Julianna Barwick's Pure Moods

Lush passages wash over the Parish, December 5

Ambient chanteuse Julianna Barwick played the Parish last night, and we managed to hear her through the din.

The show kicked off with solo multi-instrumentalist My Empty Phantom. His Chariots of Fire meets generic post-rock sound was a beauty but a bit of a bore. A little darkness and danger would make his music more dynamic.

After an especially long set-up, our headliner appeared onto the sparely equipped stage. No sooner had she begun her gorgeous, wordless clouds of vocals and reverb, we were treated to the incessant, loud thump of whatever the kids are listening to these days from the bar below. Throughout much of her beautiful set there were grinding and pulsing interruptions from downstairs, but Barwick handled it with grace. The moments where we could truly focus on her were lush and exquisite.

My friend Jack put it best by saying, "She was good, but it demystifies her seeing her live." He is spot on. A little magic is lost in seeing that it is not some heavenly angel but just a person at a keyboard creating this world. For the same price as her show, you can get her excellent new album Nepenthe and enjoy the same audio experience from home. Unless she starts touring bedrooms, focus on picking up the LP.

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Music, Julianna Barwick, The Parish, My Empty Phantom, Austin, live set, Nepenthe

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