Noveller is the alter-ego of Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer and film-maker Sarah Lipstate, a musician who’s been quietly ploughing an ethereal, instrumental drone-rock furrow for a number of years. Her new, eighth studio release, ‘A Pink Sunset For No One’, is a compelling representation of her art that blankets the listener in a sonorous ambient haze whilst continuing the incremental expansion of texture essayed on 2015’s ‘Fantastic Planet’: synths, percussion and witchy, Julianna Barwick-like vocal effects allow her reverbed solo guitar pieces to assume a striking clarity and depth.
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Opener ‘Deep Shelter’, is typical of this emboldened approach, embroidered with circling kosmische figures that becalm and reach out into the stars, topped off with a lovely, plaintive piano coda. ‘Rituals’ dips into the sonic vistas of minimalist composer Steve Reich with its arpeggiated guitar motifs drowning in waves of quivering synths and swooping voices. Lipstate always crafts her music in bold, melodic strokes, and here her bendy loops work up mesmerising, shimmering patterns that forego the muddy distortion of earlier works for something more graceful, dreamlike and chiming without sacrificing any of her appetite for tension, mystery and abstraction.
‘Lone Victory Tonight’ exudes both menace and calm like a hybrid of Tim Hecker, William Basinski and The Orb, whilst ‘Another Dark Hour’ overlays glassy drones and an ominous doom-metal riff over a ‘Music For Airports’ pulse. The overwhelming ‘Trails and Trials’ pairs crunching, industrial chords with an insistent sequence of woozy, almost Brian Wilson-like guitar lines and the luxurious ‘Corridors’ imagines a meeting of chamber music with aurora washes of synth.
With the closing, transporting ‘The Unveiling’ and ‘Emergence’, Noveller steps further away from thunder-crack noise, the former unfurling almost like an instrumental by The XX tentatively emerging from a deep fog and the latter intoning flickers of frazzled electric guitar to hypnotic effect. On both tracks the artist is blasting her way into the open, wrenching bass tones and loops into pitchbent shapes that encapsulate her appeal as an experimentalist who never loses sight of immediacy: there are peculiarly intimate and personal moments threaded throughout this journey, an acutely sensitive structure of falling apart and away that ultimately unravels and resolves into warm beams of harmony and reconciliation.