Quite a CV Sarah Lipstate of Noveller has: I’ll leave you to look up the details, but suffice to say that she has played with or alongside at least half of the interesting American musicians you like. Noveller is her solo project, and Fantastic Planet finds her sifting synths into her usually guitar-dominated atmospheres.
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Strange one this. It's a truly great LP but it's also initially one of those where you forget who the hell you're listening to as it traverses various moods and is rather dream-scapey so is possibly an album to quietly absorb in private. Just as well Fire posted enough advance copies to us as to obliterate all the other largely pathetic promos we'd sadly piled up so therefore It's been happily played to death as anybody venturing near the stereo is drawn to the really nice picture on the sleeve. - nice strategy guys! From lulling brightly glacial ascending motifs to portentous post-rock sturm and drang and android prog riffing within a few minutes, this lady sure knows how to manipulate her guitar and kit for an mega-evocative journey!
Until I caught her live recently (from the doorway of a packed tiny art space in Gothenburg) I had no idea what Noveller (AKA multi-instrumentalist Sarah Lipstate) did. She'd previously slipped majestically and somewhat slyly under my radar, the cheeky musical sausage. (As it happens her CV is intimidating so I have some real back-tracking to do....) I was stood there doing that annoying thing of chatting to someone as I couldn't see a fucking thing for all the people packed in like sardines but what emanated spectrally from that wee room was pure astral cosmic guitar fuzz bliss infused with wails of icy Mark McQuire-esque riff-wonder circling above filtered minimalist hypnosis and astrally-inclined atmospherics. A set that genuinely ebbed and flowed seamlessly between introspection to outright Universal celebration in lush, seamless cycles. Much like her new record, she takes you on a profound and thought provoking journey. I still wasn't prepared for how much enjoyment I was going to glean from her recorded works however. I feel genuinely cheated after these nine tracks have ended. There's not a moment you don't wish to be absorbed in, Sarah is a highly skilled sound sculptor indeed. She's taken me to that really special place today like no other contemporary album has this year as yet and in late January it is of great importance that a new record that I care about immensely is powerful enough to bat away the Winter blues.
So, to cap, 'Fantastic Planet' is a quite excellent instrumental work throughout, based mainly around beautifully arranged electronics and processed/looped guitar interplay. An album that never fails to yield comfort and delight. Containing some incredible sonic vistas that will no doubt have the kosmische set frothing at the mouth, its brief reflective sojourns into echo-chamber ponderous post-rock territory are what prevents the record becoming potentially a little samey hence leads you to forget, return to the stereo and see Sarah's nonchalant faraway gaze on the sleeve and it all makes total sense. Her dreamy sun-shielded countenance says it all. I feel I should put it on again but the other "Album that saved January" needs a few kind words too before Clint kicks my ass :0)
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