Emmalee Hunnicutt lives in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. Originally from Iowa, Emmalee started playing cello at a young age. She went on to get a degree from the University of Iowa in cello performance. In college she was introduced to the Alexander Technique. This was the beginning of her interest in somatic education and bodywork. Her experience with the Alexander Technique in college gave her the tools to get rid of back pain she was experiencing while playing the cello as well as tools to work with performance anxiety and to enhance her musical creativity. In 2012 she moved to Asheville to create music and to become a licensed massage therapist. She started training to become an Alexander Technique teacher in 2016 at 'Light in Being Alexander Technique Teacher Training' in Boone with Corinne Casinni and completed her training in 2020. Practicing massage therapy for the last seven years and completing an Alexander Technique teacher training has been an amazing and healing journey for her; she has learned an immense amount about being herself, about supporting others in being themselves and about structural anatomy and nurturing touch. Emmalee currently lives in Asheville and works as a Massage Therapist, Alexander Technique Teacher, and Cellist playing for wedding gigs, and with her bands; Vinesines, Library of Babel and Mountain Bitters.
Photo by www.danielaguerrerophotography.com
The Library Of Babel
The Library of Babel
"Unconscious gasps of breath. Finger skin sliding on metal strings. An acoustic guitar is flanked by cello and double bass in a relationship that at times feels almost parental - the two bigger instruments keeping a watchful eye over the junior one as it gambols ahead, constantly investigating and testing.
This is a very special release. If what this label has relished in before is pairing occult, abstract instances of sound to partly-erased images and letting the spectator simply make of it what it wishes, a new strategy for Blue Tapes might be to try and apply that lovingly rendered abstraction to music - things people might actually want to hear. Records, some people call ‘em.
So, without compromising our position, it would be an exciting experiment to attempt to curate releases that anyone could hear and get something from. Even if - especially if - the hypothetical listener weren’t quite sure what it was they were getting out of this.
I think the nineteenth release in the tape series, by The Library of Babel, achieves this. This music is delicate, intricate - an intimate conversation in real-time between three gorgeous-sounding instruments. So intimate, in fact, that as a listener you imagine yourself between the instruments, the sounds slipping and buzzing around you, the warm breath of the players on your neck; sometimes even more intimately you feel yourself between the the strings, the notes, sliding as they ring and you vibrate.
The music has an instinctive narrative although the playing is improvised. Fans of blue twelve: Tashi Dorji, in particular, will appreciate this - especially as guitarist Shane Parish and bassist Frank Meadows are friends and regular collaborators of Tashi in their hometown of Asheville, NC. The sounds the pair make with cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt potentially have wide appeal, though, caressing the dopamine centres of brains wired for jazz and free folk alike.
Gratifyingly, though, there is an absence of any real genre to call a home for this music. It is animalistic in its intuition and motives. Seemingly oblivious to its own wisdom and only concerned with the moment.
I love this music very much. I hope something in it captures you too. "
Praise for blue nineteen:
"Blue Tapes rarely disappoints, but even by their standards this is an intensely special recording." - The Quietus
"The singularly eclectic Blue Tapes label is known for its promotion of experimental musicians such as Stillsuit, Trupa Trupa and Tashi Dorji and for its challenging and often dissonant improvised and electronic music that isn’t performed or recorded for significantly large audiences. The Library Of Babel’s album is a little different though. Retaining the improvisational approach and also bringing a defined structure to the compositions, either accidentally or deliberately, The Library Of Babel have recorded an album of some very cool, minimalistic yet highly atmospheric chill-zone sounds, an album that consistently reveals new layers of ability from its performers, both as a group and individually." - DOA
"If you’ve listened to any of the release from this particular label before you’ll know to expect experimentation at its most beautiful and Library of Babel is no exception." - SCRZ Magazine
Woven from Rushes
Colored Over [improvised songs]
The stories range from the quotidian (“Chores”) to the mythic (“Tin Crow, He Slayed a Dragon”), but less often purely imagistic (“Spectral Dusts of Dancing”), rarely resting on repetition or focusing on textural color. You might be reminded of the elliptical cello plucking of Arthur Russell, the vocal ornamentation of Josephine Foster, the fractured song forms of the Dirty Projectors; or perhaps the closest precedent is the extemporaneous folk dirges of Songs: Ohia’s Protection Spells. By the time you reach the dark-forest tones of “Jackson Hole,” it’s clear you’re hearing a contemporary bardic revival, an echo of a time when singing and storytelling were inseparable, when poetry was oral and composition meant a spontaneous drawing-together of elements from innumerable stories heard in the past.
Free improvisation is usually associated with coloring outside the lines. This music, it IS the lines. The question for the listener: what exactly are they drawing? These two are like the couple in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, crossing the dangerous countryside on foot, two Arthurian veterans who have forgotten their past deeds of magic, swordplay and gallantry. But they’re trying to remember.
Like much contemporary improvisation this music is full of mysterious gates. The difference is that here the gates are all open. All you have to do is walk on through. All you need is your own curiosity. You’ll recall the rest soon enough.
One is reminded of the Sheriffs of Nothingness' hermetic Winter's Night at the Crooked Forest, though the season has advanced, and this cabin at least has a piano. One is reminded of Michael Harrison's recent explorations with just-tuned pianos, though here the tuning system, whatever it might be, is subtext and not subject. One is reminded of Annea Lockwood's Piano Burning, though this one appears to have escaped the flames.
Sing to Me of...
Library of Babel
“Remain quiet throughout, but more alert than ever before.” - Margaret Goldie
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a way of enhancing awareness in activity. Through the support of ones own constructive thinking and the hands and experience of a teacher, a student has the opportunity to become more aware of what is going on in their body and mind in activity, and with that awareness make informed choices about how they are going about their activities.
Ways of Teaching
Emmalee offers in person or online lessons to groups and individuals. Alexander Technique is traditionally taught one on one and involves exploring awareness, thought and movement in low stakes activities like getting in and out of a chair, walking, standing and laying down as well as work in specialized activities like playing an instrument, dancing, writing, computer work, or gardening to list a few.
In person lessons generally include light touch from a teacher that helps to enhance awareness of ones body in space, bring into clearer focus ones structure, and potentially support new insights and experiences of ease in movement.
First lesson is free
Work with me for a free 45 minute lesson to see if you are inspired by the Alexander Technique and by working with me!
Sign up for six 45-minute lessons
Sliding scale $30-$50 per lesson, or communicate with me directly and we can find something that works for you!
Sign up for eight 30-minute lessons
Sliding scale $20-$40 per lesson, or communicate with me directly and we can find something that works for you!