TRACK OF THE DAY: EMILY WELLS – ‘You Dream of China’

TRACK OF THE DAY: EMILY WELLS - 'You Dream of China'

Texan multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter, Emily Wells, has announced her return with a new album, Promise. The follow-up to 2012’s Mama – released via Partisan Records – is available from January 29th on Wells’ own Thesis & Instinct Records, and comes 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.”

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It serves as an apt snapshot of the level of compositional and thematic depth that marks much of Promise, which Wells describes 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.”

How do you write a record about friendship and the climate changing and fear of theunknown and love and desireand risk and amnesia and allow them to all sittogetherimpolitely with no oneleaving the room? The process of making “Promise” was thisinternal conversation, which I tried to extend through books and a chronic watching ofPina Bausch films. The often repetitive, agonistic, andemotional nature of her work feltakin to my own practice as performer and as producer, building on layers of repetition,disrupting, then building again.How do you write a record abo&t friendship and the climate changing and fear of theunknown and love and desireand risk and amnesia and allow them to all sittogetherimpolitely with no oneleaving the room? The process of making “Promise” was thisinternal conversation, which I tried to extend through books and a chronic watching ofPina Bausch films. The often repetitive, agonistic, andemotional nature of her work feltakin to my own practice as performer and as producer, building on layers of repetition,disrupting, then building again.

UK/EU Live Dates

Nov 27th | Comet Club, Berlin, Germany
Nov 28th | Tivolivredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
Dec 2nd | Le Klub, Paris, France
Dec 5th | Stall 6, Zurich, Switzerland
Dec 7th | St Pancras Old Church, London, UK

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