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, the full-length Sanguine and the EP Florine, in 2009 and 2010, respectively, before issuing her Asthmatic Kitty debut, Magic Place, in 2011. Barwick kept busy in the time between her proper albums with various collaborations and smaller releases. In addition to remixing a Radiohead track, she collaborated with Ikue Mori on an entirely improvised album, did guest appearances on various friends' albums, and formed the duo Ombre with Helado Negro, releasing the collaborative album Believe You Me in 2012. A 7" single, Pacing, preceded her third proper solo album, 2013's Nepenthe, which she recorded with producer Alex Somers at Sigur Rós' studio Sundlaugin in Reykjavík. She followed it with a spate of unique projects, including 2014's Rosabi EP, a collaboration with Dogfish Head Brewery that incorporated recordings of the brewery into its pieces, and live collaborations with Yoko Ono, Philip Glass, and the Flaming Lips in 2015. Meanwhile, she recorded her fourth album in such distinct locations as Asheville, North Carolina; upstate New York; and Lisbon, Portugal. The results were 2016's Will, which also featured Mas Ysa's Thomas Arsenault, Dutch cellist Maarten Vos, and Chairlift drummer Jamie Ingalls. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi