Julianna Barwick

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new album "The Magic Place" is streaming on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/13/133621452/first-listen-julianna-barwick-the-magic-place

it actually has some instrumentation on it instead of just vocal loops, but sounds pretty similar to her other stuff

I think she has been compared to Grouper on other ILX threads to listen if you like Grouper

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 17 February 2011 12:16 (ten years ago) link

she basically does layers of (wordless?) reverby vocal loops that end up sounding really dreamy and amazing

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 17 February 2011 12:18 (ten years ago) link

there's a really great bootleg of her playing in brooklyn a few years ago, floating around, doing things that i don't recognise from either of the EPs. more guitarry, and yeah maybe grouper-esque, although way lighter.

curious to hear the record; i think seeing that it's on asthmatic kitty somehow lessened my anticipation of it, as if it'd come out all cloying and sweet.

schlump, Thursday, 17 February 2011 12:36 (ten years ago) link

Thanks for posting this! This is #1 on my anticipated albums for 2011.

Pisle of dogs (seandalai), Thursday, 17 February 2011 15:26 (ten years ago) link

I need to hear this.

Rich Lolwry (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 February 2011 15:27 (ten years ago) link

Can't stop thinking of USMILEAMBIENT.mp3 though.

Pisle of dogs (seandalai), Thursday, 17 February 2011 15:30 (ten years ago) link


flopson, Sunday, 20 February 2011 20:42 (ten years ago) link

the title song is beautiful. angelic, even

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 20 February 2011 23:04 (ten years ago) link

Can't stop thinking of USMILEAMBIENT.mp3 though.

A feature, not a bug. Sunlight, Heaven sounds a lot like Eno to me too.

Féile Kuti (ecuador_with_a_c), Sunday, 20 February 2011 23:27 (ten years ago) link

I had a Barwick epiphany the other day listening to prizewinning. This is a fucking amazing album.

Damo Suzuki's Parrot, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:26 (ten years ago) link

Diplo described it as sounding like "carebears making love" but don't let that put you off, this is far more nuanced, intersting and striking than that horrible metaphor suggests

o0o00h really? (boxedjoy), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 22:44 (ten years ago) link

"carebears making love"


Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 22:45 (ten years ago) link

i think seeing that it's on asthmatic kitty somehow lessened my anticipation of it, as if it'd come out all cloying and sweet.

yes-- starting to get into this one, though... i see the grouper thing but not nearly as dark & swampy, more in the clouds.

Damn this thread seems so....different without ilxor (ilxor), Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:29 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Okay, this album is fantastic.

ka£ka (NickB), Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:36 (ten years ago) link

I see the Grouper comparison, but this is making think of Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares too.

ka£ka (NickB), Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:56 (ten years ago) link

This is still brilliant, I thought there would be a bit more excitement around this. It makes me think of specific moments of the last Stars Of The Lid album, but whereas that sounded a little bit "movie soundtrack moment" this seems so much less clinical and considered in its approach. "Cloak" might be the best thing I've heard all year, with vocal loops sounding like they're falling down a well only to be pulled back up by a rich piano melody.

o0o00h really? (boxedjoy), Thursday, 7 April 2011 00:26 (ten years ago) link

i've enjoyed this album the couple times i've streamed online (NPR and someplace else) but this is the kinda record that really cries out to be heard in CD quality on proper headphones. need to pick up a retail copy...

hey ilxor, thanks for contributing, glad you stopped by (ilxor), Thursday, 7 April 2011 14:00 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

So this is still amazing

ha ha ha ha jack my swag (boxedjoy), Thursday, 3 November 2011 22:38 (nine years ago) link

Possibly still my favourite JB song:


fun drive (seandalai), Thursday, 3 November 2011 22:51 (nine years ago) link

two months pass...

Holy shit, this album is really something else. Completely slept on this (until it came up in the "related artists" links from the Colin Stetson album that placed in the EOY list)

This is some serious old school 4AD Bulgarian Voices / Dead Can Dance style atmospherics, completely stunning.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Thursday, 2 February 2012 13:09 (nine years ago) link

Yes, yes it is!

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Thursday, 2 February 2012 13:13 (nine years ago) link

I want to know what kind of reverb she uses, or if she just records everything inside the dreaming spire of an ornate medieval cathedral made entirely from ice crystals and unicorn horn?

