SHE’S a multivalent creative force who moved from the mountains of California up to New York to pursue a creative life; but the potent, brooding and mantric gem that is Alison Clancy’s “Mutant Gifts – Live At St John’s” came about mainly as her then-day job went on hold thanks to that viral wrecking ball. For these things shall we, in the end, be thankful.
Alison moved north to the Big Apple primarily with a dream of dancing and fusions and pretty quickly was at the forefront of the city’s dance scene having landed a position at The Metropolitan Opera. But she’s also always written music, and as a passion with genuine talent rather than it being some fancied side gig. You know, we’ve all witnessed it: a force in quite another creative pursuit suddenly announces that they’ve always been a musician at heart and proceed to release a bland album about lockets in pockets and the like. Hmpf.
I venture that Alison is absolutely the real deal: immerse in the monochrome footage for this live take of “Mutant Gifts”, an incantatory masterpiece of drone-psych Americana, and see for yourself. Expansive, avant-garde, brooding, it’s a helluva way to announce your arrival. But then, as Alison herself says: “… most days start with ballet and end with electric guitar.”
Her latest crop of songs, which moved IPR to sign her, and quick, she considers a breakthrough; a step up.
In that innocent, semi-golden age before we really knew what Wuhan had in store, Alison was a dance soloist for the Met in the overture of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer. And then, of course, with little warning, theatres were just memories.
Finding herself adrift, she found a creative sanctuary in church in her adopted New York. Journalist Kurt McVey, who’d covered those Met performances, introduced her to Father Graeme Napier of St John’s Church in the West Village; he invited her to come live on the church campus as artist in residence.
There safely ensconced Alison would write and play into the small hours, with a set-up of guitar, loop and other effects pedals; she found inspiration in the echoing acoustics and wrote an hypnotic set of songs, some of which you’ll be able to hear come January on her debut EP alongside the acutely complimentary cello of Brent Arnold. It’s just the first in a series of EPs pencilled in for 2022.
Alison Clancy’s Mutant Gifts EP will be released digitally and on CD by IPR on January 14th.
Connect with Alison elsewhere online at her website and on Instagram.