Julianna Barwick’s music is unlike pretty much anything I’ve heard before. Sure, there are faint echoes of past artists, and I’ll get to them shortly — but this EP’s six tracks are a revelation nonetheless. Barwick’s modus operandi is to create music using effect pedals and loops of her own voice. Musical instruments rarely intrude (”Anjos” has a piano loop, possibly some synth), or if they’re there, they’re difficult to distinguish from the voice-derived sounds. It’s beautiful music, somewhere between ethereal and ambient.
At times, I’m reminded of a few different things. John Foxx’s Cathedral Oceans albums, for example, which are ambient music based around Foxx’s church music-inspired vocalizing. The odd choral sounds of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares. Classic Harold Budd and Brian Eno ambient. Sigur Ros.
Though Barwick’s intrument is her voice, there are few discernible words or lyrics here. Her voice is used as an instrument. Only one song has an identifiable lyric — “Choose” has the words “any way you choose.”