The tracks on the NOVA ONE’s EP secret princess offer a remarkably different side to Roz Raskin than we have seen with The Rice Cakes for the past 10 years. More intent on simplicity, feel, and message, Raskin’s NOVA ONE strikes me as the songs written between Rice Cakes songs. The kind of songs written on a passing afternoon and left to sit in a notebook or linger as a simple chord progression on guitar until the right time.
NOVA ONE is less of a new project and more of a moment to breathe and become reacquainted with the songs made to wait. NOVA ONE is just a name put to a moment.
“The past few years have been super transitional for me in ways that felt really palpable,” says Raskin. “When are we not transitioning or changing to some extent, right? NOVA ONE is a project that has been in the works, unbeknownst to me in some ways, for a long time. My very first solo album under the name “Roz Raskin” that I released when I was 17 was very minimalist and I almost feel like secret princess is a response to that, over 10 years later.”
For secret princess, Raskin took on the role of curator, reimagining old and new work emotionally and spatially from where she is today as an artist. This process is one that Raskin enjoyed.
“I think it’s exciting to rework old material. Sometimes it’s pretty heart-wrenching, though,” Raskin says. “For example, a song called ‘Chores’ that’s on the EP was written years ago during a time I felt the loneliest I think I’ve ever felt. The intensity of the emotion still rings true to me, I feel it when I sing it. I tried it out in different projects over the years, reworked it, took parts out, put them back in, took them out again. I think it’s found its true home in this collection of songs. It just feels right.”
Aside from mixing, mastering, and engineering by Bradford Krieger and Chaimes Parker at Big Nice Studio, as well as some drum work by Casey Belisle, secret princess stands as a work unique to Raskin.
The three songs currently on the Community Records Bandcamp page prior to the EP’s release – “Your Girl,” “Where You Are,” and “If You Were Mine” – take a minimalist and almost delicate approach to songcraft. The sounds are washy, the approach kind of dream-like, and there is an ever-present fine line of “is-it-sarcasm-ism” in the lyrics. It’s like, as Raskin puts it, “drifting through the cosmos.”
NOVA ONE is authentic, timely, and outspoken in the most unpredictable ways.
“I think everything I do has an activist leans in some way or another,” says Raskin. “These songs to me are intersectionally feminist… [they] feel extremely radical to me, but maybe not in the most overt way.”
At the Columbus Theatre with Anjimile and Lookers on July 6