Structured to unfold like a dream, the debut album by NOIA combines an array of languages - Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, English - and traditional sounds from her childhood in southwestern Europe to process her personal transformations over the past two years while living between NYC and Barcelona.
Gisela Fullà-Silvestre formed the alias NOIA to create separation between her profession as a celebrated composer and mix engineer for film and TV, and her experimental pop productions. After graduating from Berklee in 2015, the Barcelona-bred artist relocated to Brooklyn and started writing music that channeled her early attachments to sound, which were formed osmotically as a child in the home of her activist parents. Shortly thereafter, she released her inaugural EP, Habits, which was a lush, romantic affair anchored by singles “Nostalgia Del Futuro” and “Itaca Tropical.” NOIA played shows across North America and Europe, and embedded herself deeply into NYC’s creative community. 2019 then saw the release of her second EP, Crisalida, a Catalan word for “cocoon,” that expanded on her international references to mine an increasingly leftfield palette. Dancehall and tropicalia radio fused with R&B and glitchy sound design to create an utterly placeless sonic world.
2023 is the year of NOIA’s debut album: gisela. Opening with entry-portal “anoche,” a traditional vidalita song is reinterpreted and set against field recordings of nighttime traffic in Brooklyn. As the song concludes, birds chirp and the listener sits upright in a world of swirling soundscapes, textures and floating melodies. The album then tumbles through a range of vignettes and emotions. Single “didn’t know,” featuring close friend Ela Minus, is an ode to Gisela’s dating misadventures in NYC. “reveal yourself” touches on pandemic-era romance and domestic magic. The feeling of being transformed by the embrace of a loved one while the world seems to be sinking around you. Song “eclipse de amor,” on which Gisela is joined by Buscabulla, unfolds over the course of a tropical night, to tragically end with a knife and bloodshed. The song is a romantic bolero duet - a tale of fiery love that consumes everyone involved. Other tracks explore themes of capitalist hustle culture, isolated companionship, friendship, optimism, struggling to find balance in work life and the eternal broken heart that immigrants have. Final song on the album, “estranha forma de vida,” sees Gisela grapple with her parents’ recent cancer diagnosis and the treatments they’re currently undergoing in Spain. The song draws down to a trickle of voice and guitar, bare and without reverb or effect. The dream ends with its protagonist naked and exposed, but alive to the light.
gisela was written and recorded between her studio in Brooklyn and her family’s home in Barcelona. Field recordings were also central to the creation process. Everywhere Gisela went, so did a recording device - dinners with friends, weekends in the park, voicemails, city sounds, nature ambiences. The resulting body of work is deeply autobiographical, yet instantly recognizable. The context uniquely NOIA’s, but the stuff of life visits us all. gisela will be released March 31 on Cascine.