Emily Wells: Promise
January 29th 2016 | Thesis & Instinct Records | Albums
Texan multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter, Emily Wells will be releasing her new album, Promise - the follow-up to 2012's Mama - on January 29th via Partisan Records - on her own Thesis & Instinct Records. It will be preceded by the record's lead single 'You Dream of China'.
Speaking to Brooklyn Vegan, Wells describes 'You Dream of China' as: "one of the last songs I wrote for the album after returning from a bizzare/life altering trip to Beijing and Ordos (a "ghost town" google it!) in Inner Mongolia where I naively went to play a festival that ended in a monsoon and a nearly apocalyptic new world view on the fate of the planet. I kept dreaming of it after I left, not just the place but the history I had a sudden voracious curiosity for. Being there was a mirror for all of my own want and carelessness and disposable way of life. I wanted to stop wanting so much."
Wells describes the album as "a soul record in baroque clothing...a pauper's opera," - a stunning collection of eleven mesmerising tracks that bring to mind the dreamy ambience of Julianna Barwick, the towering heights of Cocteau Twins at their most topsy-turvy, the thoroughly modern chamber pop of Julia Holter and the beat-oriented soundscapes that Wells has proved herself a master of over her past three albums.
"How do you write a record about friendship and the climate changing and fear of the unknown and love and desire and risk and amnesia and allow them to all sit together impolitely with no one leaving the room?" explains Wells. "The process of making Promise was this internal conversation, which I tried to extend through books and a chronic watching of Pina Bausch films. The often repetitive, agonistic, and emotional nature of her work felt akin to my own practice as performer and as producer, building on layers of repetition, disrupting, then building again."
Going on to describe the decision to self-release Promise, she says: "There, too, was the question of releasing the record - in the end I chose to create a label, Thesis & Instinct, a name borrowed from one of Wallace Stevens’ aphorisms: 'Life cannot be based on a thesis, since, by nature, it is based on instinct. The thesis, however, is usually present and living is the struggle between thesis and instinct.' Studio life, too, and creation itself: the struggle between thesis and instinct."
1. Los Angeles
2. You Dream of China
3. Don't Use Me Up
4. Pack of Nobodies
5. Take It Easy
6. Come to Me
7. Fallin' In on It
11. Light is Drainin'
"Her style is subtlety at its finest."
- Consequence of Sound
"In the end, it really doesn’t matter whether you define this as folk, or classical or even hip-hop: it’s simply a truly great record; one that marks Emily Wells as a real talent to behold."
- MusicOMH on Mama
"She defies comparison - how many neo-classical folk-hop singer-songwriters can you name?"
- The 405