Julianna Barwick has recently signed to Dead Oceans who are releasing her third full-length album entitled Nepenthe. The album was recorded in Reykjavík, Iceland, following an invitation from Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Jónsi, Jónsi & Alex) who produced and engineered the effort. Nepenthe also features contributions from other Icelandic musicians, including string ensemble Amiina, múm’s guitarist Róbert Sturla Reynisson and a choir of teenage girls.
In ancient Greek literature, and as the press release describes, “nepenthe was a magic drug of forgetfulness used to wipe out grief and sorrow.” It adds that “the title suggested itself to Julianna, who experienced a death in her own family in the middle of making the record, but it also refers to the music consoling her during the isolation she was going through – on her own, in a foreign country with a terrible internet connection – during the sessions.”
Other than Julianna’s personal emotional influence, the Icelandic surroundings and “its vibrant music scene and stunningly alien landscapes with their lingering magic” had the biggest influence on Nepenthe. She explains:
“I had never had anyone play on any record before, so this was a 180 turn. I also was inspired just by being there, and the gorgeousness of that place. Your eyes can’t believe what they’re seeing. I walked home one night and got totally lost in Reykjavík. I ended up walking alongside the ocean – and it was glowing blue. It looked like it had a lamp underneath it. This is a completely different experience than recording myself in my Brooklyn bedroom.”
Julianna has just unveiled an album teaser in the form of a video directed by Derrick Belcham, and featuring the magnificent track ‘Forever’. Be sure to watch it below and watch out for the album release on August 20th.