So, there's this game that I occasionally play on Facebook when I desperately need for my mind to slow down. It's one of those stupid little simulation games where you spend hours upon hours mindlessly gathering irrelevant items to build irrelevant structures and you get rewarded with similarly irrelevant objects of absolutely no consequence.
There is the one item in the game that seems to occupy most of my time. It's called a "spirit bandage." I thought about the "spirit bandage" a lot while watching Lone, a 57-minute transcendent journey based upon the lyrics of Chelsea Wolfe whom I might describe as a sort of gothic folkster whose mere presence I find mesmerizing and whose music requires nothing short of full-on surrender.
There is music that you listen to and that is enough. Then, there is music that you truly experience with all of your senses. This is the case with Wolfe, whose 2010 debut The Grime and the Glow announced the coming of a fresh new voice and spirit into the underground music scene. She followed that up with Apokalypsis, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs, then 2013's Pain is Beauty.
There's something about a collaboration between Wolfe and Mark Pellington, director of such music videos as Pearl Jam's Jeremy, U2's One, and Jason Mraz's I Won't Give Up along with such films as The Mothman Prophecies and Henry Poole Is Here, that simply feels right.
Lone feels like a spirit bandage. I suppose that's an odd description for a film frequently infused with dark, gothic sensibilities and unfathomably rich humanities, but it fits. It works.
I find myself feeling better for having watched Lone, not so much because of the lyrics that unfolded or the images that burst forth or any defined sense of messages sent forth, but because of the experience of watching the 57-minute film that captures innocence and wonder, grief and despair, conscious and subconscious memories, life memories and lost experiences and things left unspoken.
Lone feels like both sacred meditation and solemn eulogy, a musical and visual labyrinth in which life's beautiful journey unfolds in bits and pieces at each corner turned.
There aren't words, at least not words that feel adequate, to describe Lone yet it is that indescribable nature of the film that makes it such an extraordinary companion to the words and music of Chelsea Wolfe. For those familiar with the video of Wolfe's Feral Love, that video is essentially an excerpt from Lone. While Feral Love certainly works as a stand-alone music video, it's an astounding piece of this full experience.
Lone looks, feels and is experienced very much like a primal chant, a birthing and rebirthing or a death and resurrection that is brought ecstatically to life by Wolfe through her presence, her words, and her overwhelming sense of vulnerable strength that ultimately screams out that, indeed, pain is beauty.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic