“Quietly transfixing” composer / producer Emily Wells is known for her varied use of classical and modern instrumentation, deft approach to live sampling, and “dramatic, meticulous and gothic songs” (New York Times) that blend “traditionalism with electronic ambiance” (NPR). Fresh off a new album, Wells steps out of the studio this May for an intimate show at National Sawdust where she experiments with songs old and new.
On stage Wells’ builds a “new instrument” out of acoustic and electronic drums, synth, violin, and her evocative solo performances leave audiences equal parts dancing and grieving. Her latest work, This World is Too _____ For You, arranged for chamber ensemble by composer Michi Wiancko, was commissioned by Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series premiered in November 2017. This work is being expanded and recorded as a studio LP, out January 2019.
“The new songs are the rub between desire for, and desire to strip oneself of all wanting” Wells says of the new material, which clamors around all the edges, and sometimes into the center of our collective uncertainties. “I grew up with hymns and I often find myself drawn to a form that seeks redemption, even for transgressions unknown.” Wells’ video work will accompany the performances of which she says, “the video and the songs are mirrors of one another: human failing, desire, grace, the body, repetition, muted gutting, and the natural world, beating against our windows, drunk with the answer.”