Helen Money, aka unparalleled cellist and composer Alison Chesley, and composer / producer Will Thomas are announcing their debut collaborative album, Trace (Thrill Jockey), out May 12, 2023. Having worked together in a variety of formats over the past, Trace marks their first fully collaborative effort, synthesizing their myriad skills as songwriters, performers, and sound artists into vivid, profoundly moving music. Along with the album announcement, the duo has shared the first single “Thieves.” The gripping piece applies a jittering rhythmic pulse and sampled cello harmonics that tug forward anxiously before distorted cello thrusts transform the piece into something more resolute.
Helen Money has been making boundaryless music for nearly three decades. From her work in Verbow to her solo releases, collaborations with Jarboe and Steve Albini to her work as a highly sought after session and backup player spanning every stretch of the rock spectrum, Chesley has remained a singular voice and a pioneer in expanding the potential of her instrument. Will Thomas, a frequent collaborator with Chesley, is a composer and producer with a similarly varied career, from his work composing for commercials, TV, and film for over 20 years, to his collaborations with Roger Eno, to sight-specific sound installations. The collaboration between Helen Money and Will Thomas has endured across solo albums and soundtracks alike with the power of their compositions deeping as they push one another to greater heights.
Helen Money and Will Thomas are masters of invoking emotional atmospheres. Their music paints in vivid hues with outlines blurred, often using dense layers of processed instruments and textural ambience as a backdrop for harmonic tension and melodic bliss alike. Trace is thrillingly cinematic. Each piece tells a compelling story through ratcheting suspense, twisting shifts, unfurling arcs, and blissful repose. “I don’t compose with a storyline in mind,” says Chesley. “I search for a feeling – a sound. It’s often not until the very end of the process that I realize what I was trying to express.”