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.
“There was nothing to hide behind,” she says. “I’m always wrestling with that, because so much of the music I love is incredibly simple, but what I usually do is very far from it.”
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.
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