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Thursday, 2 February 2012 13:27 (nine years ago) link


^ You can peak at some of her set-up here

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Thursday, 2 February 2012 13:40 (nine years ago) link

also bonus points for Sting - Bring On The Night t-shirt

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Thursday, 2 February 2012 13:41 (nine years ago) link

I love how GarageBand has become, like, the new 4-track for the generation below mine. All those bedroom weirdoes who used to record 4AD style baroque stuff in their bedrooms on wonky old Yamaha MT100-IIs are now doing the same thing in GarageBand, there's something reassuring about that, the technology gets better but the bedroom innovation stays the same.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 15:17 (nine years ago) link

It also makes sense that she learned to sing in a church auditorium - that completely makes sense with the kind of reverb that she uses.

LOL @ Greenpoint, though. I think I've walked past that block when I used to live near there, but perhaps most of that part of Brooklyn looks alike.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 15:24 (nine years ago) link

good old sp404. looks like she's just using it for effects? it does have a surprisingly nice reverb.

is 'prizewinning' the only song with drums on the record?

the third kind of dubstep (Jordan), Friday, 3 February 2012 15:55 (nine years ago) link

could be wrong, but i think so. certainly the most overt use of drums is on that one song

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 16:04 (nine years ago) link

Vow does a similar trick of introducing another instrument halfway through when that (upright?) bass comes in

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 16:05 (nine years ago) link

It's shit like this that makes me wish I hadn't sold my Boss RC pedal :-( :-(

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Friday, 3 February 2012 17:13 (nine years ago) link

omg this album

it's like sitting on your own in a deserted cathedral and hearing a choir practice in the distance, with added strange effects

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Friday, 3 February 2012 18:28 (nine years ago) link

so devotional and rapt

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Friday, 3 February 2012 18:28 (nine years ago) link

Yes! The devotional aspect spot on. Every time I hear it, it completely captivates me.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 19:28 (nine years ago) link

needs more rhythm

the third kind of dubstep (Jordan), Friday, 3 February 2012 19:34 (nine years ago) link

Nah I like that it's SAW II not SAW85-92. Rhythm would be a distraction.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 19:37 (nine years ago) link

diplo :((((((((((((((((((((((((

RYVITA® (Lamp), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:09 (nine years ago) link

yeah uh no

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:21 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, I don't know about those remixes, at all. Especially Prizewinning, which is just such a devastatingly amazing tune, really felt like - why bother? I guess based on Prizewinning, I wouldn't mind if she added more drums to her work. But the beats on those remixes just seem really grafted on in an unnecessary way.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:24 (nine years ago) link


(of course he has a co-producer)

the third kind of dubstep (Jordan), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:30 (nine years ago) link

I don't think any other music this year has put such vivid images in my head. Sorry if this sounds really corny but mostly I picture cold rural meadows early in the morning with the sun breaking through the mist,or there's other songs where it sounds like the voices of ghosts on top the mountains with the wind just whistling over the boulders and through the shredded prayer flags, and then there's those parts where the voices keep rolling on and on like waves breaking just off the beach, and then again there's that whole african choral vibe and I dunno - it's good music for just letting your mind wander around in and I kind of think that too many beats would distract from that.

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:35 (nine years ago) link

This is a nice performance btw though not much of a video:


Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:37 (nine years ago) link

One thing that the album reminds me of a bit:


Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:44 (nine years ago) link

I think what I was trying to get at with my gibbering is that for such bedroom music, it really evokes big wide open spaces.

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 22:47 (nine years ago) link

I was saying more, "made in a bedroom" rather than "it sounds like a bedroom" - because it really doesn't sound like a bedroom. It's that immense reverb that gives it that sweeping sense of space, cathedrals, halls, echoing mountaintops. It's weird seeing her making music in such a tiny enclosed room, because it sounds so designed for huge, sweeping spaces.

Drexciya's Midnight Runners (Wheal Dream), Friday, 3 February 2012 23:35 (nine years ago) link

Oh yeah, I wasn't disagreeing with you at all.

Phibes Kartel (NickB), Friday, 3 February 2012 23:49 (nine years ago) link

Seeing her do her thing live is incredible: like, it's not just a triumph of craft but a triumph of vision, her ability to harmonise with and work loops based on her own voice, to make something that sounds so fully-formed and evocative and rich.

boxedjoy, Saturday, 4 February 2012 01:00 (nine years ago) link

Beautiful. Had it in all last night while cooking a fish curry. Just purely wonderful.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Saturday, 4 February 2012 10:54 (nine years ago) link

seven months pass...

