Noveller – Fantastic planet (Fire Records)

Epic compelling guitar soundscapes by Sarah Lipstate of Austin Texas (she originally defined herself as a guitar project although there are apparently some synths in here).

The tone can turn from brooding to meditative at the flick of a wrist and it makes sense to discover that Lipstate is also a filmmaker, so assured are the switches in mood.

Opener ‘Into the dunes’ creates a terrific sense of foreboding with low drones and crunching power chords edging into creeping John Carpenter territory. 'No unholy mountain' takes a prismatic psych approach to arpeggios and sound bleed which is pure gorgeousness.

There’s a distinct Reichian flavour to the opening cascade of notes in ‘Rubicon’ and a great hint of Orange Juice style new wave verve about the overlapping guitar lines in ‘Sisters’.

And check the lovely ambient Badalamenti haze of ‘Concrete dreams’.

Whatever the mood what I particularly like about this album is the restraint - the build is measured, never forced, never false, always organic.

Beautiful instrumental music and sterling stuff all round.

*This intimate performance film gives a very good idea of how she goes about her work, with an array of effect pedals, wah wah, violin bow and e-bow all pressed into service.


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