A record of self-actualization and self-discovery, NOGA’s ‘The Alchemist’ EP is an excitingly expressive journey of cathartic untangling: Of inner reckoning and resolve, passion and purpose, hope, drive, and acceptance.
for fans of Mazzy Star, Hand Habits, Angel Olsen, Big Thief
Stream: ‘The Alchemist’ – Noga
A record of self-actualization and self-discovery, NOGA’s new EP is an excitingly expressive journey of cathartic untangling: Of inner reckoning and resolve, passion and purpose, hope, drive, and acceptance. Intimate and immersive, blending reality with dreams, light with darkness, The Alchemist delves into the depths of self and comes out the other side with dynamic wonder and a radiant lust for life.
It’s a reminder for us to focus not on the end goal, but the journey as a whole – and to embrace the roads we take and the moves we make to get wherever it is we’re going.
Over the hills and way past the willows
Under stones unturned inside bones of a dead man
Searching for power, that long ago was stolen
A current is driving so fast that the trees are all a blur
On the way to the country a beautiful day
I looked out the window at nothing in particular
As I rediscover what I already knew
The treasures buries right inside of you
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering NOGA’s second EP The Alchemist, independently releasing this Friday, July 30, 2021. The musical moniker for New York singer/songwriter Noga Shefi – whose previous credits include playing bass on tour with Cass McCombs and Renata Zeiguer, her EP Mutual Heart Vibes and debut album Calla Lily (neither of which is available on streaming services) – The Alchemist is the artist’s first moment, in years, of stepping out into the spotlight with her own words, her own voice, and her own vision.
Inspired “in part” by Paulo Coelho’s mysticist novel of the same name, The Alchemist tracks NOGA’s personal deep dive into her own stasis; its four songs see her leaning into herself and finding movement once again. Recorded at Manhattan’s The Relic Room with Scott Colberg on bass and guitar, Jason Nazary on Drums, and Frank LoCrasto on piano and synths (with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier mixing and mastering), the EP brings full attention to the artist and this adventure into her own vulnerabilities: “In the novel The Alchemist, the protagonist is made to take on a great quest spanning years and continents,” NOGA’s PR team explains. “It is not just about chasing dreams, but about the refinement of the alchemist’s skill and ability to turn something worthless into gold.”
Between “The Alchemist,” “Any Kind of Dream,” “Special Friend,” and “Tides,” there is plenty of gold to go around. The EP opens with an introspective exploration of anxiety and lessons learned in the title track. NOGA goes on to fill our ears with sonic delight in the gentle, glistening “Any Kind of Dream” as she slowly accepts the idea of letting go in order to move onward, upward, and (hopefully) forward. The hot-on-the-mic “Special Friend” blends Radiohead-like chord changes and psychedelic timbres with an appreciative story of humility and connection. EP closer “Tides” may come off as the most turbulent of the four songs – its guitar solo is as sweet a ride as it is a meaningful release of tension and angst – but it’s also the most tender and beautiful of the EP’s four songs, finding NOGA reach an emotional climax that brings the volatility she’s buried inside to life with dazzling might and power.
“The winter of 2020 was the end of a few very intensive years for me, full of touring, traveling, and doing the New York thing,” Shefi tells Atwood Magazine. “As a way to escape the brutal winter in the city, I flew to Israel (my homeland), rented out a place up north, and sat down to write. I didn’t know what would come out if anything at all. I just needed time and space to let the songs out. (and maybe also – I mostly kept it to myself except for an occasional coffee and cigarette with a friendly and insistent neighbor. It was the perfect environment for me at the time, winters in Israel are really great)?”
“My favorite song is probably ‘The Alchemist’ because of its steady windshield wiper vibes, you could drive along to.”
Comparable to contemporaries like Hand Habits, Julien Baker, and Angel Olsen, NOGA creates a world of emotional chaos and catharsis through her music. Turbulent yet soothing all at once, The Alchemist is a worthwhile listen for fans of alt-folk and alt-rock alike – not to mention anyone going through their own unrest.
Stream NOGA’s The Alchemist exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
Stream: ‘The Alchemist’ – NOGA
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📸 © Sarah Fosco
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