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The Magic Place

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Editors’ Notes

Julianna Barwick’s music falls somewhere between the celestial, Zen-state sounds heard in elegant, lavender-scented day spas and the artful atmospherics of bands like Sigur Ros. A country girl turned Brooklynite, Barwick uses her carefully sequenced and looped vocals—sans lyrics—as instruments, layering and weaving beautiful compositions of reverb-dipped, cloud-like utterances that float and glide, rise and fall, ebb and flow. The album title refers to a childhood magical place: a tree in Barwick’s backyard. It's an apt banner under which these songs unfold. From the glacial circling of “Envelope” to the slightly sturdier, Bulgarian Women’s Choir–style “White Flag” and the voice-and-piano bliss of “Flown,” Barwick draws on her love of church hymnals and digital manipulation in making her uniquely intimate music. The loops are never mechanical or rote, and she never overreaches for grandiosity. The Magic Place is Julianna Barwick’s sweet spot.

Customer Reviews

Transportive and beautiful

What we receive from certain musical expressions depends on how we approach them and in what context we engage them. If the listener approaches Julianna Barwick with the same frame of mind as you would any other singer/songwriter, you may be sorely disappointed or even bored by the similitude of each composition. However, if you approach The Magic Place with a particular humility and and open belief in the power of wonder, you may find the layers of lush vocals, transportive and alive. I personally think this album is not only refreshingly good, but also an important contribution to a world overstimulated with noise.

Songs are hookless copies of eachother

Hmm, well, it's interesting, but it's the same aaah and oooh thing over and over again. There's not much solidity. This is not a bad thing, if it was restrained to a few songs, but having the whole album like this it makes it sound exactly the same, top to bottom. Just not very thrilling, not after 10 minutes.

Like a dream, under a waterfall, on your deathbed.

Imagine you were falling through the sky towards a ground that you weren't even sure existed, half-asleep, with the most painful and joyous memories occupying the dark halls of your mind, spinning like lights around your head, with church bells ringing somewhere in the distant past, echoing into your present state of abandon and fear and unknowing, and you will have a glimpse of what this album will do to you. Turn out the lights, put on a good pair of headphones, close your eyes and ignore the rest of the world, and most importantly, enjoy.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Louisiana-bred, Brooklyn-based recording artist Julianna Barwick crafts ethereal, largely wordless soundscapes, all of which are built around multiple loops and layers of her angelic voice. Barwick, who credits a rural, church choir upbringing for her unique sound, begins most tracks with a single phrase or refrain, then uses a loop station and the occasional piano or percussive instrument to build the song into a swirling mass of lush, ambient folk. She released her first two collections of songs,...
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The Magic Place, Julianna Barwick
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Customer Ratings