the transition from day to night. Its twelve songs explore experiences of all-nighters, anxiety, travel, frustration, and friendship” and was produced by Paul Savage at Chem 19 studios.

What Alison says: “Mox Nox is Latin for ’night, shortly’ – while I was making the record, Admiral Fallow came into the studio to discuss their latest album, and there is a track on it called ’Night, Shortly’ which freaked me out a bit! I’m very glad they didn’t call the album that.”

Her Mixtape:

Scott Walker – The Old Man’s Back Again

It seems appropriate to open with a song that I first heard on a mixtape when I was 17, and which I’ve probably included on every mixtape I’ve made since. This was the first Scott Walker song I heard, and I became a lifelong fan in the first thirty seconds. Walker went from heartthrob to avant-garde, and I love every version of him – but I think the most intriguing phase of his career was this in-between bit, where he was making fascinating but still broadly accessible records. Scott 4 may be my favourite album, and that is due to Angela Morley’s imaginative arrangements as much as anything else.

Jan Hammer Group – Don’t You Know

I don’t have too much to say about this one, just that I adore it and it sounds years ahead of its time. I’m always impressed by people who use novel sounds in ways that don’t end up sounding dated.

The Associates – White Car in Germany

I used to be a regular at a much-missed Glasgow club night called National Pop League, and Party Fears Two was often one of the last three songs of the evening. Dancing to that song was just pure joy, but it wasn’t until I heard this one that I fell in love with the band. It creates an atmosphere around itself.
I bought The Affectionate Punch on vinyl recently. Alan Rankine died a couple of days later. I’m not generally a superstitious person, but I haven’t bought any vinyl since, just in case.

Jockstrap – Concrete Over Water

It took me a while to bring myself to listen to Jockstrap because of the hype around them (and, if I’m honest, because of their name), but I truly love this track. They remind me a little of Broadcast, who are one of my favourite bands.

KAZU – Come Behind Me, So Good!

This track intrigued me straight away. I think the drum machine is a Roland CR78 (which is what I used on Mox Nox). The softness of those drum sounds goes perfectly with Kazu’s voice and also the strings and flute, which were arranged by the amazing Ryuichi Sakamoto. There’s a spikiness to the chord sequence that offsets all that softness and keeps it interesting.
This song makes me feel like I am in an airport, though I can’t explain why.

Dusty Springfield – No Stranger Am I

This was written by Norma Tanega (I believe she and Dusty were in a relationship at the time, so the song is likely about Dusty herself). Tanega also recorded the song, and her version is beautiful, but I think this one is elevated by the orchestral arrangement, which is by Keith Mansfield. He’s another of those composer-arrangers, like Angela Morley, who just seems to bring magic to everything he works on.
Sorry, I’ll stop going on and on about arrangers now.

Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now

While we were making Mox Nox, Paul Savage would play me tracks he thought I would like during recording breaks. He introduced me to Jesca Hoop, who I had heard of but never investigated. I admire the twists and turns of her songwriting, the precision of her voice, and the great sound she gets from her guitar. This song flows hypnotically between straight and swing rhythms, and I love the lyrics, which in my mind are a direct address to self-doubt.

Ennio Morricone – Matto, Caldo, Soldi, Morto Girotondo

Morricone has ended up soundtracking my life by accident, because I love Italian westerns. I almost picked Voce Nel Deserto, a choral piece from the soundtrack to The Great Silence (which might be my favourite film), but I decided it would be too sad to end on. This track is from the soundtrack to an Italian thriller and is based around a nursery rhyme. Listening to it feels like climbing a spiral staircase.

You can also find Alison’s Mixtape here:

Mox Nox will be out March 24th on Fika Recordings. Look HERE for more information on Alison Eales.



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