31 March 2009

Heavy Rotation 001: Emily Wells | The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties.

Emily Wells is ill. Check out her on-the-fly sampling skillz:

She doesn't have a Wikipedia page yet (although she deserves one), but here's an excerpt from a bio she wrote on her MySpace page:
I love rap music and Vivaldi. Nina Simone and Biggie Smalls make my world go round.

I do a lot of live sampling and looping in an attempt to bring the studio to the stage. All the live looping is like a sporting event, or keeping the first take of every recording. I could fall off the balance beam ... which makes it all so much more exciting.

[In 2008] I released my latest work, The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties, which consists of 10 songs heavily influenced by classical music and hip hop production.
Critics have called her music "electronic folk" and "classically-based pop" which seem both appropriate and yet not quite accurate. Like much of the music that's being produced today, it's a creative hybrid of genres that defies any typical definition. (Her interview on NPR is a great listen, shedding more light on the development of her musical style.) Wells' melodies are brooding, melancholy and unmistakably catchy. The violin she plays throughout Symphonies complements and weaves around her unusual voice (sometimes she sounds like a funkier early Nelly Furtado, if that were even possible).

Hell, if Kanye hadn't come up with the title already, she could have called her latest album 808s & Heartbreak and it would've fit. The production on Symphonies is just as creative. Fortunately, there's neither self-pity nor Auto-Tune to be found anywhere on the album.

Short and sweet, The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties clocks in at almost 37 minutes, but the brief detour into Emily Wells' world is absolutely worth it. This joint has been on heavy rotation in my apartment for the past couple of days and is still offering little surprises here and there that require a closer listen the next time around. If she ever comes to Kansas City, I'd definitely be in the audience.

So don't sleep on this.

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