Album of the Week: Juliana Barwick

She had me at Healing Is A Miracle.

It’s as if we forgot that life can be beautiful. Vocalist and Producer Juliana Barwick is here to remind us with 33 [footnote 1] minutes of weightless, light-filled music, the core of which is Barwick’s looped and reverb-laden vocals. On Healing Is A Miracle, released by Ninja Tune earlier this month, she is joined by Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Nosaj Thing, and Mary Lattimore (on harp).

“Healing Is A Miracle” began life in spring of last year, when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. “It had been so long since I had done that,” she recalls, “making something for myself, just for the love of it… it was emotional, because I was recording music that was just from the heart, that wasn’t for an ‘assignment’ or project… it brought me to tears a little”.

While there are songs, tracks, this is an album to be taken in whole if you want the full healing effect (who doesn’t?). Or if you prefer, to reach a dream-like state, buoyed by beauty, where we all know healing can also happen.

Here’s Barwick on process:

Part of the joy also came from a small but significant switch up to her recording process: the addition of some studio monitors—a birthday gift from Jónsi and Alex (Somers)—having previously recorded all of her music on headphones. “The first song I remember making with those was the first song on the album, Inspirit.” she explains, “When I added the bass I really felt it in my body, you know, in a way you just wouldn’t with headphones… it was kind of euphoric and fun. I got really excited about making the record in that moment, and I think that really had an impact on the sounds I ended up making.”

If you are anything like me, you’ll take extra-special delight in listening to Healing Is A Miracle in the dark where your mind and body are free to fully feel the ‘unbearable lightness of being’ [footnote 2] brought on by music, ‘the healing force of the universe’ [footnote 3].

Listen deep. Be well.

1. I am not a gambler but found myself at various points in my past in Atlantic City and Saint-Malo at a roulette table (out of boredom) and on both occasions ‘hit’ on “33”.
2. Thanks to Milan Kundera
3. Thanks to Albert Ayler