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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!
Nepenthe (a potion designed to induce selective amnesia) nevertheless arrives shrouded by a death in Barwick's family and her choice of titles this time around - both tracks and album - clearly show her raw sorrow, existential self-questioning and sense of outright loss. Nepenthe then is a collection of necessarily reflective songs with sombre pacing, Barwick shifting her focus from ambient ethereality to neo-classical angelics in the process.
Personally invited to escape and record in Iceland by Sigur Rós colloborator Alex Somers and featuring string contributions from Amiina, as well as the full scope of a teenage choir, she and the frosty, elemental landscape immediately make for ideal bedfellows, Barwick frontloading the LP with her most emotional statements before disappearing into the more generally ambient and experimental.
That vocal of hers - looped and layered beyond recognition and lost somewhere between choral cooing and reverbed instrumentation - is given a workout straight from the off, her backing choir windblown from some crystalline ice-floe situated between dream and sleep, reverence and transcendence swelling to fill the ears and heart to their capacity.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For fans of dreamy ethereal soundscapes this is a stunning album and has a lot in common with bands like Sigur Ros although this has a more minimal feel to the overall structure. Read morePublished 4 days ago by STEVEN GODWIN
Fantastic LP, recently discovered Julianna and was blown away...Play on endless repeat.....Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
An improvement in production to her debut the Magic Place
With no pretensions Miss Barwick does what she does like no other