Julianna Barwick’s Sanguine Needs Our Help

One of my favorite albums of the year comes from Brooklyn-based artist Julianna Barwick. The album is called Florine. Michael Lavorgna told me about it. It was months ago and I remember leaving work that day and rushing over to Other Music to buy the album. I got one of the first 200, pressed on white vinyl. Karen congratulated me and told me that I’d be very happy with the music.

“I’ve been listening all day long,” I said. “As soon as I heard her music, I knew I had to have the album.”

“Oh, that’s so great. I’ll let Julianna know. She’ll be happy to hear that.”

Karen seems to know everyone.

Florine has spent lots of time on my Rega P3. It fills the listening room with sounds. I was going to say “otherworldly sounds,” but these sounds are clearly of this world. They are simply not the sorts of sounds we are used to hearing. “Whale songs” my neighbor says. “That’s all I hear.” Corrina says she hears “a siren luring a mariner on a moonlit night—eerie and seductive.” Julianna Barwick runs her voice through a guitar pedal to create loops. In the resultant layers of sound, we hear whales, sirens, cries, melody, and percussion. It’s mostly lovely and lulling, sometimes discordant, sometimes miraculous. I’ve seen this performed in concert, and it’s as captivating to watch as it is to hear. Time seems to slow down to a strange, strobing crawl.

Florine is the only work by Julianna Barwick that I own. Her self-released debut, Sanguine, is available only on CD, but there is a chance that it will be released on vinyl. (Michael Lavorgna told me about this, too.) M’Lady’s Records, in a Kickstarter project, is hoping for at least $4000 in pledges, by 8:17pm EDT on Friday, the 15th, in order to support the limited edition vinyl release of Sanguine. Kickstarter funds creative projects with all-or-nothing funding. That is, every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires, or no money changes hands. This way, the company explains, there is less risk for everyone, and artists have the opportunity to test concepts. There are several different levels of support. Pledge more money and you get more stuff. For instance:

A pledge of $1 gets you a personal “thank you” from Julianna and M’Lady’s, sent to you on a postcard. Pledge $15 or more and you’ll receive Sanguine on LP. Pledge $25 or more and you’ll receive the Ultra Deluxe Edition, which includes the LP and a bonus 7” (limited to 200 copies worldwide). For the hot wax-obsessed audiophile: Pledge $50 or more, and you’ll receive test pressings of both Sanguine and the bonus single. For the audiophile who wants to bring the live performance into his home: Pledge $600 or more, and you get everything plus: Julianna will come to your town and perform a show just for you. How great is that? Such a bargain!

(JA: Can I expense this?! What’s the accounting code for “awesome live show in my apartment”?)

As of now, with just four days to go, M’Lady’s has only collected $1344. Does $4000 seem like a lot of money for a limited-edition vinyl release? It’s not. Brett Lyman of M’Lady’s Records breaks down the cost here.

Why not take a chance on some new music? For more info and to make a pledge, go here. I’ve made my pledge.

Nathan's picture

not bad, its like Grouper switched from morphine to ecstasy.

Drtrey's picture

Wow. That is so ethereal, so whispy. Very intriguing. Ambient music from the human voice, I would call it humambient. If I could say that. 8)

gggrog's picture

Prospects not looking good but i'm in. Thanks for the heads up

Eugene Gomez's picture

Way to make the important link so obvious. Not.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thanks for reading, Eugene.

Shill o' Plenty's picture

Yeah, last time I bought into the Mejias rec. thing I sent some LP place out in Cali some money for their new pressing of an old PJ Harvey disc. Never happened. Spent about two real time hours over a series of a dozen emails and phone calls etc to finally *not* ever get my money back. Oh, delayed, oh test pressing bad, oh, blah blah blah.Yeah, Stereophile today is a wash. This dude does not even have a sound system on his desk.A picture can, and does say a thousand words. Used to be a 300+ page mag; now barely pushes 119.Moved down a floor or two every year or two. Next stop; in the basement with a red stapler.

Richard Weed's picture

What is more depressing, is the system SM uses to listen to this stuff. A guy at an audio magazine, and he is using stuff that is an embarrassment to anyone actually serious about the quality of playback. Lousy music, played on a lousy system, means, the guy has ZERO credentials, or hearing ability. Eeessshh. And he proudly shows it in pictures, you should be embarrassed.

Markus Sauer's picture

Anyone doubting Stephen's enthusiasm for music and playback obviously has not been reading his column. Sheesh.

Richard Weed's picture

All talk, nothing to actually prove that. His taste in music is abysmal, it borders on just pick up any garbage, and rave about it, like he found the next Elvis, yet all of his picks are trash. For someone writing in a music/audio publication it's very disappointing. Makes dopey claims, appears completely un educated on anything related to hardware or what music is supposed to entail. Did it be mentioned once he is a guitarist? Or is that the other guy with the horrendous lack of ability? At least from what I heard on something they posted here. What has happened ed to this magazine, it's being loaded up with incompetents, and story tellers, with ZERO ability. I am amazed John Atkinson allows the magazine to degrade so fast, so much. Why are his superiors asking for a complete resurrection of this operation? Every issue brings less usable information, the music selections reviewed are horrendous, so out of touch.