Louisiana native and long-time New Yorker, Julianna Barwick just released a new track “In Light” from her upcoming Healing is a Miracle album after her recent move to Los Angeles. The album, due to be released on July 10, is her fourth solo album and first on the London-based Ninja Tune label.
Her prior albums include The Magic Place (2011), Nepenthe (2013) and Will (2016). The Magic Place was recorded on the Asthmatic Kitty Records label based in New York, while Nepenthe and Will were released by Indiana-based Dead Oceans Records.
Barwick titled her new album Healing is a Miracle after the remarkable way that the human body has the unworldly ability to heal itself. She adds “You cut your hand, it looks pretty bad, and two weeks later it looks like it never happened… That’s kind of amazing.”
According to Ninja Tune records, “Growing up in Louisiana, in the American south, church choirs were one of Barwick’s earliest musical influences. From an early age, she would try to harmonize with voices or music she heard day to day, and would seek out spaces which were conducive to satisfying sounding reverb. Later, Björk’s “Debut”, bought on a whim at the mall, would open up new horizons, soon followed by Tori Amos, artists that both shaped her musical perspective for a long time afterwards.”
This release is a collaboration with Icelandic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and long-time friend, Jónsi, from the post-rock band, Sigur Rós. Barwick explains “I think he has the best voice in the world, and hearing my voice with Jónsi’s is one of the joys of my life.”
The song’s video depicts a woman wearing a beautiful long red dress dancing gently. The red dress contrasts heavily with the dark rocky shore, white sandy beach and evergreen tree backgrounds shown throughout the video.
“In Light” is an ambient song that reminds the listener of a modern-day renaissance-like chorale. It contains soothing vocal loops with rich reverberating colors. Jónsi’s vocals fill in the lower and middle registers and accentuate various phrases throughout the song, sometimes taking on a polyphonic texture.
From time-to-time, synths and chirping birds can be heard in the distance. A faint distorted kick drum begins about one-third of the way into the piece, gradually getting louder and later accompanied by evenly timed claps. The percussion becomes heavily saturated two-thirds of the way into the song until the outro. The song ends in a decrescendo with church-like bells chiming and birds chirping.
Barwick says “I hope the song will inspire healing, love, and emerging into the light from a well of darkness because that is what the song is all about.”