The first time I became aware of Chelsea Wolfe and her music was when her album Abyss was released sometime back in 2015, I think. Curious about what the hype was all about, I turned to YouTube and gave the album a quick listen, yet – frankly – did not really take to it. Still I was intrigued … and so when I got the chance to attend one of her concerts while vacationing in Prague last Wednesday, I gave it another try – and found myself utterly amazed!
[I’m very sorry about the poor picture quality – I didn’t take my DSLR to the concert and thus had to use my crappy phone camera. Despite that I think the pictures do still convey some of the almost otherwordly atmosphere at the show.]
The music of Chelsea Wolfe is too complex to just be given a quick listening. You must allow yourself enough time to be dragged in by the atmosphere it evokes – dreamlike, albeit sometimes nightmarish. I was not surprised to read that dreams – or struggles with sleep paralysis to be precise – do in fact influence her song writing:
“Sleep paralysis plagues singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, and that strange intersection of the conscious and the unconscious has inadvertently manifested itself within her work. Across the span of her first four albums, there is an underlying tension, a distorted and nebulous territory where dark shadows hover along the edges of the sublime and the graceful. But until now, Wolfe’s trials and tribulations with the boundaries between dreams and reality have only been a subconscious influence on her work. With her fifth album, Abyss, she deliberately confronts those boundaries and crafts a score to that realm she describes as the ‘hazy afterlife… an inverted thunderstorm… the dark backward… the abyss of time.'”
Brian Cook in his Bio of Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe’s music is full of contrasts – it’s calming and upsetting, crystal clear and hazy, bright as day and black as night. And so is Chelsea’s live appearance: She appears so small on stage, so shy and modest, yet at the same time she fills the concert hall with an immense presence.
Although I must admit that I prefer Chelsea Wolfe’s older recordings (we took home vinyls of The Grime and The Glow as well as Apokalypsis), I will definitely follow Chelsea’s musical career more closely now and whenever an opportunity will come along to see her perform live again, I shall gladly order tickets.
FYI – there are still some upcoming shows planned in Europe for June this year.
~ Lisa v. D.