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THE RSVP MEANS YOU ARE ON THE LIST FOR THIS TAPING. Details will be sent in your confirmation email! Emily Wells has been hailed for her multi-instrumental ambidexterity, a symphonic embroidering of swirling strings, ingenious electronics, and intricate, irresistible beats, sewn together with celestial vocals and deeply personal song-craft. Her new Mama Acoustic Recordings, out June 11th, sees the NYC-based singer/musician/producer casting it all aside, re-imagining songs first heard on 2012’s acclaimed Partisan Records debut, Mama . Where that collection was marked by Wells' extraordinary fusion of hip hop, experimental dance music, lyrical introspection, and classical complexity, the new album is stunningly austere, recorded solely with voice and guitar. Songs like “Dirty Sneakers” refract the singer and songwriter in a fresh light, illuminating altered emotional perspectives and melodic colors. With Mama Acoustic Recordings, Emily Wells has stripped off her own armor, leaving only her crystalline voice and equally unambiguous songwriting on display.
From the start, Wells' musical interests were simply too wide ranging for but one instrument. Trained as a classical violinist, the Texas native soon created her own sonic “spaceship,” an ever-growing pulsating arsenal of synthesizers, effects pedals, and toy instruments, all tied together with live sampling and a genre agnostic approach that is diverse, distinctive, and utterly her own. Wells honed her sound on a series of independent releases – including a groundbreaking cover of The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic “Juicy” – while also playing countless live dates both as bandleader and solo performer.
Mama Acoustic Recordings is a kind of accidental album, recorded last year while Wells was on self-described “sabbatical” living with friends in Portland, Oregon. Having spent much of the past five years on the career track, Wells treated herself to a long deserved breather. She ran daily, polished her culinary skills, and even took old school music lessons, adding cello and drums to her instrumental repertoire.
Wells began experimenting with her traveling reel-to-reel, recording gentle new versions of “Mama’s Gonna Give You Love” and “Johnny Cash’s Mama’s House” with just her voice and acoustic guitar (and beloved Fostex Spring Reverb unit). Peeling off her own ornate production, she revealed her songs to herself, exposing new meaning though stark minimalism.
Wells is now considering how her recent activities – including travel to such faraway lands as Korea, Switzerland, and Los Angeles – will inform her next solo work, which she expects will see additional exploration into the sounds of deep soul and traditional gospel. Self-actualized and utterly unanticipated, Mama Acoustic Recordings is merely a milestone on Emily Wells' infinite musical adventure.
“I’ve always been sort of stunned at how, as an artist, people expect you to keep doing the same thing,” she says, “and I never do.”
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