Track By Track: Cora Novoa – Fight Love Faith
The best albums are often those that have a certain driving force behind them, rather than just being a compilation of disjointed songs. While having a stream of top quality singles may work best revenue-wise, having a full album that has a particualr premise behind it can lead to something that makes for a much more pleasant listen as a whole product. That's exactly the sort of thing that Cora Novoa has done with her new album Fight Love Faith and we think she's done a rather good job. To celebrate the album's recent release, we asked Cora to talk us through it one track at a time – here's how she describes where it all came from;
"During the last 4 years, I have been dedicated to the exploration of certain universes that exercise a tremendous fascination on me, like Mythology, Alchemy, Astrology, Occult Symbolism or Hermeticism, and genius minds like Pythagoras or Piranesi. I alternated this immersion in books, engravings and art exhibitions with my work in the recording studio, aiming to translate this fascination into music. I wanted to tell a story, avoiding the most obvious forms of representation. I decided to leave hints and clues of the things I wanted to tell within the lyrics, the track listing or the samples, in such a way that the listeners could have the freedom to arrange the pieces at their will and interpret the story on their own. I love creative projects that require me to take that extra step, so this was a fundamental premise for this project."
The Roman god Janus, represented with a double-faced head, symbolizes that dualism we all have inside us, the same dualism that is a cornerstone of this album. This is an orchestral song that implied a lot of work. I wanted to combine chord and wind instruments with percussion and electronic sounds. The entire process became one of the most fulfilling challenges in the making of this album.
Transmutation feat. Tom Havelock
I love steamy songs with ethereal reverbs that make you enter an oneiric atmosphere. That’s why I intended with “Transmutation”. This alchemy concept was and still is one of the biggest mysteries of humankind. Transmutation consists in transforming a noble metal in gold and there is a myriad of legends and mysteries about it.
It was a tremendous pleasure to count with Tom Havelock for this song. Besides his unique voice and sensibility, he is a joy to work with. I love the musical project he has together with Marcus Efstratiou: Hook & The Twin.
Over & Done
This song talks about love, a finished love, a love we must wave good-bye, a love that has reached a point of no return, no matter what we do. Proving that less is always more, the song has a slow tempo but at the same time it’s full of super rich tones. I worked hard to manage each element to sound in its right place within the final mix. I often leave a few projects in stand-by, as I feel the need to take a certain perspective upon them.
One of the things I like most about this track is the change that takes place in the middle of the song. It’s a groovy track, probably the most suited club track in the album. 14 is my favorite number and it works as a talisman for me. The groovy bass was created with a Doppler Dark Energy. I really love to use this synth for certain details when I am composing. It’s rather complicated to tune it and manage to keep always the same tone, but that’s precisely the magic of analog synthesizers.
Thracian Heroes is an electronic track with a great pop influence. Working on the sampling for these voices was not an easy task but, no matter how difficult, I am very happy with the result. The Thracian tribes had many legends and mysteries that precede Greeks and Romans. The remains found in the excavations of Thracian sites are simply sensational.
I believe this is the most powerful track in the album. I worked on it during 4 or 6 months, as I found myself stuck in the final mixes, especially when trying to shape certain elements of its soundscape. In the middle of the song I change the tempo and redirect the track with a few ethnic tones that are perfect to play with in the Dj booth.
This hypnotic track is my attempt to represent Aether, also known as Quintessence, considered to be the fifth element after earth, water, fire and air. Many legends identify Quintessence as the philosopher’s stone or the elixir of life, only reachable once a high level of purity has been achieved through transmutation. Let us be clear that we are talking about metaphors here, in a symbolic way, which is the main beauty of alchemy from the ancient books to nowadays: beautiful mysteries and many puzzles to resolve.
Golden Apples feat. Sam Tucker
This is the track that best summarizes the many things I wanted to tell in this album. It talks about hope, about fighting for what you believe in, about believing in yourself, all of it within a hermetic frame, with a beautiful lyric that immerse the listener in the atmosphere and symbolic universe of Fight Love Faith.
For this song I counted with the vocal collaboration of the folk singer Sam Tucker. It was such a gift to be able to work with him, thanks to his amazing talent to bring the composition to a whole new level powered by his voice and his unique tones.
Besides symbolizing the winter and summer solstices, I have found great inspiration in the work of the Alchemist and Doctor Michael Maier. His book Atalanta Fugiens is a compilation of engravings, poems and musical pieces on Alchemy, and he was the first to transform the alchemy enigma into notes. Many of his 50 songs are Renaissance fugues that were like gas for me when I was creating the first and the last tracks of the album.
Fight Love Faith is out now via Seeking The Velvet.