Julianna Barwick (Ft. Jónsi) | In Light (single) | Ninja Tune
Single Release Date: 18 June, 2020
Album Release Date: 10 July, 2020
When it comes to the work of American musician Julianna Barwick, the terms “meditative” and “transcendental” often spring to mind – and with good reason. Barwick’s mesmerising prowess with textural composition, lush soundscapes and shimmering conceptual ambience is a notable aspect – and the way in which the multi-faceted artist generally approaches her creations is a fascinating process.
Barwick is well-known for her loving companionship with her loop station, which led the artist to delve into the world of experimental ambience by looping her vocalisations along with added washes and effects, to create highly unique textures on her own accord – leading her to venture forth into areas of improvisational collaborations as she continues to hone her skills.
In 2019, Barwick released her fourth album ‘Circumstance Synthesis’ which we reviewed, Barwick used a custom-coded program and A.I technology to create compositions for Manhattan hotel Sister City. After installing a camera facing the sky on the roof of the hotel, whenever movement was detected – it would trigger sounds that Barwick had compiled into a soundbank – creating the ambient experience in tandem with technology and nature.
With the release of her latest single titled ‘In Light’ – a rich, elegant collaboration with acclaimed Icelandic composer, Sigur Rós’ Jónsi – alongside an aesthetically outstanding video: the release of her forthcoming album ‘Healing Is A Miracle’ is highly anticipated, scheduled for July 10th via Ninja Tune.
From it’s very introduction, the esoteric beauty of ‘In Light‘ glistens as a halcyon, enchanting aurora: the gentle serenity of the tranquil ambience sings quiet and organic as Barwick‘s silken, echoic vocals flow in velveteen harmonies with Jónsi‘s soothing, radically soft companionship. Barwick and Jónsi’s delicate, melodious vocals take center stage as the idyllic essence of the slow, gradual swells of elegant ambience begin to sprout, the vocal dance between the two musicians gracious and fluid – the accompanying video capturing the striking sense of movement within the track, as it slowly but gracefully progresses as new layers of electronic textures and cascading harmonies greet listeners.
A low heartbeat moves in as carelessly and untroubled as the tide laps at the shore day after day, percussive claps and a careful yet driven beat dancing in tandem with Barwick’s angelic vocal harmonies, a now one-person choir in a dazzling wall of sound. Drizzling electronics and the pleasant chirps of natural ambience – water, birds – allows for a moment of calm, segueing kindly into layers upon layers of calmly breathing synths and reverberating vocals, the track finding a place within one’s chest and curling up in each heartbeat as an astonishing ball of light.
If ‘In Light‘ is anything to go by regarding what to expect of Julianna Barwick’s forthcoming album, our anticipation lies in a meditative journey of growth, natural and organic movement, a striking appreciation for the small details around us and of course, an innate sense of healing.
Rating: 9 / 10
Feature Image: Julianna Barwick by Jen Medina