Category Archives: Julianna Barwick

Smudged-out details


We included Jenny Hval’s excellent Innocence is Kinky album in our Best Of 2013. In all probability, it’s not unlikely that her album released this year – a collaboration with Susanna of ‘and Her Magical Orchestra’ fame – might also creep into a Best Of 2014.

Their Rune Grammofon label mate, noise supremo Deathprod, also contributes production.


Jenny Hval & Susanna – I Have A Darkness

It’s impressively ‘dark’ sounding music – not in the generic ooheviltransgressive way, but in a near-photographic graininess. These are beautifully underexposed torch songs. The sharp, high-contrast of their dueling voices burnt into the frame, distracting from the smudged-out details in the backgrounds. The shadows.


Buy Jenny Hval & Susanna’s Meshes of Voice

Bonus track from 2013:

Julianna Barwick – The Harbinger

(photography is by Rebecca Cairns)


20jazzfunkgreats has been delving into the early history of computer graphics and animation – the way in which digits give life to moving images that eventually, touched by the finger of genius, are imbued with an illusion of intelligence and soul, arguably artifice for now (although who knows what those cowboys and astronauts get up to at night when no-one is looking, or in the imaginations of those within which they migrate with every projection?).

Our synaesthetic tendencies require a discussion of some basic graphics techniques in the context of sound (Signal processing theory 101, we know, but bear with us). In doing so, we cover some of our most beloved grounds, fertile lands of dance with their own dashing peculiarities, and start the countdown for the end of this year, or perhaps age, for next week we’ll be a-listing our 2011 loves.



Where the naked mathematical abstractions of a model are enveloped in smooth patterns that, with subtle gradation, wholly encompass the spectrum of feeling.

The gorgeous shadows of the platonic truths that the model embodies are projected against the walls of our discotheque, where we pursue them like enthralled lepidopterists, hopeless for they always escape from between our fingers like snowflake butterflies, delighted that they exist, and also at our failure, for in the romantic game, victory is always the beginning of defeat.

Synthetics – Silicone Dreams (Demo)

The demos that we have obtained from Synthetics effortlessly capture a bewildering array of italo moods like perfectly preserved postcards from a forgotten Rimini escapade – you can explore them at your leisure in his soundcloud.

It has been a sweet struggle to select the one to display in the blog today, but after much deliberation, we have gone for Silicone Dreams, a minimal tango that we dance alone, across the fixtureless white spaces of a Michael Mann-induced hallucination.


Here, the geometric purity of our sound polygon is deliberately perturbed so as to better simulate the carousel of rhythm, and the emotional swings that it induces.

Render a dance-space, say, a summer festival tent. Let X, Y and Z represent the usual spatial coordinates where the agents are positioned, changes in their locations capture time. Because this tent is packed, you can represent the dynamics within the tent as a surface. At a low enough level of resolution, the surface is flat (because the height distribution of your agents is normal, with miniscule variance).

You are missing out on what’s going on. Get bump mapping mate. Plug the DJ/band output into your height map, and apply this to the surface normal – Z becomes an emotional/psychedelic high. Suddenly you have peaks and lows stretching to the top of your graph like invisible ball players seeking to slam dunk the sun. Things are getting real deep, now you want to get in there.

Good plan.

Beyond – Untitled III

Moon Glyph are serious front-runners for the 20jazzfunkgreats ‘label of 2011’ prize, if we indeed decide to allocate it (you know we aren’t that keen on rankings due to ‘greatness commensurability’ issues), so we are pleased to slide towards the end of the year with another of their excellent releases, this time by Beyond (aka J. Shaver from Deep Earth).

In his paradoxically titled No Man Moves, he travels across adjacent provinces of physical and spiritual enlightenment with much gusto – imagine Gavin Russom’s various facets compiled within a single release, after time well spent in an Aegean spa.

Untitled III begins with the metronomic organ that calls to worship in the Holy Church of Chicago, and then progresses towards its Balearo-idealistic drop with deft guitar-work. Wine into blood, bread into flesh, bass into the pulsing blood-flesh (heart) of the unnamed divinity.


