Noveller, photo by Alex Marks, artist lounging on a sofa against a brick wall

Noveller’s music is a kind of magic. It lives in a special place, kept away from the ferocity of the world. Noveller’s natural chimes linger in the air, and then a soft, washed-out drone trickles into the music. It’s a paradise isle, complete with a leisurely slide that perfectly recalls a climate perpetually washed in sunlight. ‘Concrete Dreams’ opens her new album “Fantastic Planet”. The natural harmonics sink into the dry-boned Texan heat, which leaves in its wake a dusty atmosphere that constantly suffers from spells of stifled air. “Fantastic Planet” lets you escape it all.

Austin-based composer Sarah Lipstate delivers sublime music that radiates out of her electric guitar and fills the space with drips and echoes. Lipstate’s endless sustains, showered with splashes of reverb, sit beside red-blooded synths. Her music leads off into the veiled mystery of the unknown, but we’re held tight at all times, safely tethered by the rhythm. Subtle, newly-formed rhythms emerge from the controlled drones. Rhythm is everywhere, and not just in the obvious drum beat. Her melodies have their own rhythms. For instance, the opening harmonics space themselves out evenly like metronomic beats; rhythms are scattered throughout her music, throughout this planet.

Ascending and descending lines in the background help to tranquillize the tones, lulling them into a slumber (‘In February’), while the accuracy of a deep-down bass helps to give some clarity and focus to the glinting, obscured drones that gleam just below the surface. Rippling like a pebble over serene, ambient waters, the golden melody floats beside a single, muddied drum, but it’s just an echo in the distance. “Fantastic Planet” is a spacious, strange place; if you need some space, you can travel to her fantastic fiction. Her fizzing melodies, which are often clean and clear, zoom down neon-lit, far out roads. A crystal clear melody slides around, its reverb leaving behind a ghostly tail. Later on, in the same track, Lipstate creates some contrast with a sandy melody, dusted by some desert fuzz.

This music is an enchanting, brightly-lit world of colourful wonder. Noveller paints a multitude of sonic textures and soundscapes, and the album is maze-like in its sizable array of tones and colours. Sometimes, the synths take control of the album (‘Sisters’). The music spins 360 degrees and loosely steps over the terrain of electronic music. But its ambient soul is never far away; the reverb fills out the space, and a haunted tone whisks itself away.

The distortion flies around in the air, buzzing like a thousand insects, and colossal pillars of noise crumble into the dirt. A mystical melody enters, and so does the steady thump of a drum. The dusty clouds start to disintegrate and evaporate. This is ‘Pulse Point’, and its synths are blade-sharp. They speed through the music, so fast they could be afterburners on a space shuttle. “Fantastic Planet” is a lucid, lovely place that you can see from Earth. Noveller’s music shines brightly.


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