“I walked home one night and got totally lost in Reykjavík,” ambient loop artist Julianna Barwick wrote in May in the press release for her new record, Nepenthe. She’s describing the Iceland recording sessions for her new album with producer/engineer Alex Somers (from Sigur Rós sidebands Riceboy Sleeps and Jónsi & Alex). “I ended up walking alongside the ocean – and it was glowing blue. It looked like it had a lamp underneath it. This is a completely different experience than recording myself in my Brooklyn bedroom.”
Though currently based in Brooklyn, Julianna was raised in Missouri and Oklahoma. “Coming from Oklahoma to the city, and seeing art in galleries and concerts, being surrounded by people who are passionate about the thing they do, and making it happen was inspiring, “ she says, “my mind was blown.” Following recent shows at (fellow Iceland enthusiast) Yoko Ono’s Meltdown Festival and opening for (fellow Okies) The Flaming Lips, Julianna will tour the album this fall opening Sigur Rós’ North American dates.
Nepenthe won’t be released until August 20 but you can stream the full album, and other other new releases, via the links at the bottom of this post.
“In ancient Greek literature, nepenthe was a magic drug of forgetfulness used to wipe out grief and sorrow,” the press statement explains. “The title suggested itself to Julianna, who experienced a death in her own family in the middle of making the record, but it also refers to the music consoling her during the isolation she was going through – on her own, in a foreign country, with a terrible internet connection – during the sessions. Nepenthe’s heady potion is about moving forward, finding a way through difficult times – of retaining a feeling of hope…The biggest influence on Nepenthe, though, was the unfamiliar surroundings of Iceland itself, with its vibrant music scene and stunningly alien landscapes with their lingering magic.”
Nepenthe is preceded by her 2005 self-released debut album, Sanguine, 2009’s Florine EP, 2010’s The Magic Place, her 2011 collaborative album with Ikue Mori and this year’s Suicide Squeeze single. Read the full press release here.
New Album Streams
Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
Drumgasm (Quasi/Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss, Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron, Death Grips’ Zach Hill)
Belle and Sebastian – The Third Eye Centre (Rarities Compilation)
Washed Out – Paracosm
Bob Dylan – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
Ty Segall – Sleeper
Volcano Choir – Reprave
No Age – An Object
Willy Mason – Carry On
Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
“Computer Chess” (soundtrack)
Forest Swords – Engravings
Other recent streams are listed here.