The interpolation of a signal (say, the shining kernel of creative energy at the heart of everything we love) sampled at a low rate produces aliasing. You can address this by filtering high frequency components out of the original, but something is lost in translation, a blur lingers at the sub-perceptual level, the soul of the copy has been mangled in ways you aren’t aware of – unlike your pineal gland. A mild feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness ensues.

You could crank up your resolution up to 11, but that’s the accountant’s way out. Instead, let the true idea charge untamed into the lair of the machine, crash through its silicon halls like a furious stampede of binary stallions, position yourself at the exit with eyes shut tight, ride its jagged lines as it breaks out, for an exhilarated instant, and then smash in the ground and break your bones, bruise your skin and splatter your spit, watch it disappear in the distance, free, alive, legion.

Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place (The Recycle Culture Uplift)

The Recycle Culture’s (alas, no link) uplift of Julianna Barwick’s The Magic Place is psychedelic trance in the best of ways, running up that hill in a wild hunt that is its own purpose, the joy of the gallop and its perceptual distortion, accompanied by velocity devils of emotion and exhilaration. Pity that 13 Monsters is no more, for this anti-aerodynamic banshee would have made a worthy closer for our New Years bash.

You can get The Magic Place from Asthmatic Kitty.

Innocence and Dissonance

The machines awaken. Instead of transforming planet Earth into an ugly radioactive waste through the indiscriminate deployment of nuclear warheads, they simply turn technology off and watch mankind slide back into feudalism.

The ecological pyramid stretches one level further, into a pinnacle of superior intelligence around which hover silver machines of mostly indifferent grace, powered by sun, wind, sea and caloric effusions from the lower layers of the geological mantle.

Most of their processing cycles are invested on metaphysical explorations, with some marginal effort devoted to ensuring that the alchemist, philosophers, craftsmen and tinkerers outside don’t bring about another industrial revolution.

A few replicants are sent into human burgs and settlements to record the cultural expressions developing after the fall.

These are the songs these replicants reproduce (sing?) when they are back to the domain of Earth’s new wardens, they echo across vast data warehouses quiet like churches and automated factories where self aware robots perform a precise ballet.

Julianna Barwick and Ikue Mori – Rejoinder

Rejoinder is included in the new instalment of the already legendary FRKWYS series, which this time brings together Ikue Mori and Julianna Barwick to celebrate a one month installation curated by IGETRVNG at White Columns in NYC. Go get.

Kompakt associate label M=Minimal have recently reissued Conrad Schnitzler’s Ballet Statique, the soundtrack for a thriller that unfolds in the belly of transistor city, where different algorithmic factions jockey for control over the parameters that resolve a McGuffin equation/enigma set down by Karl Heinz Stockhausen.

Or π directed by John Carpenter?

Either way, it does compute.

Conrad Schnitzler – Ballet Statique

In the new scheme of things that we outlined above, FWY’s mechanised motorik would probably blast off the latest functioning boom box in the planet, plugged into the steam powered engine of a teenage panzer cruising over the cracked asphalt of a ravaged highway network to smuggle medicines, banned literature and epic male oriented rock vibes across the ill-kept boundaries of warring fiefs. Fear not troopers, for we aren’t thinking of Kevin Costner, but Cowboy in Walter Jon Williams’ Hardwired.

Fuck the orbital soviet!

FWY! – Nowhere Somewhere

Nowhere/Somewhere is included in the CA 80’s-90’s tape recently released by Brave Mysteries.

20jazzfunkgreats will be at Primavera Sound this week, documenting what goes on from the trenches (inc. Twitter psyche-ops). If you see us at the Neubauten/Suicide/Ariel Pink/Gang Gang Dance/Pissed Jeans/Prince Rama of Ayodhya/Lindstrom/Blank Dogs/Factory Floor/OPN etc etc. shows come and say hi/get down for a dance. We will be wearing the Augmented Reality inducing Cassette Playa t-shirt that makes us look like the avatars of some post-lawnmower man hallucination. Or you may be on drugs.