Noveller is the solo project of Brooklyn-based sound artist and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. She has created music with One Umbrella, Parts & Labor, Nancy Garcia, Cold Cave, Rhys Chatham, and Glenn Branca. Lipstate recently opened several dates for The Jesus Lizard on their European and U.S. reunion tour, and will be supporting Xiu Xiu for several weeks on their U.S. tour in March. Noveller currently has a CD out on No Fun Productions and a split LP with Nadja’s Aidan Baker out on Divorce Records.
Textural guitar soundscapes. I really try to create as diverse an array of sounds and textures in my music as I can using an electric guitar. Lately, I’ve been focusing on using only guitar (no tape player, voice, etc.) in my new pieces and discovering ways of playing and processing the guitar that sound exciting to me. I want to make the most of my instrument and really use it as my muse.
It’s really nice to have complete creative control over the music I create as Noveller. It also feels very intimate and satisfying to perform my pieces in a live setting and be the master of my sound. Aside from my first project, One Umbrella, I have had very little part in writing the music of other bands I’ve played in.
Carlos Giffoni came to a show that I played at Tommy’s Tavern in Greenpoint in 2008. He introduced himself and we talked at the bar for a while after the show. Soon after he got in touch about doing a Noveller release on No Fun and I thought it would be a great avenue for my first official release, so we made it happen.
Darcy Spidle who runs the Canadian label Divorce Records hooked up me and Aidan for that release. I’d been planning on doing a 7” for Divorce and then Darcy approached me about doing a split LP, saying he thought it would be a dream combination to have me and Aidan work together. I’m very fond of the release. Aidan and I discussed our approach to the record before recording and decided to use similar techniques to build our individual pieces. The results are pretty different, but yes I believe that they complement each other.
I’m generally very affected by my environment, and with creating music it’s no different. I tend to spend a lot of time at home, where I compose and rehearse music, and looking back at the music I created while living at various apartments, there’s definitely an emotional connection for me. I named my first LP “Paint on the Shadows” after the one-bedroom apartment that I was living in at the time on Powers St. The floor and ceiling were pretty severely slanted, to where my appliances and sofa had to be propped up with boards on one end to make them level. It was a railroad with windows only at either end of the apartment so it was always very dark. The whole time I lived there I felt like I was living inside the set of a German expressionist film. I was reading about how they achieved the severity of the look for the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by painting dramatic shadows onto the sets.
Currently, my film work is very inspired by the music I’m creating. I’ve been working with painting/stamping 16mm clear film leader and creating very abstract visuals to accompany my live Noveller performances. In general, I feel that I approach film making and sound composition very similarly. In both mediums, I’m more interested in creating work that hints at a story rather than telling one.
When I was in college, I performed in my first band, One Umbrella, using the alias Novella. My partner in the duo, Carlos, was really into the idea of obscuring our identities. I modified it to “Noveller” (pronounced know-vell-er) when I started recording solo works.
“Red Rainbows” is kind of a collection of older recordings that I made when I first moved to Brooklyn, and some newer pieces that I recorded in a studio with Carlos Giffoni for the “Paint on the Shadows” LP session. Comparing it to my other releases. I feel that it’s the most diverse sonically and represents both the older and current sounds and techniques that I work with.
I was really taken with Zeena Parkins’ approach to her instrument when I first saw her play. Nels Cline also blew me away when I saw him play a solo guitar set at a small show in Austin. He had an impressive array of effects and toys that he used to create a very intricate yet cacophonous world of sounds that has left a lasting impression on me.
I like to read a lot, and listen to music. I don’t currently have any other employment outside of playing music, so I do spend most of my time on Noveller and film work.
I’m really looking forward to the tour. It’s my first time playing shows as Noveller across the U.S. Xiu Xiu’s been a favorite of mine for a long time and I think it’s great that we’ll be playing together. I’m hoping that Xiu Xiu’s audience will be receptive to my music.
As a guitarist, I had an amazing time playing at The Met with Rhys Chatham, Robert Poss, Jonathan Kane, and co. During the show I kept thinking, “How did I get here?” The best Noveller performance moment was opening the Jesus Lizard show at Irving Plaza.
Yes. I’ve recorded several pieces for a new LP that Important Records will release around late Spring 2010. The new pieces were created using only electric guitar and my effects. I’m working with a lot of new techniques and sounds that are very exciting to me. The new songs are a lot more percussive and rhythmic than my previous work, which has been a lot of fun to perform live, and I hope that people will enjoy listening to them on the record as well.
My favorite records of ‘09 were:
Evangelista – Prince of Truth
Talk Normal – Sugarland
Emeralds – What Happened
I also really enjoyed:
Jim O’Rourke – The Visitor
Sonic Youth – The Eternal
-- Dave Miller (10 February, 2010)