Cross Record is the name that Emily Cross records under. It’s appropriate in more than a few ways. The name is explanatory: this is Emily Cross, and she has recorded some music for you. The simplicity of the name also kind of sums up what the project is all about. Emily started writing and recording songs because a friend told her she had a nice voice. It was as easy as that. Because of this unpretentious start, most early Cross Record songs sound like personal sketches - often a single instrument and a voice, possibly looped a few times over. Some songs stay that way, seemingly letting the listener in to a small head space shared with the artist. It’s intimate and comforting. Every song has that quality, but some go beyond it, adding atmospheric flourishes like bells and chimes, woodwinds, light percussion, and vocal effects. It all adds up to a soothing, hypnotic ambiance.
All of that being said, we were a little nervous to have Cross Record perform as part of our Record Store Day 2012 festivities, hosted with BV Chicago. Cross Record has been one of our favorites since first listen, but Record Store Day can be pretty chaotic. The hustle and bustle could have easily distracted from their set, and this is not music that should be wasted on the inattentive. Fortunately, their live sets are captivating enough to immediately draw people in. It also helps that they played some of the new material from their forthcoming full-length Be Good (produced by Theo Karon of This Is Cinema, available soon from Lay Flat). The new songs preserve the gentle, atmospheric quality of their earlier work, but they’ve got teeth. You can hear it in the opening track to their session, “Slow,” which rises from a patient mantra-like repetition into a crashing swell of instruments and leads into the driving push of “Holy Well,” from their stellar 2011 release Magnetic Current. This new Cross Record sounds more like a fully realized band, but the heart of it all is still in Emily’s kind and gentle voice.
Their are several releases up on Cross Record’s Bandcamp page, all of which you should check out, but let’s add this session to the growing list of accomplishments in the band’s young existence. Watching their evolution so far, it’s hard to believe that there aren’t more amazing things to come from Cross Record. We’re glad we’ve been able to play a part in their evolution and we’re excited to see what they’ll grow into as a band. So far, so good.