Anyone else enjoying the Ombre album? "A modern avant pop masterpiece" says your man in The Wire, probably an overstatement but it is very pretty.


atari era stylings of (seandalai), Friday, 14 September 2012 02:47 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

She released a new song! Don't know how to embed yet so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFBXBfx7o5c

Van Horn Street, Friday, 8 February 2013 18:12 (eight years ago) link

Good stuff

monster_xero, Sunday, 10 February 2013 02:58 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

This is nice:


New album out soon...going to see her in London on Tuesday, will hopefully be a good time.

high inerja (seandalai), Wednesday, 12 June 2013 20:39 (seven years ago) link

Live show was amazing last time around - managed to make a dingy little basement bar sound like a cathedral.

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 June 2013 22:04 (seven years ago) link

She's so good live. Just beautiful

sonderborg, Thursday, 13 June 2013 06:34 (seven years ago) link

coming to chicago in sept!

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 13 June 2013 12:54 (seven years ago) link

Anyone interested in going to the London show on Tuesday? I might have a spare ticket or two.

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Thursday, 13 June 2013 12:57 (seven years ago) link

holy heck, that new song is beautiful. i don't know what is is about those voices singing the high notes but they seemed pitched specifically to set off my blub reflex

dschinghis kraan (NickB), Thursday, 13 June 2013 13:05 (seven years ago) link

ach, that music is to my lachrymal glands what limes are to my saliva ducts. anyway, well done on making an old man cry. good job

dschinghis kraan (NickB), Thursday, 13 June 2013 13:16 (seven years ago) link

aiiee, patten is the support act in london, which seems like a weird one but fuck, i do love patten

dschinghis kraan (NickB), Thursday, 13 June 2013 13:22 (seven years ago) link

dog latin, are you going to this yourself? FAP?

high inerja (seandalai), Sunday, 16 June 2013 20:19 (seven years ago) link

yeah i'm def going - won tickets through work but don't have anyone who can make it so would be good to meet up.

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Sunday, 16 June 2013 23:47 (seven years ago) link

Cool - maybe I can ILXmail you to arrange something?

high inerja (seandalai), Monday, 17 June 2013 15:17 (seven years ago) link

yeah dog latin at gee mail dot com

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Monday, 17 June 2013 15:21 (seven years ago) link

Really enjoyed this! Also fun to meet up with a dog latin.

Someone has put the whole show up on YouTube:


high inerja (seandalai), Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:22 (seven years ago) link

Oh cool. Yeah, nice to meet you seandalai - I'll let you know if ever I'm in Cambridge.

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Thursday, 20 June 2013 15:01 (seven years ago) link

new album is pretty lovely

monotony, Thursday, 27 June 2013 10:17 (seven years ago) link

this is one is pretty special

Number None, Saturday, 29 June 2013 23:14 (seven years ago) link

saw her open for the flaming lips, here in new jersey. she was great, but the crowd were really disrespectful and there were some sound issues at the start. but apart from that, she was amazing.

super fast shipping. would do business with again a+++

BringTheAuBonPain, Saturday, 29 June 2013 23:38 (seven years ago) link

The Magic Place > Nepenthe. "Pyrrhic" is... interesting. The rest is really good though.

boxedjoy, Monday, 1 July 2013 23:31 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...
two weeks pass...

new one sounds like julianna barwick

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 22 August 2013 19:57 (seven years ago) link

Nepenthe is truly fantastic.

Van Horn Street, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:31 (seven years ago) link

Heard it once, another ravishing listen imo.

i'll be your mraz (NickB), Wednesday, 28 August 2013 18:01 (seven years ago) link

Listened last night, liked. Don't really remember much about it cause of insomnia pain & booze but it made enough of an impression that it'll go into rotation.

rooibos in disguise (wins), Wednesday, 28 August 2013 18:07 (seven years ago) link

ja this is good

Henry Charles Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Br (seandalai), Wednesday, 28 August 2013 18:08 (seven years ago) link

Kinda surprised there isn't more talk about it.

The last ~minute or so of "The Harbinger" is so beautiful that it basically makes me never want to listen to music again.

john. a resident of chicago., Wednesday, 28 August 2013 18:13 (seven years ago) link

The cat noises in Pyrrhic, though.

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 22:23 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

>Kinda surprised there isn't more talk about it.

me too. Beautiful album.

