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Magic Place

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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The Magic Place
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Vinyl, February 22, 2011
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$14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com in easy-to-open packaging. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

The Magic Place is the third record from Julianna Barwick, and the first to be released by Asthmatic Kitty.This nine piece, 43 minute album is a cinematic journey through glacial pacing and drifting drones. The occasional icy down-plink of piano, Julianna's gorgeous churchhouse sigh of a voice, a swell of a dozen voices rising in harmony this is music from the inside of the fortress of solitude, the work of a solitary creator, a message from a crystal palace of reverb and avant-choral bliss.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (February 22, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty
  • ASIN: B004DPHVJG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,812 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I hadn't heard of this artist until I read that this album was considered one of the best new albums by pitchfork. Regardless of your feelings towards that website, you have to give this album a chance if you enjoy the places that music can take you. Somewhat unfairly labelled as an "indie Enya", Barwick has a sound that is unique; there is no one else that sounds like her. Maybe the closest is Sigur Ros's most ethereal stuff and Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins but this music is not a carbon copy of that sound, although it does owe a huge debt to them. Barwick just simply sings vocals that are impossible to understand and loops her vocals to create a devastatingly understated sound that at times sounds like a choir of angels are singing. No guitars or drums, just her voice along with some piano. This is an album that you can listen to as background (somewhat like Brian Eno) but also really concentrate on (also like Eno). Buy this - you won't regret it.
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Julianna Barwick loops and layers her lovely voice into a lush sonic landscape. The only instrument is a piano, used sparingly.

At times I am reminded of Sigur Ros, whom I adore, because there are no words nor much of a melody that one could hum. However, the music stays inside my head after the album is over. Unlike Sigur Ros, Julianna Barwick creates harmonies using only her own voice.

I would not characterize this as background music. The sound is too compelling, it grabs your attention. It is a good accompaniment to driving, cooking or knitting, or a similar activity where you can share your concentration. I haven't heard anything else quite like this. It's not for everyone. It might make you crazy. But you might love it. Definitely worth a try.
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Take a woman with a beautiful voice and a love of tape loops, very light instrumentation, and a church with big, echo-y acoustics, and the result is this gorgeous album. Its acoustics and wordless vocals are a kind of postmodern Gregorian chant: Though not religious--that is, the absence of text means there's no dogma or even theology in these pieces--one can certainly, easily, find oneself contemplating spiritual and even divine matters as one listens.

A reviewer here dismissed other people's comparing Barwick's record to Enya's music; I'd argue, though, that they're each working different sides of the same sonic territory. Another connection that may be helpful: Much of this music--the title track in particular--would be right at home during certain scenes in The Tree of Life (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy).

Docked one star solely because I wish there were just a little more variety in these pieces. I understand that they are not supposed to have a great sense of movement to them, that they're supposed to be "places" and, thus, destinations in their own right (like much of Arvo Part's instrumental music) but I do get the feeling that the "places" themselves could have been more varied. That (personal) misgiving aside, I highly recommend this beautiful record to lovers of atmosphere in their ambient music.
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