In the two years since the acclaimed release of Fantastic Planet gently pushed Sarah Lipstate further out to a global audience, she has continued to service her Noveller project with a characteristic hard-grafting mix of sociability and solitary exploration. This has meant touring extensively as a somewhat unexpected support act for Iggy Pop; overseeing the welcome reissue of 2011’s Glacial Glow and 2013’s No Dreams LPs via Fire Records; and meticulously forging a sequel to Fantastic Planet in the shape of A Pink Sunset For No One. The album finds Lipstate moving away a little from the iridescent neon-lit shades of Fantastic Planet into darker yet warmer soundscapes.
Stretching her already very malleable solo electric guitar work, through expansive effects pedal manipulations and scrupulous studio layering but with few sonic add-ons, A Pink Sunset For No One finds Lipstate casting the Noveller net into wider vistas whilst retaining custom-built intimacy. The opening “Deep Shelter” acts as a fine introductory suite, moving glacially through otherworldly landscapes similarly envisaged on Fripp & Eno’s No Pussyfooting and Ashra’s New Age Of Earth. Even better is the remarkably lovely “Rituals”, which weaves in ululating female vocal samples amongst intensively rippling and shimmering six-strings that imagine a lost Vini Reilly remix of early-Spiritualized.
From thereon in, the record glides along with assured gravitas and grace. Veering through the tender as well as foreboding undulations of the title-track; the ornate orchestrations of “Lone Victory Tonight”; the chiming and twinkling Land Observations-like pirouetting of “Trails And Trials”; the pulsing and prowling nocturne of “Another Dark Hour”; the elegant baroque-meets-sci-fi collaging of “Corridors”; the minimalistic ambience of “The Unveiling”; and the stalking Tangerine Dream-tinged finale of “Emergence”.
As with Fantastic Planet and its predecessors, Noveller’s soundworld on A Pink Sunset For No One still takes plenty of repeat acclimatising visits before it lets you settle in properly. It can be a little claustrophobic in places but its balmier environs confer a serenity that provides some welcome respite in these turbulent times. A bravely uncompromising yet often richly rewarding affair all told.