CHELSEA WOLFE Hiss Spun – Vinyl 2xLP (black)
Pressing info : First pressing on black vinyl 2xLP. Etched D side. Download code included.
“When musicians have this intensity in them, they often get to it sooner and stay put. Ms. Wolfe sounds like she’s using it by choice, not disposition; she can use different kinds of darkness as colour or tincture. » – NY Times
“The reigning dark priestess of goth-scarred art rock.” Rolling Stone
Hiss Spun is Chelsea Wolfe’s sixth album. Following her acclaimed 2015 album Abyss, Hiss Spun is at once dynamic, heavy, and raw. NPR shared the song “16 Psyche,” saying, “Wolfe has always possessed a talent for dynamic song writing, particularly concerning the theatre of the soul. But the masterful « 16 Psyche » is a full-on ride, and one that finds her at her most commanding and climactic yet. »
Recorded by Kurt Ballou (Converge), the album was conceived as an emotional purge, a means of coming to terms with the tumult of the outside world by exploring the complexities of one’s inner unrest. “I’m at odds with myself,” she explains. “I got tired of trying to disappear. The record became very personal in that way. I wanted to open up more, but also create my own reality.” Hiss Spun features prominent guitar contributions by Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure) and a guest spot from Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC).
Digging beneath the mess of the world to find the beauty underneath is perhaps the most consistent theme in Chelsea Wolfe’s expansive discography. “I wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body, and getting free.” “You’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasonsl, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.” Hiss Spun was recorded by Kurt Ballou. While past albums operated on the intimacy of stripped-down folk music or the throbbing pulse of supplemental electronics, Wolfe’s latest offering wrings its exquisiteness out of a palette of groaning bass, pounding drums, and crunching distortion. It’s an album that inadvertently drew part of its aura from New England winter, though the flesh-and-bone of the material was culled from upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life. Aside from adding low-end heft with gratuitous slabs of fuzz bass, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributed harrowing swaths of sound collages.
The album opens with the sickening bang of “Spun”, where a lurching bottom-heavy riff provided by Chisholm and Troy Van Leeuwen serves as a foundation to a sultry mantra of fever-dream longing and desire.
The first third of Hiss Spun—whether it’s the ominous twang and cataclysmic dynamics of “16 Psyche”, the icy keyboard lines, restless pulse and harrowing bellows of Aaron Turner on “Vex”, or the patient repetition and devastating choruses of “The Culling—all carry the weight of desperation, lost love, and withdrawal. Wolfe’s introspection and existential dread turns outwards to the crumbling world around us with “Particle Flux”, an examination of the casualties of war.
The electronic thump of “Offering” serves as an ode to the Salton Sea and the encroaching calamities stemming from climate change. The obsession with white noise and global destruction carries over into “Static Hum”, where the merciless percussive battery of Wolfe’s current drummer Jess Gowrie helps deliver the dire weight of a sonnet dedicated to a “burning planet.”
By the time the album closes with “Scrape”, Wolfe has come full circle and turned her examinations back inward, reflecting over her own mortality with arguably the most commanding vocal performance in her entire oeuvre.
Every Chelsea Wolfe album is cathartic, but never before has both the artist and her audience so desperately needed this kind of emotional purging.
2. 16 Psyche
5. The Culling
6. Particle Flux
7. Twin Fawn
9. Static Hum
11. Two Spirit