Do I Have to Feel Everything is the third album from Sara Noelle and its ambient electro-organic dreamscape allow all the tracks to share a common sense of weightlessness. Chords are suspended like dust in sunlight, gentle arpeggios drift passed and Noelle’s voice swirls around everything steeped in reverb. These are songs that feel like they bypass your ears and are beamed directly into your brain.
The track ‘Slip Away’ is a great exemplar of the album. Effortless and ethereal throughout and with a small, but perfectly formed hook, that underpins the chorus. Noelle says of the track: “This was written during winter in New Mexico, next to a window that let me take in the vastness of the sky and the light on the snow. This could be a love song, or not, it depends on how you listen.”
The tracks on the album are like coming across a group of rockpools by the sea; each one is a microcosm of the whole but each contain their own unique character. There’s the field recording twinkle of ‘Dust Clouds’, the elongated invocation of ‘Hum’ and ‘I Could’, or the inner glow of ‘Phosphorescence’. Live and electronic drums and percussion add gentle crunch on songs like ‘Blooming Yucca’ and the title track, like croutons in soup, and the electronic washes and pulses keep the whole album buoyant and at body temperature giving the feeling of a flotation tank.
Opening track ‘Blooming Yucca’ (video below) bubbles with bass and drums and floats on spaced out piano and voices. Noelle says: “I wrote this song after a long desert drive in the summer — where the temperature and the endless road almost warps your perception of the landscape and of your own mind — the sky changes sometimes rapidly from dust clouds in the distance to bright sun to heavy rain. The one constant were the hundreds of yuccas, many in bloom, that lined the road, seen as dots in the expanse past my window.”
Sara Noelle has created a feeling as much as an album. She has been able to distil everything from the smallest moments to the widest vistas. She can interpret the gentle narration of a desert breeze as adeptly as she can a sweeping landscape, and these musical watercolours are entrancing in their capacity to lower the pulse and wrap you up in a blissful embrace.
Sara Noelle also edits the literary journal Lyrics as Poetry which just released its fourth print edition featuring 28 artists and 20 writers/journalists.
Review by Paul F Cook