Been listening to it on a loop. A late addition to my favorite albums of 2020 for sure. Engrossing, cinematic, epic. The kind of music I love to write to. I know it’ll stay in heavy rotation alongside go-tos like William Tyler, Jóhann Jóhannsson, John Carpenter, Dirty Three, and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s film scores.
Favorite track: Pre-fabled.
I've always had a thing for closers, so it's not different here.
While it unhurriedly resolves the microcosm built up across the record distantly echoing that Joy Division song, it also leaves the listener slightly confused (is it over? Why?!), but dare I say anxious to hear what next Noveller record is going to be.
Favorite track: Remainder.
Creating what Iggy Pop described to Jim Jarmusch as “symphonies for people that don’t have a lot of time,” Sarah Lipstate has emerged as an innovative and defining voice in the world of music under the name Noveller. Wielding a guitar as her main instrument, Lipstate has pioneered a transcendent approach to composition through her mastery and integration of effects pedals and technology. Forming unexpected sonic routes, her songs are vivid and cinematic, telling intricate tales with each tone and swell.
Raised on a strict piano technique, the discovery of the guitar late in her teens allowed for an escape from formalism and unlocked the hidden realms of her creativity. Taking an anti-theoretical approach, suddenly music was no longer a series of notes, rests, and time signatures, but a means of intuitive expression. Her deepened interest in experimental music, fueled by the discovery of the bold noise of Sonic Youth, the epic scope of Glenn Branca, the delicate formularies of Brian Eno and the no wave discordance of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, only furthered to inspire.
A yearning to explore and feed that creativity took her from Louisiana to Austin, then Brooklyn to LA. Arrow is her first album since the move to the edge of the canyons of Los Angeles, and you can hear the destabilizing effect this had on her in the music. Out of her comfort zone in a new city, with a rolling expanse in front of her and an urban sprawl over her shoulder, Lipstate built her new album as she contemplated this change in her life.
The resulting record feels as if it is filled with dreamscapes and contemplation intersecting with tension and drama, a journey that plays out over it’s dynamic sequence. Tracks like “Effektology” open up like a vivid view of the night sky, before the darkness settles in and envelopes you, finally quieting your racing mind and bringing about much needed slumber. “Canyons” pings about and stings at the mountainside with its syncopated melodic echoes. “Pre-fabled” walks you straight into the crashing ocean waves like a desperate cleansing. A mournful “Remainder” closes the proceedings, steadying itself for what the future might hold.
With her ability to add such unique sounds and textures, Lipstate has been sought out as a frequent collaborator, recently writing songs with Iggy Pop and performing as a member of his band on his worldwide tour. Past partners in crime have ranged from JG Thirlwell to Lee Ranaldo and she has performed as part of Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army, Nick Zinner’s “41 Strings”, Ben Frost’s “Music for 6 Guitars”, and Glenn Branca’s 100 guitar ensemble. She has also toured in support of big fans in St. Vincent, Wire, U.S. Girls, The Jesus Lizard and Helium.
Those prized abilities have also led her to her being a leader in the conversation around the gear that has unlocked the full range of her abilities. As she began posting videos of her explorations to social media, a dedicated and inquisitive audience emerged and continues to grow, as she appeared in magazines and documentaries. With Arrow, Lipstate has emerged with an album that is sure to delight and challenge all of her followers, as that fanbase widens further.