A note: This page concerns Joe Novelli's work as a composer of instrumental, cinematic music for both listeners and audiovisual applications. For info on Novell's work as a songwriter / solo artist, instrumentalist, producer, or with The Cloud Walls, please click on the appropriate menu link above. This site is in its formative stages, knee-high to a grasshopper, if you will. Information betwixt pages may be redundant, until they all get properly updated and whatnot. Thank you kindly.

The imagery of sound

Joe Novelli is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter, and bandleader, hailing from New York but currently living in Tucson, Arizona, in the American Southwest. Known for his genre-bending lapsteel guitar work, Novelli performs internationally with Nive & the Deer Children (Greenland/Europe), Orkesta Mendoza (Tucson, Arizona), and his own band The Cloud Walls. As with his playing, Novelli’s compositions are characterized by a wide sonic palette, drawing from most anything visually and emotively evocative … ambient soundscapes to dark country balladry, southwestern noir to cinematic indie folk. 

Novelli's first collection of instrumental, cinematic compositions, "Dance with the Death" was released in 2018 on the French record label Art Melodies, part of the Cézame Music Agency. For licensing and audiovisual sync inquiries, please contact Olivier Samouillan of Art Melodies. And, of course, the album is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, etc.

As for Novelli’s background, a youth of snow-swept hills, waterfalls, Chuck Berry, and Miles Davis gave way to an adulthood of perpetual touring throughout the states, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, and even the fjords of Greenland, passable only by helicopter and boat. This wandering life, its breadth and want for a sense of place, is at the heart of Novelli’s concept of music … the auditory and visual having become entirely inseparable, the imagery of sound.

Presently, the sun beaten paradise of Tucson has come to satisfy both Novelli’s musical aesthetic and his desire for a beloved home. There is something in the endless, cactus-strewn desert pastoral, harsh and full of danger, expansive and thoughtful. The Old Pueblo’s natural and cultural beauty provides a strangely perfect harmony to its raucous, haphazard jangle of music. Punk-fueled southwestern rock and roll pours out of cracks in a gangster hotel’s 100 year old windows. Haunting steel guitar waltzes over the drunken clamor of Tucson’s favorite dive bar. Mariachi horns blast from backyards and grocery store aisles. People in the desert are born artists, survivors … they live in color, a laid-back state of reckless abandon. As local legend Billy Sedlmayr says, Tucson Kills.

Waxing poetic on Tucson may seem tangential to a composer bio. But Tucson is exemplar of this sensory fusion that so informs Novelli’s composition … sound and image, people, space, noise, and silence. Trains roll by, snakes rattle, barflies write poetry. Stories happen.

Some kind words on Novelli’s music:
“Aching slide guitar” - HARP Magazine
“Serpentine” - My Old Kentucky Blog
“Breathtaking” - The Ithaca Journal
“Ghostly” - All Music Guide
“Southwestern gothic,” “Chilling slide guitar” - New York Music Daily