Emily Wells Promise on LP
While composing her new LP Promise, Emily Wells read Joan Didion, ran to Drake and projected Pina Bausch films onto her studio's walls. The repetitive, agonistic and emotional nature of the dancer's work is akin to Wells' practice of building on layers of repetition, disrupting, then building again. Recording it she spent 12-hour stretches holed up alone in her studio over the course of two cathartic years, her patience inspired by light artist James Turrell's quote, "Not everyone will sit in a darkened room for ten minutes before they begin to see."
The resulting 11 original songs, out January 2016 on her newly minted label Thesis & Instinct, are a meditation on Wells' life and world view deeply nourished by art and literature. A soul record in baroque clothing, Promise reflects on friendship, risk and desire. The cover and title are derived from the installation Promesa by Cabella/Carceller, an interdisciplinary collaborative pair of Spanish artists, who lent Wells the work after she discovered it in the book Art and Queer Culture by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer.
On Promise, Wells is composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist performer proving yet again why NPR praises her as "one woman with the force of a band." The classically trained violinist builds a cocoon of layered and looped sounds live and on record completely analog - no computers in sight. In addition to violin she plays viola, drums, synth, guitar and bass on the album alongside friends who guest on everything from vibraphone to French horn.
The New Yorker praises Wells' "moving voice and boundless imagination" while The Guardian UK compliments her ability to "merge different styles at will and create accessible tunes even - or especially - when they're weirdly melodic, or melodically weird." She has collaborated with hip hop producer Dan the Automator and as a composer she contributed to the soundtrack and score for Park Chan-Wook's Stoker and scored Here Is Something Beautiful.