But Florine definitely won me.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Sunday, 15 December 2013 22:15 (seven years ago) link

Saw her live at the Southbank Centre a few months ago, and I was quite surprised by how laid-back and friendly and, well, goofy she was! Because her music suggests some shy, ethereal being, but she was funny and warm. Lex told me she had a new album out this year, but I still haven't managed to hear it; must make more of an effort to.

Branwell Bell, Sunday, 15 December 2013 22:45 (seven years ago) link

She seemed goofy (in a good way) in this interview too http://www.popmatters.com/feature/175284-unknown-discoveries-an-interview-with-julianna-barwick/

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:06 (seven years ago) link

love her & nepenthe. easily one of my 2013 favorites (though, yeah, i still prefer the magic placce). perhaps the absence of discussion is due to the abstract nature of her music. we mention the evocative beauty in general terms, but everything past that is personal, inchoate.

CANONICAL artists, etc., etc. (contenderizer), Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:43 (seven years ago) link

two months pass...


death and darkness and other night kinda shit (crüt), Tuesday, 18 February 2014 22:39 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...
one year passes...

new one is really good, definitely preferring it to nepenthe. very cocteau twins i think?

real orgone kid (NickB), Friday, 6 May 2016 23:11 (four years ago) link

Nobody is ever going to be surprised by a Julianna Barwick album but this is pretty sweet on a first listen

tay.ai fan (seandalai), Friday, 6 May 2016 23:50 (four years ago) link

I wasn't feeling this one as much. Obviously she uses technology to make her music but this one doesn't feel as organic or natural as the last two. Still an 8/10 and probably better than a lot of stuff I'll hear this year

boxedjoy, Sunday, 8 May 2016 07:38 (four years ago) link

New one has beautiful moments. And I think it can grow on me more

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Tuesday, 17 May 2016 02:55 (four years ago) link

it's obviously got a lot less of the earthy folk vibe, but i think it's quite reminiscent of the le mystere des voix bulgares records

real orgone kid (NickB), Tuesday, 17 May 2016 11:01 (four years ago) link

I've not really engaged much with her before but the new one is amazing.

Matt DC, Sunday, 29 May 2016 09:52 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

New one's pretty great. After having my hopes raised by the return of the Magic Place font.

geoffreyess, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 13:02 (nine months ago) link

God, this is gorgeous stuff. "Oh, Memory" with Mary Lattimore's harp and the strings on "Safe" are particularly sublime. The title track, too, is one to get lost in.

Indexed, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 14:42 (nine months ago) link

Today I learned that Ninja Tune still exists.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 15:24 (nine months ago) link

I've been deeply enjoying this new one

winters (josh), Saturday, 18 July 2020 05:13 (eight months ago) link

some parts of this are as lovely as ever but it has a widescreen cinematic quality that does a lot less for me. Listening to The Magic Place felt like stumbling into something intimate and private despite its gargantuan sound, whereas a lot of this just sounds like big soundtrack music

boxedjoy, Saturday, 18 July 2020 07:15 (eight months ago) link

six months pass...

The first three songs on Healing Is a Miracle have stayed with me all year. They will pop up on random playlists and everything around me just shuts down. I particularly love the mix of light and heavy textures on this one. The bass can be enveloping.

Indexed, Monday, 18 January 2021 16:56 (two months ago) link


and what's wrong with that

the album is nice and I really needed it last year

Left, Monday, 18 January 2021 19:00 (two months ago) link

and probably this year

Left, Monday, 18 January 2021 19:01 (two months ago) link

yeah, this was a major record for me last year -- definitely a top favorite

winters (josh), Monday, 18 January 2021 19:05 (two months ago) link

I always enjoy a new album, but to be honest it gets hard to tell them apart.

Turns out that what I really needed was JB + ~~~~flute vibes~~~~


timber euros (seandalai), Monday, 18 January 2021 22:42 (two months ago) link

The three collaborations on this one (especially Oh Memory w/ Mary Lattimore) + the fulsome lower register made this one stand out from the rest of her catalog for me. Probably still reach for Nepenthe most of the time, though.

Indexed, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 16:51 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

Healing is a Miracle has crept up as probably my favorite record from 2020, as Indexed notes when a track from it comes on the whole world seems to red shift into prehistory. The adjacency to Grouper, so close but also so different, makes me think of the future as a catalog with no gaps.

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:06 (one week ago) link

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