Bright guitar riffs and plucking accompany a scratchy blend of strings and drone to start off Desert Fires. “Almost Alright” does a great job of setting up the mood for the rest of the album. Brooklyn’s Noveller, real name Sarah Lipstate, crafts a savory piece of avant-garde, experimental, guitar based drone and ambient absolutely void of any vocal work. “Kites Calm Desert Fires” has a slow burning thick and heavy guitar, layered over itself along with a ringing synthesizer that, near the end, morphs in to this mess of dischord and abrupt noises. Going by the album’s name, this does sound like something you’d possibly hear soundtracked as you walk through a vast desert. Any fan of post-rock will be able to appreciate this release, among the obvious target audience of drone fans and the like. Once (and if) you click the buy link, you’ll have to scroll down the page in order to see Desert Fires. Sadly, for those outside of the US, it’s $9.50 more.

The Details

'Desert Fires' is Noveller’s full-length follow-up to last year’s No Fun debut 'Red Rainbows'. The sounds on 'Desert Fires' express a compositional evolution from layered loop-based drone work to more expansive formal arrangements of swells, throbs, tones and shimmer. Where 'Red Rainbows' presented an anthology of studies in technique—from early bedroom recordings to Noveller’s first exploits in the studio— 'Desert Fires' illustrates a refined, deliberate meditation on the physical relationship between Lipstate and her electric guitar. Handling the instrument as her muse, Lipstate summons a sonic palette so rich as to challenge the listener to conceive of how it’s housed in a single instrument manipulated by a solitary performer.

Opening track, “Almost Alright,” stakes claim to ground in territory charted by Fripp & Eno or synth-heavy contemporaries Emeralds, and leads the listener into the spacious, sprawling landscape of 'Desert Fires'. “Kites Calm Desert Fires” is a sandstorm of rich, percussive guitar, warm humming bass and swirling rhapsodic chimes. “Toothnest (for Chris Habib)” arrives at an idyllic sonic plateau of windswept fuzz and tremolo, then charges blindly with a soaring guitar solo evocative of bagpipes triumphantly marking a return from battle. Closing track “Fades” is the precipitate of a fragile complexity of deeply sensual sonic reactions—physically pairing texture, air and chance with the strings of Lipstate’s guitar—it exposes the emulsion of one’s ears to the light of Noveller’s sounds.
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Price $16

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