Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Julianna Barwick ~ The One-Woman Choir

Turn off the ADD for four minutes, and get sucked into the choral layers of "Prizewinning."

Known as the one-woman choir, Brooklyn native Julianna Barwick has been experimenting with sound ever since she discovered the loop pedal.  Her third album The Magic Place (released February 22nd on Asthmatic Kitty) is her most sophisticated work yet.  Rather than her usual homemade recordings, she was able to secure a space with instruments at hand, including a baby grand which comes up quite a bit on the full length.  The Magic Place is a lush and stunning ambient journey, perfect to play as your falling asleep if you're into weird dreams.

Barwick's love affair with reverb, layers, effects pedals and wordless vocalizations yields stunning results not unlike that of Asthmatic Kitty founder, Sufjan Stevens.  She reaches back to her church-singing roots and allows for a free-form experiment in sound to take place.  There is a sort of faith that happens when she begins her improvised harmonies as she never knows where they will go, and this spiritual, almost haunting presence lingers long after each song is complete. 

Alias Pail brings us a percussion heavy, loop happy remix of "Prizewinning," a feat I wasn't sure could be done tastefully.  This is one worthy of the turntables.

"Prizewinning (Alias Pail Remix)" - Julianna Barwick

In her own words, Julianna aims to create "that kind of decaying sound that rings in the architecture."  I must say, mission accomplished.

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