"Basket" is an eerie song: something screeches gently in the background, the bass sustains long, gloomy notes, and Emily Cross's vocals seem close to drifting away. At the end, the track dissolves under consecutive waves of noise, as if someone was hitting an especially dissonant dinner gong.
Despite these effects, "Basket" came together in tranquil circumstances. A couple of years ago, the singer moved from Chicago to Drippings Springs, Texas, where she settled on a ranch. "I wrote these lyrics while sitting out on our back porch one morning, watching the long golden grass blow in the breeze," Cross explains to FADER in an email. "I was thinking about how I would love to make a basket out of the grass...a large basket, big enough to fit a little baby inside."
"The vocals we ended up using were only intended to be a scratch track," she continues. "I kept trying to write more lyrics, but nothing felt right. I realized I just needed to repeat the same thing over and over, and develop the atmosphere around it."
The sound that helps bring the track to a close was provided by Swans' Thor Harris. "One of my favorite moments in the song is Thor's mysterious black box at the end," Cross notes. "I have no idea what type of instrument it is, but it is a black metal box. I'm thinking that's the sound that best represents what birth feels like."
Listen below, and look for Cross Record's sophomore album, Wabi-Sabi, at the end of the month.