Under Review

Julianna Barwick

The Magic Place

Asthmatic Kitty

Review By Alec J. Ross


The Magic Place
For anyone who firmly believes that good music does not have to include clear vocals, this is a great album. The Magic Place, Julianna Barwick’s latest album, is a spectacular display of what is possible with just your voice and a ear for minimalism. Her music is impressive, unique and includes hardly any discernible lyrics. Barwick uses her own voice as the groundwork for her composition and layers the sound with more and more vocal loops until you forget the one track that started it all.

Barwick’s latest release, although still relying on the looping of her voice, is much more drawn out than her previous EP Florine. Barwick’s intentional vocal expansion paints a vocal landscape that shows strong similarities to her earlier efforts, but is in its own distinct class of ambient music. Through the natural progression of the songs, the listener can truly learn to appreciate the subtle nuances that make The Magic Place such a great listen. Barwick creates an environment full of wonder by carefully blending high-pitched vocals with repetitive choral loops and daunting synths on “The Magic Place.” Meanwhile, “Cloak” focuses on Barwick’s signature vocal loops, but to stand apart from its predecessor, Barwick adds subtle piano tones that leaves the listener in a haunted, yet happy position.

The Magic Place is both a step away from traditional ambient music, while remaining a daring endeavor into the genre. The album definitely deserves praise for its creativity, as well as its quality.