October 28, 2021

Jarboe and Helen Money

AURORA BOREALIS RECORDS

2nd March 2015

I’m a sucker for a cello. That deep resinous vibration, oooh. Add in some depth of atmosphere and I’m a happy bunny. This half-hour of tunes is exactly that; Helen Money (aka Alison Chesney) provides bowed and plucked, deep and sometimes distorted cello, giving a heavy yet beautiful texture. Jarboe (co-singer and writer in Swans) provides spoken and ghostly-sung vocals and piano.

In a strange move, some pieces were recorded together, some separately – melded at the mixing desk. It shouldn’t work and conjures up fears of monstrosities like the posthumous duets from Frank Sinatra or Elvis. However, thanks to some strange alchemy, it does work. Pieces process along, rich and deep, coloured with an overwhelming texture – something more important than melody, though tunes are present here – the thing that stays in the mind are the resonances of plucked strings, deep bow scrapes, piano echoes and notes that have just come from somewhere, deep and solid. I’m put in mind of the spatial melodies of Goldfrapp’s first album formed into an alloy with an imaginary goth chamber music played through an overloaded bass combi-amp.

One to revisit on headphones in the dark reaches of the night.