on 21 August 2013
This is a very special album.
For those not familiar with Juliana Barwick's work, she sings very softly and beautifully, layering her voice multiple times in harmony to create a choral effect. The image of a choir of angels springs to mind. Here she is accompanied by some minimal and tasteful instrumental backing. Don't get me wrong, though, this is not cheesy New Age music, with tinkling bells and cheap sounding synths. Far from it.
There are no lyrics in these songs, just her vocal tones creating the melodies and harmonies. Each track flows easily into the next with nothing to disturb the mood, allowing you to bathe deeply in the sweet purity of the vibes. The Wire magazine criticised the album for being too one-note and sentimental in mood, bemoaning the lack of 'edge' to mix things up, but I disagree strongly. Imho the inclusion of darker or edgier tracks would have spoilt the gentle overall atmosphere of the album.
Reminds me a bit of Riceboy Sleeps in its more celestial moments. And that's a good thing.
Transcendent musical purity from a very talented young artist who deserves your support. Don't hesitate - buy it!
on 12 September 2013
Julianna Barwick's music is rather unique. It is interesting enough to warrant really deep listening but also very capable of creating a nice ambient atmosphere. Fans of Eno's ambient work will probably appreciate it because of this. Comparisons to Eno are perhaps a little misleading though; Eno's Ambient series often feels very calculated (note this is no criticism, I love his work) whilst Nepenthe maintains an entirely more organic and 'flowing' feeling throughout. Julianna's voice is a great instrument and I find it very relaxing.
The vinyl record sleeve is beautiful. The ink is more vibrant than many of the images seen online - it really is a striking pink. The inner sleeve is printed with imagery of the sea which is quite nice. Unfortunately mine came with a small crease on the cardboard but that is just the sacrifice you make for having vinyl records delivered to your door. I should also mention that the vinyl album comes with a code which allows you to redeem a free download of the album in 320 bitrate MP3s! Just note that it states that the 'offer may expire at any time, so don't wait.' I doubt this will be a problem, but the website may go down in 10 years time or something.
on 6 March 2016
This is the first time i have listened to anything by Julianna Barwick,but i am so glad i did.This is a lush,beautiful album full of relaxing,ambient type tracks,that are quite different to other things i have heard.Ideal to relax to,or similar to other albums,to just leave on in the background.Brilliant and absorbing.