Review: Julianna Barwick - "The Magic Place"

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Julianna Barwick

The Magic Place

By Danny

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I don't often find good enough reasons to force my musical opinion on others, but lately I've been listening to an album that's made me feel inspired enough to have to share it, like for show and tell when I was in 3rd grade.  

The album is called The Magic Place by Julianna Barwick, out on Asthmatic Kitty (Sufjan Stevens' label). It's received some great critical and hip reviews lately - it's just that good. It sounds like music that came straight from this woman's brain; no filter - my favorite kind of art. It's music that I'd bet anybody on the planet could get into, no matter what background or age.

Made with ambient vocal loops and very minimal instrumentation, the album reflects where Barwick was born, Louisiana. The title track, "The Magic Place" is about a tree in her backyard when she was a little girl. The daughter of a Christian youth minister, Barwick spent a lot of time in churches. Epic cathedral reverb produced with the most intimate lo-fi warmth turns her vocals into southern lightning bugs and crickets and church choirs and voodoo. 

So many comparisons have been made to Enya. I loved Enya as a child, I still love Enya. I will listen to Julianna Barwick now for the rest of my life in the same way that i have listened to Enya; with child-like wonder and appreciation. It is the most simple, beautiful music that can possibly be created, in my opinion.  

If you have children, please get this album and listen to it with them.  If you don't have children, please get this album and find your inner one. I did.