Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A short lackluster outing between two drone guitar explorers. Noveller is the project of an uber-cute "filmmaker" (hot sure if she has any actual films to her credit) named Sarah Lipstate and she boasts a previous album on Carlos Giffoni's No fun label. Her side is comprised of two pieces, both of which are centered around simpled delayed guitar treatments that are sampled and spun around on themselves to create a simplistic circular effect. The odd thing is that these pieces never really evolve or change, they just hang around and do the same thing over and over and over. To some this may be the very definition of drone but the best examples of the genre are actually those pieces that slowly and gradually change over their course, doing so so slowly and glacially that they soothe the listener into a feeling of numbness and calm. Noveller's pieces come nowhere near that, instead choosing to use a second overdubbed (or sampled) guitar to suggest the chord changes and thereby alter the mood of the two pieces presented. It's simple drone 101 and not very effective and i wonder why this girl is getting so much attention for her recordings. Maybe time will prove me wrong but this is pretty unengaging, obvious material.
Aidan Baker's side fares a little better but considering his vast discography in this arena it's hard to credit him with anything other than a simple pass for this recording. A single 20 minute piece of gentle guitar feedback is turned in, resulting in a slow-burn demonstration of delay euphoria, one chord stretched to its absolute limits before it begins to break apart. Baker's piece is very calming and meditative but lacks any sort of real presence or personality; his contribution instead wanders aimlessly for 20 or so minutes without going anywhere of note, serving only to massage the listener lightly without working out any real knots.
Perhaps both artists felt limited by the time constraints of the 12" format-having written before about the limitations this spectrum places on the true headspinners i can see how both artists would feel compelled to turn in half-assed tracks for fear of abandoning larger, more worthy ideas to the appetite of wax-but perhaps this is simply a cash-in trading in on an established name (Baker) and one that is seeing a lot of positive press (Lipstate). I fear the latter, as Baker has certainly reached deeper zen states with his drone recordings, and Lipstate is an unproven entity (granted, i've only heard bits and fragments of her No Fun album) with little to her credit aside from assorted rumblings. The end result is a decent enough slab of quiet, but nothing coming close to having an identity of its own.

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