Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe


Released: August 20, 2013

Label: Dead Oceans

Producer: Alex Somers

Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Avante-Garde


01 Offing
02 The Harbinger
03 One Half
04 Look into Your Own Mind
05 Pyrrhic
06 Labyrinthine
07 Forever
08 Adventurer of the Family
09 Crystal Lake
10 Waving to You


Nepenthe features the string ensemble Amiina and a choir of teenage girls. The title of the album references the ancient drug of forgetfulness, found in the works of Greek literature and Edgar Allan Poe, which erases sorrow. A death in Barwick‘s family inspired the title. Her music here is built around multiple loops and layers of her voice. Barwick, who credits a rural, church choir upbringing for her sound, seems to highlight that even more in this album. Julianna‘s cathedral-ready songs have always seemed to exist in the same ghostly realm as Sigur Rós. So when Sigur Rós collaborator Alex Somers emailed Barwick last year, asking if she’d like to come and record with him in Iceland, she was quick to respond. Very quick. “That was the fastest reply I’ve ever written,” Barwick recalls. “I was just like, Yes! Send!”