Gisela Fullà-Silvestre records as NOIA, meaning “girl” in Catalan. A sound designer by trade, NOIA launched her debut EP, Habits, in 2016. The EP reflected and refracted her myriad musical and cultural influences, drawing on the traditional music of her childhood in Barcelona, dancehall and tropicalia radio, R&B and soul, while the lyrics find inspiration in Cavafy, Olaf Stapledon and Byung Chul Han, to name a few. “NOIA is a reflection of all of my musical and artistic influences, but processed through my own voice,” says Gisela. “NOIA is who I am when no one’s looking.”
Gisela has spent the last few years in a creative shell, experimenting with new sounds and techniques; hence the title of her new EP, Crisàlida, a Catalan word for “cocoon.” Across the EP’s four tracks, NOIA unites the disparate styles of her musical heritage: traditional arias flutter atop left-field pop production, while lyrics float seamlessly from Catalan and Spanish to English. According to NOIA, the EP is a collage of emotion: “Waiting on someone to fill my own absences, heartbreak somehow for what didn’t happen but could have happened, feeling trapped in the city of New York.”
Written and recorded between Gisela’s bedroom studio in Brooklyn, New York, and a house in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, where she undertook an artist residency, Crisàlida explores new sonic territory for NOIA. She’s spent the past few years honing her voice, especially practicing the folk Catalan and Spanish singing traditions that backlit her youth. The result is a more lyrical approach to melody as illustrated on the EP’s opener ‘Ausencias,’ which could well be a Spanish traditional ballad, embellished with heavy sound design, and on ‘La Nit Ve Sola,’ a sprawling ambient cut based on a poem by Catalan poet Maria Merce Marçal. Elsewhere on the EP, NOIA revisits the glitchy and glittery pop that made her debut, Habits, so special: ‘Ciudad del Humo’ bubbles over with kinetic, maximalist production, and ‘Capricho de Seda’ combines an infinitely listenable pop hook with a driving Afro-Peruvian bassline and bolero-style approach to lyrics.
What emerges from Crisàlida is a confluence of cultures, fusing the traditional musical traditions of NOIA’s native country, along with her own intuitive approach to beat-making and pop songwriting. Crisàlida is out May 17, 2019 on Cascine.