Chelsea Wolfe “Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs” | Sargent House
Native to Sacramento and now a resident of L.A. (a city with almost 4 million people in its boundaries), Chelsea Wolfe is a singer songwriter whose talents melt right through dark and beautiful canvas’ of sound. She is already a part of a unique group of artists in this world with enough creative ingenuity that I can easily put her name right along side artists and groups such as Broadcast, Portishead, Stereolab, CocoRosie and Grouper to just name a few. Her voice sounds like it comes from another world as each word wraps every syllable around the imaginative coating of bliss that her colleagues create around her own instrumental musings.
Leading up up to her most recent album Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs which is her first release for Sargent House, Chelsea Wolfe put out two stellar albums on Pendu Sound Recordings (The Grime and The Glow in 2010 and Apokalypsis in 2011). Both of these past releases reflect her unique approach to experimental forms of rock and folk music and display high states of energy alongside a stripped down, darker and slower forms of sound. To call it any one thing would be a hard task considering how far some of her music goes into avant-garde forms and how easily it comes back to that of a pop structure. It feels like artists are bridging the pop and avant-garde worlds today with a more clearer vision then in any other time in history and Chelsea Wolfe has become one of my favorites in this meeting of the two worlds. Regardless of the palate of sound present though, her voice remains an exquisite reminder of the power and supremacy of a highly skilled and outside the box thinking singer and composer. I can’t help but be reminded of the way I am impacted from the vocal approach of Beth Gibbons of Portishead when I hear the vocal style and talents of Chelsea Wolfe. There is a spiritual essence that is embedded into her music and it’s some of the most breath taking music out today because of it. “Movie Screen” from her last full length Apokalypsis is a perfect example of this spirituality I speak of.
With as much comparison that can be drawn from Chelsea Wolfe from the many artists out today that her sounds relate to, Chelsea Wolfe still gives each of her pieces that defining element that only she can give. It’s for this reason that I have been going back into her catalog over the last year to fully absorb everything she has accumulated with her first two albums. As an artist who goes fay beyond conventional methods of expression and has a very deep emotional impact in the totality of what she creates with her colleagues, it’s been a huge treat to experience Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs as it releases into the world.
As a collection of material recorded primarily in the acoustic domain of instrumentation, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs resounds with a majestic beauty that has filled my day with everything I could ever ask for. The beginning piece “Flatlands” has an elegant and radiant affect with the collaboration of violist Andrea Calderon and the layering of finger picked guitars, light percussion and her unmistakable vocals. I get visions of a pastoral landscape full of endless shades of natural tones the earth produces when I hear something that is this soft but has as much presence as it does. It’s a very peaceful and angelic beginning and sets the album into motion for what the album stands for in full. Delightful sound after sound becomes the standard on Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs as each song unravels a truly ravishing and mesmerizing painting of music. By the time I got to the song “Hyper Oz“, I really felt like I had gone to another place and this was the track that I feel represents what I love about her music the most. With a cinematic presence of wavering and dreamy tones, the hairs on my neck stand up when I hear something created like this. It’s something I have played over and over all morning and a track I really can’t believe is something made today. Every song is gorgeous on the record and leaves me in a state of relaxation that no other album has taken me this year.
Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs is a magnificent album that carries a very lucid and shinning aura from beginning to end, placing textures of sound into some of the most heavenly states. This is music of and for this age that goes far outside of genre, style, scenes or anything else that normally defines an artists purpose and place here.
Order a digital copy from iTunes HERE