Boomkat Product Review:
The main maiden of modern plainchant delivers a more complex, emotionally ambiguous synth-framed sound to suitably heady effect...
“Julianna Barwick’s revelatory third full-length, 'Will', is a surprising left turn for the Brooklyn experimental artist. Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling 'Will' is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced 'Nepenthe'. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then the self-produced 'Will' is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.
The electric current that runs through 'Will' takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability: the orbiting chain of tones that wafts through “Nebula”, the frizzy sine waves lying under the firmament of “Same”, the haunting vocal echoes on opener “St. Apolonia” that were recorded late at night at a Lisbon train underpass, and the martial arpeggios that accompany 'Will’s processional closer “See, Know”.
Another new wrinkle that 'Will' introduces in Barwick’s sound: Mas Ysa’s Thomas Arsenault, who lends his richly complex vocals to “Same” and “Someway” and weaves perfectly into Barwick’s distinctive musical fabric. The album also features contributions from Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussion from Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly).
'Will' is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. “While making this record, there were moments of isolation and dark currents,” Barwick admits. “I like exploring that, and I love when I come across songs that sound scary or ominous. I’ve always been curious about what goes into making a song that way.” The beguiling, beautifully complicated 'Will' is the result of that curiosity, as well as the latest proof yet of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.”