Premiere: “Ausencias” by Barcelona’s NOIA

Impossibly soft vocals echo over rhythms that fluctuate between delicate and harsh  in NOIA’s first single, “Ausencias,” released by NYC label Cascine. “Ausencias” (Spanish for “absence”), is the opening track on the Barcelona native’s new EP Crisalida which translates to “chrysalis.”

Not coincidentally then that she in wrote the EP while in a transitional state both physically and emotionally. NOIA is quoted as saying that she wrote the album while “Waiting on someone to fill my own absences” and “feeling trapped in the city of New York.”  She wrote the album while splitting her time between her Brooklyn apartment, where she lived, and the Appalachian mountains, where she stayed for an art residency.

The lightness of “Ausencias” possesses an airy sound design at times almost sounding like chirping birds. A clear soprano voice cuts in in sudden and unexpected ways throughout the song by loud cracks. Perhaps this is a conscious awareness of the very real differences she was experiencing between urban and rural life during the creation of the EP.

Crisalida, as the title would suggest, unfolds giving the feeling of being inside something that is slowly cracking, breaking, and taking form at the same time. NOIA asks in the opening line of “Ausencias”: “Do I want you or do I want to be you?” She takes on a folk-inspired whimsical tone that beckons back to her early years as a child growing up in Spain listening to Catalan and Spanish folk singers. The rest of the song is sung in a beautiful blend of Catalan and Spanish.

NOIA finishes “Ausencias” in the same way she started using the same lyrics and the same sound design but leaving the listener in a completely different place.

—Jessica Perez

Listen now to “Ausencias” by NOIA

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