HELEN MONEY 'Atomic'
Helen Money, composer Alison Chesley, remains one of the most unique and versatile cellists today, her cello playing effortlessly moving from black metal to expansive ambient strings. She uses the cello to access and channel extremes of human emotion, employing extensive sonic manipulation, plucking and bowing techniques to summon an astonishing breadth and depth of sound. On her new album Atomic, Chesley pushes even further out towards the extremes of her output with daring minimalist arrangements that stand as her most intimate, direct, and emotionally bare work to date. The breadth of ideas explored throughout give Atomic a distinctive ebb and flow; an oblique narrative that conjures distinctive and palpable emotions without being prescriptive. Atomic’s title was inspired by Chesley’s study of the early Roman Humanists, including Lucretius, who proposed the idea that everything is made up of tiny particles and thus interconnected. Written during a period of transition for Chesley and her family she drew immense strength from this idea of interconnectivity. The experience of recalibrating and reorienting herself in the world came to subconsciously inform Atomic’s searching tone, Chesley pushing her music to surprising new places just as she and her family moved into new phases of their lives. Her embracing of minimalist structures reflects her own empathetic shift, collapsing barriers between artist and listener to find power and strength in intimacy. She mused on the implications of interconnectivity for how we should treat each other and our environment. She elaborates: “I’ve been thinking a lot about how the earth is our home; the universe; and how fragile this world is and how connected we all are to everything.“ In an increasingly fragmented world, Atomic presents a map for how we might navigate personal and collective trauma through the pursuit of openness, understanding and introspection.