# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Noveller - A Pink Sunset for No One

  by Adrian Janes

published: 3 / 4 / 2017

Noveller - A Pink Sunset for No One
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Imaginative new album from Noveller, the nom de plume for exploratory American guitarist Sarah Lipstate

You know you’re on to something musically when Iggy Pop asks for you to be his support act, as happened to Noveller (Sarah Lipstate) after the favourable reception of her 2015 album, ‘Fantastic Planet’. She operates as a solo musician, primarily on guitar, but with such mastery of her instrument and effects pedals as to evoke vast landscapes and the feel of an ensemble as often as she calls forth intimate solo tones. This range of feeling not infrequently occurs within the same piece, such as the title track: a mellow guitar phrase is overlaid by another as delicate as a koto, then is suddenly cut across in turn by a harsh slash as a wild wash of sound swims in the background, the whole evoking the first raindrops before the eruption of a full-scale storm. Similarly, ‘Trails and Trials’ begins with a characteristic repetitive phrase that gently continues throughout, over which another guitar soars and ragged bursts crash, like a meditation session in a monsoon. Noveller cites Steve Reich’s classic ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ as an influence, especially on ‘Rituals’. But despite the possibly unfair comparison of one musician’s efforts against those of a large ensemble, it has to be said that this track is simply too repetitive, tending just to restate itself. The fascination of Reich’s music, by contrast, is how the apparent repetition disguises gradual subtle changes. More satisfying is ‘Deep Shelter’, which, beginning with an organ-like drone, adds warm drifting guitar that recalls Fripp and Eno’s ‘Evening Star’ and a sparkling string synth melody, before ultimately fading into a piano-led coda. Like ‘Rituals’ it has a recurrent pulsing motif, but here this works to add extra colour and movement, rather than being the focus of the piece. ‘Lone Victory Tonight’ layers a rising reverbed guitar and sustained soaring notes over a low drone and a deep, slow wash of sound, to evoke a feeling of immensity, as if composed and recorded in a canyon. A sudden shift to an echoing, nimble interlude precedes a coda of desolate notes, once more illustrating Noveller’s ability to move between moods. Some of the later tracks have an especially improvised feel, for instance parts of ‘Another Dark Hour’ or ‘The Unveiling’, where she seems more interested in creating atmosphere and textures than a coherent composition. The risk, of course, is that sublime moments will co-exist with meandering, and to these ears this is what happens. Others will find this element of chance exhilarating – it’s the difference between enjoying a landscape within a frame and preferring the work of a Christo. But overall Noveller plays with enough imagination and melodic invention to make her soundscapes memorable, taking you on a trip to places you rarely if ever go – perhaps this is the kinship Mr Pop recognised, whose band was after all originally called the Psychedelic Stooges.

Track Listing:-
1 Deep Shelter
2 Rituals
3 A Pink Sunset For No One
4 Lone Victory Tonight
5 Trails and Trials
6 Another Dark Hour
7 Corridors
8 The Unveiling
9 Emergence

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