It all had a very weird ambiance. This is a review of the past few days, and an album to match.
Saturday, 2nd April 2011, we were having a friend, Fiona M. over for dinner. The circumstances were a little strange. In the previous week a group of friends were struck by lightning while touring in South Africa, one killed, all injured. I came down with a ‘flu that night and slept. The ‘flu remained and developed and I went to my GP on Tuesday afternoon. He had me in Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney within a half hour.
I spent that night in the emergency ward, very low blood pressure, heart rate 130 and feverish. I was hooked up to monitors for the 14 hours I spent in emergency. I stayed in hospital for 4 days, finishing up in the Cardio ward, my bed with a fantastic view of the cemetery. I lost count of the blood tests at 17. The trouble was, by Wednesday evening I felt fine, slight headache, little tired, but fine. Healthiest man in the hospital with a view of the graves. But things move on in hospital at the speed of a hospital. By Thursday afternoon my heart went into Atrial Fibrillation. It all sounds huge and dramatic, maybe thirty to fifty years ago it would have been. In this case, I disagree with the Verve. The drugs do work!
Julianna Barwick is a special type of vocalist. But, like John Coltrane’s – A Love Supreme, there are very few discernible words. It is even difficult to pick one track from another. Like the days in a hospital, they so are the tracks on this album.
Her voice is used more as an instrument. Multiple layering with very sparse instrumentation. In a recent interview she was asked if she’d consider more lyrics into her next works. She said it would be a challenge.
Parts of the instruments sound like Brian Eno’s work on ‘Laraaji : Day Of Radiance’. Other parts remind my of Robert Fripp on ‘Evening Star’. All densely packed instruments with so many effects attached it is difficult to separate a guitar from a keyboard. Over the top of all this is Julianna’s voice loops. It may all seem heavy and inaccessible, but there is a lightness about the way this is put together, before the voice loops get to much, she breaks them and goes straight into a plain piano section.
This album is not for everyone, check out the Video clip of the single lifted off the album before you buy.
Oh, and I’m feeling much better. On the early steps towards full recovery.
Track list: 01 - Envelop 02 - Keep Up the Good Work 03 - The Magic Place 04 - Cloak 05 - White Flag 06 - Vow 07 - Bob in Your Gait 08 - Prizewinning 09 - Flown