The Magic Place - Julianna Barwick
The Magic Place Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Brooklyn-based singer is minimalist in her music, using piano, drums, and her voice to make haunting songs--often drawing comparisons to Enya.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Mar 14, 2011
    90
    Julianna Barwick is crafting gorgeously effecting sounds in a way that nobody has quite heard before, far beyond the snickering Enya comparisons or the reductive ties to Eno's ambience, this isn't music for thinking or studying, this is just music for living.
  2. Feb 23, 2011
    85
    The Magic Place, her first album for Asthmatic Kitty, stands above her earlier work in virtually every way.
  3. Feb 24, 2011
    80
    It's Barwick's most evocative instrument, one that sparkly piano notes can only help fill the room for, and one with which she diminishes too many comparisons to Panda Bear and other leftfield pop musicians.
  4. Feb 25, 2011
    80
    It's filled with memorable moments, digital pieces that are essential towards captivating very human moments without battering with the greater scope of things. It all makes this all-encompassing memory trip worth remembering.
  5. Jun 15, 2011
    80
    Try as you might to explain Julianna Barwick's incomparable, indescribable music, maybe it's best to let The Magic Place do all the talking, because the results speak for themselves.
  6. Mar 9, 2011
    70
    There's a warmness and craft there that envelops most cynicism. [Feb. 2011, p. 62]
  7. Feb 18, 2011
    60
    In the end, The Magic Place is a beautiful, ambiguous diversion better suited as a companion soundtrack to some experimental film or art installation than as the debut for a promising young singer.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Nov 8, 2011
    10
    The Magic Place is not a tree from the Louisiana farm on which Julianna Barwick grew up. It is the state of mind which this beautiful and intelligent record takes us to. Julianna is like a one-woman choir able to stop an ice age. Even when she is wailing, she does it with unsuspected charm. Her ethos of work is pretty simple: turn a single vocal into a multilayered tune by looping it, like, forever. And this works great for you wish these tracks never to stop. This gymnastics requires wit and the outcome is an intricate labyrinth of her glorious voice and occasional instruments. These songs evoke different emotions: there is place for more than just hapiness/sadness dramatics. One is for sure: Julianna never forgets to put her soul into the music. Those who have listened to her Florine EP know what to expect. The penultimate Prizewinning may come as a surprise, though. It is one of the best songs of the year, definitely her best, a triumph of an unstoppable talent. Just like the track itself. Expand
  2. Aug 29, 2011
    10
    Barwick achieves what medieval choirs couldn't, creating what could at times easily be a soundtrack to ascension into heaven, all without giving off any sense of religiosity. I heard this music live first, and in a room of standing people I was driven to sit down and close my eyes under the sheer power of its beauty. Expand
  3. Jun 30, 2011
    5
    I'm afraid it doesn't work for me very well... There's nothing for me to grab onto and pull down. Neither is there anything that sweeps me up and carries me away... Expand

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