Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place (2011)


“The Magic Place" was a tree on our farm,” says Louisiana-raised Brooklynite Julianna Barwick. “It was in the back pasture. It was one tree that grew up, down and around. You had to crawl in and once you were inside, it was like there were different rooms, and you could actually lay in the branches. We named it 'The Magic Place' because it really was magical—especially for a kid... and that's how I feel about my life right now—without trying to sound too hippy dippy or cosmic, this year has definitely been a magical one.”

And so goes Julianna's Asthmatic Kitty Records debut, The Magic Place, a nine-piece full-length album of magic and solace, bursting joy and healing tones. Julianna's mostly-a-capella music is built from her voice multi-tracked through a loop station. There's more backing instrumentation on this one than on previous albums but it's the vocals—soaring high in reverb-drenched, wordless harmonies—that matter most here. It's the layered fragments and pieces that become an intricate pattern through technology; it's the sound of a rising thing, a big group harmony as a splash of sunlight through a car window, a sound that feels like hope and ascendance and patience and intimacy. (Pitchfork called her 2009 self-release, Florine, “bracingly intimate” as well as a runner-up for “album of the year,” giving it a glowing rating of 8.2. Her 2007 debut, Sanguine, is more of the same. Her sound, it appears, was born fully realized.)


Julianna Barwick
The Magic Place
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Envelop
2. Keep Up the Good Work
3. The Magic Place
4. Cloak
5. White Flag
6. Vow
7. Bob In Your Gait
8. Prizewinning
9. Flown

Music label: 
Asthmatic Kitty
United States
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)
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