Amoeba San Francisco - September 17th @ 6:00pm
Join Chelsea Wolfe at Amoeba SF for a solo acoustic set and signing of her new album, Birth of Violence (out 9/13 on Sargent House). Buy the new album at Amoeba SF and get it signed after her performance.
Chelsea Wolfe has always been a conduit for a powerful energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that somber beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key elements. As a result, her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever on Birth of Violence.
There is a core element to Chelsea Wolfe’s music—a kind of urgent spin on America’s desolation blues—that’s existed throughout the entirety of her career. It manifested in the lo-fi bedroom recording experiments of her debut album The Grime and the Glow (2010), the electrified dirges of Apokalypsis (2011) and Hiss Spun (2017), the electronic embellishments and distorted growl of albums like Pain is Beauty (2013) and Abyss (2015), and the sparse acoustic arrangements of Unknown Rooms (2012). At the center, there has always been Wolfe’s woeful longing and beguiling gravity, though the framework for compositions has continuously evolved based on whatever resources were available. Her austere beginnings were gradually bolstered by electronics and filled out with full-band arrangements. The music became increasingly dense and more centered around live performances. And while these lush recordings have in many ways magnified her power, the elaborate renditions create a dichotomy given the private and isolated nature of her art. Her latest album, Birth of Violence, is a return to the reclusive nature of her earlier recordings, written and recorded in the solitude of her remote home in Northern California.
“I’ve been in a state of constant motion for the past eight years or so; touring, moving, playing new stages, exploring new places and meeting new people—an incredible time of learning and growing as a musician and performer,” Wolfe says of the era leading up to Birth of Violence. “But after awhile, I was beginning to lose a part of myself. I needed to take some time away from the road to get my head straight, to learn to take better care of myself, and to write and record as much as I can while I have ‘Mercury in my hands,’ as a wise friend put it.“ Birth of Violence is the result of this step out of the limelight. The songs stem from humble beginnings—little more than Wolfe’s voice and her Taylor acoustic guitar. Her longtime musical collaborator Ben Chisholm recorded the songs in the home studio and helped fill them out with his modern production treatments and the occasional auxiliary flourish from ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola). While it’s tempting to draw a comparison to Wolfe’s acoustic collection Unknown Rooms, Birth of Violence is a far cry from the unplugged nature of that album. Instead, it feels like an exploration of one of Wolfe’s strongest facets—her ties to the American singer-songwriter tradition.