May 6th sees the release of Will, the revelatory third full-length album by Brooklyn experimental artist Julianna Barwick. Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling Will is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.
Barwick’s life over the past several years has largely been lived in transit, and as such the genesis of Will was not beholden to location; Barwick worked on the album in a variety of locales, from a desolate house in upstate New York to the Moog Factory in Asheville, North Carolina to Lisbon, Portugal.
“I love touring, but it can be a wild ride,” Barwick reflects on this cycle of constant motion. “You’re constantly adjusting, assimilating, and finding yourself in life-changing situations.” Those experiences played into and helped shape Will’s charged, unstable atmosphere: “I knew I’d be playing these songs live, so I wanted some movement,” she explains. “Something that had rhythm and low-end.”
That sense of forward propulsion is largely owed to Will’s synth-heavy textures. The electric current that runs through the album takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability. Featuring contributions from Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist, Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly), Will is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. “While making this record, there were moments of isolation and dark currents,” Barwick admits. “I like exploring that, and I love when I come across songs that sound scary or ominous. I’ve always been curious about what goes into making a song that way.” The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the result of that curiosity, and proof of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.
Will comes off of Barwick’s busiest period in her career, following the release of Nepenthe—a spate of activity that included playing piano for Yoko Ono, performing at Carnegie Hall at the annual Tibet House concert with the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass, The Rosabi EP and beer created in conjunction with brewing company Dogfish Head, and a re-imagining of Bach’s “Adagio” from Concerto In D Minor.
Watch the Derrick Belcham-directed video for debut single, “Nebula” which was filmed in the Philip Johnson Glass House and presents the essence of Will and Julianna Barwick’s richly complex musical fabric.
A pre-order bonus bundle that includes a 7” single (limited to 500 copies) is available when purchasing the new album directly from JuliannaBarwick.com. The 7” includes “Chaos”, a song from her score to Zia Anger’s 2015 short film I Remember Nothing, and “Never Change”, a beautiful out-take from her 2011 album The Magic Place.
01. St. Apolonia
06. Big Hollow
07. Heading Home
09. See, Know
Fri. Apr. 1 – Athens, GA @ Slingshot Festival at Georgia Theatre
Thu. Apr. 14 – New York, NY @ Titus Theater 1 at MoMA
Thu. Apr. 28 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
Fri. Apr. 29 – Portland, ME @ The Space Gallery
Sat. Apr. 30 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace
Fri. May 6 –Los Angeles, CA @ Velaslavasay Panorama
Sat. May 7 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Tue. May 10 – Seattle, WA @ Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Wed. May 11 – Portland, OR @ Old Church
Fri. May 13 – Mayer, AZ @ Arcosanti
Thu. May 19 – Durham, NC @ Moogfest 2016 at First Presbyterian
Thu. Jun. 2 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
Sat. Jun. 4 – Berlin, Germany @ Torstrassen Festival
Mon. Jun. 6 – Paris, France @ Carmen
Tue. Jun. 7 – Brussels, Belgium @ La Nuit de Botanique Festival
Wed. Jun. 8 – London, UK @ Pickle Factory
Wed. Jun. 15 – Washington, DC @ Sixth & I
Thu. Jun. 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Small Chapel
Sat. Jun. 18 – Chicago, IL @ Constellation
Sun. Jun. 19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
Thu. Jun. 23 – Detroit, MI @ Museum of Contemporary Art
Fri. Jun. 24 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe