Helen Money is the stage name of cellist Alison Chesley.
The cello is one of those instruments that is almost automatically warm and enveloping. Chesley adds a bit of ice to the sound, playing with effects pedals that up the ominous and slightly abrasive edge to what she does.
There have been other cellists who push the instrument into new and unusual places — artists like Erik Friedlander, Tom Cora and Arthur Russell — but Chesley is almost intentionally approachable in the ways she augments that cello’s sound.
Her music has resonated with fans of metal. She plays through a guitar amp. Loud. There’s distortion. It vibrates and pounds at your body in the way that a good metal show can feel like a molecular massage. At the same time, a Helen Money recording, like “Radiate” off of her 2016 album “Become Zero,” can sometimes approach the realm of ambient music, with gentle ripplings and clouds of held notes.
She’s not a minimalist exactly, but she’s the kind of artist who understands the crucial role that silence and space play in our ability to process sound and to be moved by music.
Helen Money performs at Cafe Nine, 250 State St., New Haven, on Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. Free with RSVP. $5 at the door. 203-789-8281 or cafenine.com