Sunday, July 20, 2008

emily wells' the symphonies release party @ hotel cafe

There's a telling moment in "Symphony 3: The Story" when guest rapper Count Bass D finishes a long rap with the phrase "....absence of genre makes the art grow fonder." That simple phrase could easily sum up Emily Wells' body of work. Confrontational, weird, challenging, wacky...but darn if it's not one of the most innovative, meaningful, and ultimately beautiful things you've ever heard. Divisive to the core, you either buy into into Emily's world or dismiss her completely. This is not music for detached hipster irony. (Yea!) Judging by the enthusiastic response of Saturday night's CD release party crowd, Emily was clearly preaching to the choir.

The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties is a different beast that her previous, Joanna Newsom-reminiscent Beautiful Sleepyhead And The Laughing Yaks. Songs earn their "symphony" titles with lush orchestration complete with additional self-described "junk in the trunk" provided by her beloved backing bassist and drummer. Of course, there's peanut butter in my chocolate! There's chocolate in my peanut butter! There's awesome on my stage! The whole affair is kept from getting too stuffy or overtly classical with the addition of enthusiastic, limb-flailing, white-girl rapping. Imagine what Björk's flow might sound like. Good. Now forget I mentioned it. Let's go back to our thesis, shall we? You haven't heard anything quite like this. That's the haven't heard it yet.

On paper, this is a mess. Sometimes it takes a crappy youtube video to properly explain:

You with me yet? Add to this live sampling (made of awesome!), odd moments of random, live performance variation, (thumb piano solos? Yes please!) and a truly genuine persona, and you've got a performer who rises far above a simple art-house curiosity.

The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties is out now. Buy a copy and infuse your life with a bit of "gritty symphonic folktronica fantasy."

(photo Emily Wells: Joe Boston)

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