Drone/ambient is a style of music I love and I don’t think I could ever properly explain why. I wish I could, because it seems to be one of the few genres of music that I don’t know anyone else really digs. If they do, I haven’t really talked about it.
I only know of Emmalee Crane because she followed me on twitter. Music funk or not, I was looking for something to listen to and her gorgeous compositions were the perfect thing to get me out of it. I can’t say much about her aside from what’s in her website‘s bio, but she comes out of San Fransisco and is classically-trained in all manner of instruments. She released a debut album, Crux, in 2009 and a follow-up in 2010 called Formantine.
As for her music, the best word I can think to describe it is “Monolithic.” It’s epic in the pre-internet sense of the word. But it’s also beautiful in that grand sort of way. The same way a vast, barren desert is astounding in spite of its lifelessness. Drone as a whole has a tendency towards feeling “cold” and it’s part of what I like about the genre, but Crane’s work has a unique warmth to it. Likely because of the analog nature of the instruments, which include woodwinds and horns over the typical synth lines. At times she approaches my personal favorite, Stars of the Lid–in particular on Formantine’s “I Never Expect You to Stay.” Instead of the languid, distant sounds they produce, Crane for the most part makes her work big and forward.
Her work feels unknowable. Maybe this is because after searching for actual images of her, the best I can get is the back of her head, but the music’s grandiosity seems to carry with it an element of unfathomability–like that of a faceless corporation, fronted only by a large building and a logo, or perhaps more abstractly, like the sounds of Fate and her machinations beyond comprehension. Vast oceans, incomprehensible to the little one, beautiful for their sheer scope. This is the music that can make you feel small, in the best possible way.