Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Brooklyn one-woman choir Julianna Barwick makes ambrosial symphonies using just her voice and a loop pedal. With her church upbringing and punk rock attitude, Barwick recreates the rapture and warmth of a teeming mass of singers filling a cathedral’s roof via ample reverb, countless loops, and a heavenly voice that’s capable of everything from ambient whispers to ecstatic croons. Her six-song self-released EP, Florine, was given a push thanks to an exclusive digital release via eMusic’s label eMusic Selects. The album’s certainly ethereal–there’s maybe three words on the whole record you can make out–but its force is palpable. (Imagine the background singers from a Kate Bush or Sinead O’Connor track pushing themselves forward and rushing the stage at Death By Audio.) For album highlight “Bode” Barwick belts out slurring mass of sound that attacks every part of the spectrum–something somewhere between heaven and Panda Bear, or an art-punk version of Pure Moods. Here’s hoping her Kickstarter campaign to get this thing on pristine white vinyl works out.
What is this song about?
My songs are never about anything too literal. “Bode” feels a little celebratory to me. I’m kind of saying, towards the end, “Come on home.” Maybe subconsciously I was thinking about a reunion of some kind.
What is your favorite part about your own voice? Your least favorite part?
My favorite part is my range. I can hit some pretty darn low notes and some very high notes. It definitely helps with creating a layered, choral sound. My least favorite is my pitch, if that counts. I can be pretty off sometimes. I definitely don’t have perfect pitch and sometimes the notes don’t come out so pretty.
Tell me about the Kickstarter campaign. Why is it important to you that your music appear on vinyl?
I really like the Kickstarter template. You come up with an idea and it only works if people are into it and contribute, like a family affair of sorts. So now I’m trying to get a limited edition of 200 copies of the Florine EP on white vinyl. I just love records as objects. I like to hold them and look at them and pore over them. It’s kind of like reading the Sunday paper vs. reading it online. I’m pretty excited about it, you can tell.
When was the last time you went to church?
I went awhile back with my parents. It was very familiar. I love to sing next to my mom, all the hymns. It’s nice.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
That was hard, deciding between Dumont and Diner. Have to say Diner though.
Julianna Barwick plays Friday night at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University with Tim Hecker and Grouper as part of the Wordless Music series.
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