Promise

by Emily Wells

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    Design inspired by Kafka book covers... Pack of Nobodies is a reference from Kafka's short story "Description of a Struggle"

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about

• “Quietly transfixing…Ms. Wells works in the manner of what Walt Whitman called “a noiseless, patient spider,” sending out filament after filament until a structure begins to form.” –NEW YORK TIMES

•"The shape-shifting string virtuoso ignores genre boundaries while conjuring a uniquely affecting session of atmospheric folk..." - RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY

• “Extraordinary, presenting a sort of ambient gospel-folk music that’s immersed in secular desires and experiences.” – NPR


• “‘Promise’ is a record like few others – both tangible and smoky, guttural and delicate, it treads atop a thin sheet of ice throughout, yet remains unafraid to bask in the warmth of its creator.” – DIY

Emily Wells on making "Promise":

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? 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. Watching her work projected bluntly on the wall gave me a sense of companionship in the studio, particularly when I had reached a point in the record when all the things I thought I knew about making a record turned back on me in a stampede.
These finished recordings and their live counterparts take their time - and in doing so ask for a bit of grace. I returned often to an interview I'd watched with the light artist James Turrell where he says, "…not everyone will sit in a darkened room for ten minutes before they begin to see." This idea allowed me be patient with the work, both in process and outcome.

When writing, when recording, there is a period where everything is in service of the song, if at times unconsciously. As the song begins to take form, however, its role shifts: the song is in service of the life it feeds. How then to convey a malleable "you," interchangeable with the self, with the friend, with the lover, with the listener, the future? I sought teachers; Joan Didion, a keen observer of "us” and "me", and I kept near favorite essays - writers on writing, on the history of music, on politics and political life, on the mind. There were songs and albums too, and whether wordless compositions or modern pop they all stood for the same end: engagement with the self, the friend, the heartbroken, the story, the listener. And of course through all of this there remains, for me, the meditation on all the actual people and times in my life, still present inside each song.


The album was influenced by the following:
PIna Bausch's "Die Klage der Kaiserin", James Baldwin, Diane Keaton reading Joan Diddion's "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", Kafka’s “Description of a Struggle”, Tomas Transtromer’s “Half Finished Heaven”, Wim Winder's on "Pina", Cabello/Carceller, Wallace Stevens, Joseph Brodsky’s “Less Than One”, Bach Partita no 2, Drake’s "Nothing was the Same", Alemayehu Eshete, James Turrell, Wendy Rene “After Laughter Comes Tears Staxx Reissue” Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel"

credits

released January 29, 2016

Promise was written recorded produced & performed by Emily w/ the following contributions
Additional production & drum programming by Jacob Plasse for
Don't Use Me Up, Come to me, Fallin In on It, Adagio, and Los Angeles
Promise was mixed by Emily Wells & Jacob Plasse w/ help from Samantha “Pedestrian Ears” Nye
Promise was mastered by Henrik Jonsson
Vocals & Emily's live drums recorded by Joshua Kessler at Bushwick Studios
Acoustic & Electric Cello performed by Topu Lyo for
Los Angeles, Don't Use Me Up, Come To Me, Adagio, Light is Drainin
Additional live drums & percussion performed by Shayna Dunkelman, recorded by Jeffrey Fettig
at the Creamery for Don't Use Me Up, Take It Easy, Come to Me, Antidote, Light is Drainin
Vibraphone performed by Shayna Dunkleman on Los Angeles
French Horn performed by James Wells on Come To Me
Emily performs: violin, viola, vocals, drum programming, live drums, analog synth, guitars, bass
Artwork & title derived from Cabello/Carceller 1998 Installation at La Gallera, Valencia "Promesa"
Layout, Design, Logo by Mia Rockel

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about

Emily Wells New York, New York

Emily wells is a performer, producer, singer and composer known for her varied use of classical and modern instrumentation as well as her deft approach to live sampling at shows. Classically trained as a violinist, she also plays drums, keys, beat machines and whatever else she can fit in her road case. Her new record "Mama" is out on Partisan records april 10. ... more

