The last year has been a stunning one for me. Even in the handful of darker moments (and amidst seemingly calamitous adventures) the universe, and time, provided extra twinkles that melted and poured themselves into all of the crevices, coating them in buttery, yellow-light and rose gold that left behind a residual luminosity that lifted me out of the doldrums and the heart of confusion. All of the moments and miles started out as, or turned themselves into, magic places. Seasonal hymns became mantras and resonated long after exhalations. And optimism, chance, and heart-bursting love, has been (simultaneously) my guide and shelter from the storms. They have also made me brave enough to embrace and extinguish (well, only some) of the ghosts and bones that lay layered in the memories.
Musician Julianna Barwick had a magical year as well. Full of basking in memories of old magical places, and creating new ones for herself and ones for others to congregate in through the senses, she used all that she could conjure to write and release a hauntingly beautiful, precious keepsake of an album (appropriately titled) The Magic Place. One we could all use in times of 'prayer' or exorcism. The Magic Place, to me, sounds as if you took the band Grouper out of the woods and put them in a dilapidated church on an ancient burial ground, filled with cobwebs, stained-glass, alters, and ghostly energy singing from all of the pews. The tracks blow over your skin and cover it in bumps. Your ears perk, your head lifts and all of the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. The ritualistic, rhythms and reverberated, angelic voices finish out the service reaching a crescendo that folds itself back into the softness of the hymnal, cyclical layers of melody that carried you in. The magic of these places, and this album, echos throughout and even when you think you have left it behind.
For a little taste, click below. For the full effect, click here and let it just dissolve on your tongue.