Why does everyone love the guitar so much? Besides the fact that we all look like sexy beasts when we play one, it’s the range in tonalities and textures (whether it be rhythmic or ambient, melodic or harmonic), the dozens of different playing styles at one’s disposal, and with pedals and processors, it now seems as though every sound is obtainable; the possibilities border infinity. With Fantastic Planet, the seventh album from her solo project, Noveller, Austin-based guitarist and composer, Sarah Lipstate is a perfect example of a musician who has sought to extend the guitar to it’s further reaches.
Already an acclaimed filmmaker and composer, Lipstate has been recording and releasing music as Noveller since 2005, collaborating and sharing stages with acts like Xiu Xiu, Jesus Lizard, St. Vincent and U.S. Girls. The music is highly cinematic in nature; the choices she makes evoke vast and highly animated landscapes, ambiguous worlds that seem to float in and out of dream-like states. This is the kind of music that allows one to let the imagination take hold, where little is grounded and much is up for interpretation. It’s a sonic collage that evokes a visual journey, where each sound is a layer on a canvas, but this painting travels through time, constantly shifting in color and tone.
Fantastic Planet covers even more terrain than past Noveller releases, where the synth has a more active presence, allowing an even larger sonic pallet than what the guitar had to offer alone. Loose rhythms appear from time to time, adding an extra level of entrancement before dispersing into complete ambiance.
Streaming below is the opening track to the album. Beginning with a low bass note, there’s a suspense before the pluck of a clean-yet-heavily reverberated guitar cuts the air and we are slowly lowered into Fantastic Planet. At about 2:30 our head goes underwater as we are immersed in a distorted, serene, zero gravity soundscape.
Noveller’s Fantastic Planet will be released on January 27 via Fire Records.