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Baker's Dozen

Club Members: Julianna Barwick's Favourite Albums
Gary Kaill , April 20th, 2016 09:59

From very long-term library loans and overnight camp-outs to chance shopping-mall buys and poster-based confusion, the composer gives Gary Kaill the stories behind 13 LPs she's listened to a "bazillion freaking times"

Photograph courtesy of Vera Marmelo

Julianna Barwick approaches her Baker's Dozen choices with giddy enthusiasm, speaking at length and with insight, and making her love for her favourite music evident before we even speak. The list she emails over beforehand is subtitled 'The 100 Club' and annotated thus: "These are albums I have listened to at least 100 times since I was a little kid. There are more than these 13, but these were the first ones to occur to me in this context."

It's a great list, partly because, based on Barwick's recorded output to date, you'd never have guessed that it was her list. There's no obvious connection between the ambient soundscapes of her 2013 breakthrough Nepenthe and, say, the second Whitney Houston album. Well, not at first glance, anyway.

Alongside her Baker's Dozen, there's the small matter of new album Will, a thrilling and daring expansion of her minimalist oeuvre. With its release set to expand her audience further, she's particularly keen to explore how it works onstage. There is no UK tour yet ("I'm playing Green Man but, yeah, a tour is being worked on and we'll announce something soon") but spring will be largely taken up with a full-scale US jaunt.

"I feel really great about Will," she says as we speak by phone during a whistle-stop press trip to London. "I like that it's different and that people are responding to it like it's different. I wanted to swing away a little and do something new."

"With making this record, I knew I was going to be playing a bunch of shows and I love doing them, but I wanted to add a couple of extra elements to distinguish them from the shows I did for Nepenthe. So there's more synth action, for sure, and I'm excited to experiment."

As we finish our trawl through what she sees as her musical development, Barwick laughs and reflects on her 100 Club: "This is all pretty heavy stuff for a young kid, I guess – the soundtracks, for sure. But that's just me. My sister was the cool one – she'd read every Stephen King novel by the time she was about eight but I was this six-year-old watching Yentl and crying in the corner over lost love."

Will is out on May 6 via Dead Oceans. Julianna Barwick begins a European tour at Paradiso in Amsterdam on June 2 before heading to Pickle Factory in London on June 8 and plays Green Man festival, which runs from August 18-21 in the Brecon Beacons, Wales; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Julianna's choices, which run in no particular order