Emily Wells' album Mama, released in April, is a collection of the singer's silky originals. Now she's released remixes of Mama's 14 tracks by other musicians who unpack and reassemble them.
Wells wears many hats, primarily singing, playing violin and producing. (Those unaware of her original work may know her lullaby-like cover of the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy.") Her skilled production gives Mama a dreamy edge. She layers and layers until her voice is almost buried under a smooth cacophony of instrumentation and beats.
The remixes succeed when they strip away almost everything but her singing and a beat, bringing to the fore the honeyed texture of her voice. Kid Koala does this best with "Passenger," letting the lyrics hang above a keyboard line and a barely-there drum heartbeat. Ed Rodriguez of Deerhoof adds a jagged electric guitar to the angelic "Fire Song," revealing an anxiety and harshness that Wells had smoothed over in her own version.
These remixes aren't essential, but they give fans of Mama something to chew on.