Once in a while I hear an album that is truly special. There is an x-factor that puts it above and beyond expectations. I have the pleasure of reviewing the beautiful, utterly original and captivating Crowd of Reeds by Emmalee^crane. Not since I first heard Max Richter or Stars of the Lid have I been so taken back by someone inventing a new emergence of sounds to create something that you listen to in awe. Emmalee^crane uses woodwinds, horns, analog synths and more to create sounds that are so much bigger then the sum of their parts. The songs feel like living organisms warping through time and space to create a singularity.
The album begins with “Crowd of Reeds” which starts with a mixture of possible radio signals and random electronics before a wave of drones and orchestrations provides the swells of emotion that hit you like a ton of bricks. Even the most bewildered of souls will be forced into the present as the sounds submerge you. “Seventeenth Wheel” is content in homeostasis as a cloud of ambience floats while various instruments like woodwinds, piano and synths drift by. “Fraction Amber” is a unified whole that moves like a lumbering giant across a distant planet. Other songs like “Manitoba” feel like people playing in a room. One of the standouts amongst the standouts is “Glissando Railing” which I loved because of the way the song pulled me emotionally. I wasn’t quite sure how to feel and eventually gave up and embraced the sound. The album ends with the slightly hopeful yet more contemplative “If We Feel Outnumbered.” This is an album that I hope reaches as many people as possible. It is an epic journey of sound that fills the listener with so many different emotions at once but most importantly it brings the listener into the present moment.
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