“Quietly transfixing” composer / producer Emily Wells is known for her varied use of classical and modern instrumentation, “a master of blending the worlds of classical and electronics” (NPR) and “dramatic, meticulous and gothic songs” (New York Times). On stage Wells’ builds a “new instrument” out of acoustic and electronic drums, synth, violin, and her evocative performances leave audiences equal parts dancing and grieving. Wells’ latest work, This World is Too _____ For You released in March has been hailed by NPR as “breathtaking” “mind-blowing” and “visionary”. The ten song album, arranged for chamber ensemble by composer Michi Wiancko, was commissioned by Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series and Metropolis Ensemble who performs on the album along with drummer / composer Shayna Dunkelman (Du Yun, Xiu Xiu).
“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... they are an offering, an oath. As a queer kid raised in the south and the midwest by a music minister and a preacher's daughter I am interested in the reclamation of themes and ideas that have often been used to constrain me.” Of Wells’ video work, which accompanies her performances, she says, “the video and the songs are mirrors of one another: grace, the body, movement, and the natural world, beating against our windows, drunk with the answer.”
My work bridges pop and chamber music and explores concepts around human relation to the natural world rooted in a love for both. I am interested in the ways performance and recordings influence one another and I work in both realms. My work also interacts with my video practice through projection at performances which intersects imagery of contemporary dance, extreme weather and effects of climate crisis, and protest footage from ACT UP.