By fusing her rock 'n roll heart with a background in classical training, cellist Alison Chesley (aka Helen Money) has created a compelling sound that is completely unique. Originally a native of Los Angles Chesley settled in Chicago to attend Northwestern University in the mid 90's. After earning a Master's Degree in Cello Performance she has gone on to collaborate with such artists as Bob Mould, Broken Social Scene and Frank Black to name just a few. Her most recent project has been recording under the name of Helen Money, and In Tune is her second all instrumental disc of solo cello performances.
What makes the music on In Tune really stand out and grab people's attention is just how effortlessly she is able to blend these contrasting sounds together in a perpetual feeling of enlightened cohesion. Armed with just her cello and some effects pedals Chesley constructs passages that almost sound too heavy to be created by her instrument of choice, thus shattering any possible pre-conceived notions of the cello's capabilities in the process. One only needs to settle in with the ominous textures coursing throughout the opening number "MF" or marvel at the distinctly metallic riffing and beautifully arranged symphonic sounding sections of the title track "In Tune" to let you know that this woman is in a league of her own. For all of its menacing power however the cello can also be employed to produce sentiments of dark introspection and melancholia, and on tracks like "Untitled", "Too Heavy" and the brilliant closing song "Everything I am Thinking" she slowly builds these dark, layered passages in such a way that they can only be aimed towards the deepest recesses of your soul.
In Tune's appeal will stretch to fans of minimalist sounding doom and avant-garde, as well as classical and indie rock. Whatever your preference there's plenty to get excited about here. Not to mention no one's covered The Minutemen like she has on "Political Song For Michael Jackson to Sing". In a word... brilliant.
2) In Tune
6) You Are Beautiful
7) Political Song For Michael Jackson to Sing
8) Too Heavy
9) Everything I am Thinking