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Track Name: Los Angeles
Her mouth, it was moving, but no sound was coming out
and your back, it was turning, around
we were, always dreaming, of a day that would never come
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, I'm burning up for you
Hangin out the window, holding on to an afternoon
She knew, how to teach those, boys to fight
we were, always yellin, at the night, it would never come
And wanting, was it desire? you and I, we never won
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, I'm burning up for you
Well you walk the streets and you say goodbye
All along the river tonight
And if they tell you, you must go
Just look 'em in the eye
Say, "No, no, no my love is here"
Track Name: You Dream of China
You let the days pass. You let the night come
You dream of China. You dream of no one
I'm here to remind you, don't forget. Forget it
I'm here to remind you
You call your father. You let it ring
You celebrate him
We are, gonna get it right
We are, gonna get it wrong
You let the phone ring. You let it pass
You want everything, you're afraid to ask
I'm here to remind you, don't forget. Forget it.
I'm here to remind you
You want nothing. Cause nothing lasts
except wanting
And want and get and need and pride
Track Name: Don't Use Me Up
Don't Use Me up
Don't use me up
I wanted everything so don't use me up
Don't let me down
I'm really counting on you so don't let me down
Everything is easier when you wash it down
All your friends are your best friends
when you wash it down
So go meet the devil. Go meet Jesus
When you wash it down, when you wash it down
Don't tie me up
I got no strings attached so don't tie me up
Don't let me go
I wanna hold you back so don't let me go
Everything is brighter when you wash it down
Everyone knows your name when you wash it down
So go meet the devil… Go meet Jesus.
When you wash it down.
We went down to water to be baptized
Don't let me down to the water to be baptized
Track Name: Pack of Nobodies
You were downstairs in the kitchen learning to be my wife
A good kid on good advice
We didn't know it. We didn't know it
We don't know how to love
we don't know how to love we don't know
We fuck it up to get caught we get caught to fuck it up
We roam around, we roam around
You said, "you got something to prove man?"
I said, "baby I just might, stick around, learn to fight"
And we didn't know it.
I don't know how to love I don't know how to love I don't know
And I'm gonna need you to be careful with me
Some day you're gonna have to come home
And I'm gonna need you to take care of me
And you're gonna need me too
We fuck it up to get lost, we get lost to fuck it up
We roam around, we roam around
Track Name: Take it Easy
Tell me what you've done to me,
can we please take it easy?
It'd be so lovely like a gloomy afternoon
To just take it is easy with you
Where do you go with your wiles and your woes
Can we please take it slow?
Can we please take it easy?
Half of heartbreak is knowing the ropes
But a tight walker's toes are well worth the show
I got a dime for every song that jives
and wouldn't you know that i'm half broke
Can we please take it easy?
Don't you stop, don't you stop, talking to me
Don't stop talking to me
Will you whisper something sweet?
We're riding home, riding home in the evening
and we're falling asleep
Don't I have a pretty little darlin?
Don't I have it made?
Track Name: Come To Me
Come to me when you know that you're ready
Come to me when you're home
And my mama said there'd be bluejays in the summer
yeah my mama said there'd be apples in the fall
But my mama don't know a thing about loving
'Cept how to catch a man when he falls
So come to me when you're good and you're ready
Come to me when you're home
Yes, come come to me… Come come to me
Come come to me when you're good and ready
And my mama said there'd be oranges in the winter
Yeah my mama said there'd be blossoms in the spring
And my mama sure knows a whole lot about loving
So come to me and I'll give you everything
We don't know what's best for us
we don't know what's next for us but I wanna find out
We don't know the half of it, but I wanna find out
I don't know what you look like old and gray,
I hope that you will stay cause i wanna find out
And I don't care I don't care anymore
I just wanna find out
We don't care we don't care anymore.
We just wanna find out
Track Name: Falling In On It
I was in danger. I was in need.
All I could see, my own reflection
I was in danger, I was in danger of falling in on me
And if you ever, give a thought, to growing old.
Then you know about falling in, falling in on it
If you give it all up. If you give it all away.
If you give it all up. You forget your name
The Lord, he comes down, most every night
yeah the Lord, he reminds me about falling in, falling in on him
I don't wanna know my name anymore, I don't wanna know my name
You forget your name forget your name forget your name
I was in danger, of being in love, of being in love, just like I use to
I was in danger of falling in, falling in on you
And if you ever give a thought, to being someone
somebody else's
then you know, yeah you know
You don't belong to me you don't belong to me
I can't get use to you, getting use to me
Track Name: Adagio
Go slow my love, go slow
I got a number for you. You got mine.
Go slow, if you can help yourself, Go slow, this time
I'm a goner. I wanna get on that bus
The one that'll ride me to your front door
just to tell you how much
I'm a goner. I wanna get on that bus
The one that'll ride me all through the night
Just to tell you how much
Track Name: Richard
Don't go to sleep. Don't close your eyes
If we stay up all night, then we stay alive
Gonna say my prayers for you. Say em every night
Lord I want the same thing. Always want the same thing
I wanna stay alive
(listen)
Pray for what you've got. And print the money at home
Track Name: Light is Drainin
If I were to take you, take you in my arms, now hear me
I would surely lose you.
If I were to want you. I'd come calling, yeah I'd come calling
If I were to love you, really really love you
I would surely lose you
And if you, and if you wanna know love
You will seek it, you will find it
If I were to have you, what is having someone else?
No I don't wanna have you
But holding you means someone
And holding's what we do to get it
If I were to lose you, really really lose you
Losing's what we did together
Take me into the wild
Come on come on come girl there ain't nothin we can do
Maybe he's just sleeping there but this light it'll come for you
Come on come on come girl, I don't really care
Take me into the wild and lay me down right there