Atomic, the fifth album from Helen Money – real name Alison Chesley – is an album of subtleties, of twists & turns. Chesley is a serial collaborator, having worked with the likes of Earth, Shellac, Verbow, Russian Circles and Jarboe, to name a few. So, it’s a refreshing and uplifting experience to hear her as a cellist and composer of her own material.
Atomic weaves together a collection of ethereal compositions that take you on a very poignant, emotionally palpable journey. The tracks delve into an array of introspective states from beautiful and melancholic to others which are very subdued, full of foreboding and dread. The album itself is very minimal and stripped down to its bare essentials, allowing for the plucks and bow technique of her cello to be front and centre, granting the frailties and deep emotional catharsis to seep through. The electronic pulse and industrial sounds throughout the album give the tracks more life and help the compositions to move and grow with fervour. Highlights such as ‘Nemesis’, feature many layers of piano and cello with constant almost tribal percussion, carrying the tracks through, allowing the main instrumentation to shine.
This record feels like an essential listen, in this current climate of mass trauma and hysteria. Atomic will help people to navigate their own personal trauma and to delve into uncomfortable places, the perfect antidote for these trying times.
Atomic is out now via Thrill Jockey Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tom Kirby