Noveller :: Fantastic Planet (Fire)

Noveller streaks the sky with wispy contrails while shifting nuances in the landscape—coloring the leaves, withering a plant, elongating the shadows.

Noveller :: Fantastic Planet (Fire)

Sarah Lipstate makes film as well as music, so to write that she has a cinematic mind is redundant. She found critical and collegial favor early, leaving Austin for an apprentice layover in Brooklyn, sharing the stage with the likes of (impressive list here) and earning the critical praise of (names and call letters of respected media outlets here).

Solo guitarist with a synthesizer nearby, her playing is very muscular, though she neither riffs, tears, nor shreds. While her earlier Desert Fires expertly erased the demarcation line between source and materiality, Fantastic Planet is easily identifiable as a guitar album, though no less mercurial for that, as she wields it more like a paintbrush than an axe.

Noveller means “short stories” in Swedish and she writes deeply evocative ones. At its best, music, art, civilization really, is the continuing story of unique people in dialogue and conflict with their surroundings. Somehow, for me, her surroundings are the empty plazas, high, rendered walls and colonnades of de Chirico’s “metaphysical town squares“—modern but highly influenced by classicism, baked all day long in hot, dry air but at this particular moment, always heading toward sundown, the shadows its inhabitants. She is the sound in those spaces.

On Fantastic Planet, melody has become more important but not at the cost of texture and small, incremental changes, like shadows growing. “Sisters” picks apart High Life and reassembles it into near-glitch techno. Her electric guitar screams powerfully—”Rubicon“—or lets its story tumble out with graceful enunciation (on “The Ascent”). Noveller streaks the sky with wispy contrails while shifting nuances in the landscape—coloring the leaves, withering a plant, elongating the shadows.

Fantastic Planet is available on Fire.

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