Cross Record is the vehicle for the delicate, doomy compositions of songwriter and visual artist Emily Cross. Her recordings, including the 2016 full-length Wabi Sabi, generally feature minimal yet subtly experimental instrumentation, incorporating tape manipulation, woodwinds, and guitars along with Cross’ wispy vocals, but at times they can erupt with distorted drums and swarming horns. As abstract as some of her arrangements may seem, there’s a directness to her lyrics, and her songs are gently (and sometimes intensely) hypnotic.
Born in the Midwest and raised in Florida, Cross began self-releasing material under the name Cross Record during the early 2010s while attending the Art Institute of Chicago, where she graduated from in 2011. She met musician/engineer Dan Duszynski (Gold Motel, Any Kind), who recorded and contributed to Cross Record’s debut full-length, Be Good. The album was released as a limited vinyl LP on Lay Flat in 2012, and was given a wider release the following year by Ba Da Bing. In 2013, Cross and Duszynski decided to marry and relocate to Texas. They settled into a ranch in the small town of Dripping Springs. Cross worked day jobs and painted, and Duszynski recorded sessions by Austin-based bands at the couple’s home studio. They spent much of 2014 and 2015 recording Cross Record’s second album, which included percussion by Thor Harris of Swans, as well as co-production by Theo Karon, who contributed to Be Good. Titled Wabi Sabi after the Japanese aesthetic philosophy centered around imperfection and impermanence, the album was released by Ba Da Bing in early 2016. After the album’s release, Cross spent some time living in seclusion in Mexico, where she began recording her next album. Finished in Los Angeles with musician Andrew Hulett and producer Karon, the elaborate, electronic-heavy Cross Record was issued in 2019. ~ Paul Simpson