Published May 04, 2016For someone who makes the kind of ambient music Julianna Barwick makes, the Brooklyn-via-Missouri songwriter/composer probably didn't expect to have the type of year she experienced in 2013. After finding considerable acclaim for her last LP, Nepenthe, Barwick was invited to play piano with Yoko Ono, performed at the Tibetan House concert with the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass and even had a craft beer released in her name, all while touring the world. With all eyes watching, it makes sense that Barwick's third LP reflect these years of experience, and on Will, she has crafted something even more confident, tangible and overall, moving.
Although Barwick still employs the looping techniques that defined her early work, tracks like the piano-based "St. Apolonia," beautifully structured "Beached" and softly textured "Heading Home" — though as spacious and airy as her previous work — seem more poised, as Barwick largely abandons her sheets of reverb and noise to expose the simple meditations buried underneath. Throughout much of Will, Barwick's voice is as haunted and gorgeous as ever, but on "Nebula" and "See, Know," she brazenly allows the melodies of her music to drive the song's mood, and the latter is the closest she's ever come to creating full-blown electronic music.
Will is a beautifully written work of art that finds Barwick reaching out to a larger audience, but completely on her own terms. (Dead Oceans)