Julianna Barwick – Will

Album Review by Gary Kaill | 03 May 2016
Album title: Will
Artist: Julianna Barwick
Label: Dead Oceans
Release date: 6 May

The latest from the Brooklyn-based composer offers further fascination for those hypnotised by the ambient soundscapes of 2013's breakthrough Nepenthe. Barwick has spoken of her desire to flesh out her instrumentation this time around but the encroachment of synthesised sounds is a reassuringly underplayed tweak of her methodology. As such, the closing See, Know, crafted around a pulsing synth figure and building to a crashing euphoria, helps distinguish Will from Barwick's earlier work. Its coda/come-down is a heady, exultant exit. 

Diversions aside, Barwick's compositions are largely built around her familiar choral loops and string backing. On Same, keys and cello soar in glorious uplift: an ersatz fanfare. St Appalonia is a glorious mini-symphony where Barwick's vocals rise and fall like lapping waves. Will is a deeply dramatic showcase throughout – Barwick's vision might have its foundation in traditional forms but the way in which she deconstructs and rebuilds is a distinctly renegade act.