Barwick’s life over the past several years has largely been lived in transit, and as such the genesis of Will was not beholden to location; Barwick worked on the album in a variety of locales, from a desolate house in upstate New York to the Moog Factory in Asheville, North Carolina to Lisbon, Portugal.
“I love touring, but it can be a wild ride,” Barwick reflects on this cycle of constant motion. “You’re constantly adjusting, assimilating, and finding yourself in life-changing situations.” Those experiences played into and helped shape Will’s charged, unstable atmosphere: “I knew I’d be playing these songs live, so I wanted some movement,” she explains. “Something that had rhythm and low-end.”
That sense of forward propulsion is largely owed to Will’s synth-heavy textures. The electric current that runs through the album takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability. Featuring contributions from Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist, Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly), Will is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. “While making this record, there were moments of isolation and dark currents,” Barwick admits. “I like exploring that, and I love when I come across songs that sound scary or ominous. I’ve always been curious about what goes into making a song that way.” The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the result of that curiosity, and proof of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.
Will comes off of Barwick’s busiest period in her career, following the release of Nepenthe—a spate of activity that included playing piano for Yoko Ono, performing at Carnegie Hall at the annual Tibet House concert with the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass, The Rosabi EP and beer created in conjunction with brewing company Dogfish Head, and a re-imagining of Bach’s “Adagio” from Concerto In D Minor.
Watch the Derrick Belcham-directed video for debut single, “Nebula” which was filmed in the Philip Johnson Glass House and presents the essence of Will and Julianna Barwick’s richly complex musical fabric.
Julianna Barwick’s music has been reviewed in Time Out New York, Time Out Lisbon, The New York Times, and The Village Voice, among other publications. Her music has also been featured as “Best New Music” on Pitchfork, which also gave, 2009’s “Florine” EP an honorable mention for an album of the year.
“Thomas Arsenault, the person who records as Mas Ysa, is difficult to pin down, and that’s probably the best thing about him. He’s lived in Montreal and San Francisco and Sao Paolo and New York and wherever Oberlin is. He’s scored modern dance productions and remixed synthpop groups. He sometimes sings in an angelic, reverby tenor and sometimes in a full, throat-wracked howl. He makes mostly electronic records, and he does it by itself, but “producer” somehow doesn’t seem like the right job title for him. (I’ve also seen people describe him as a “composer,” and that seems even more wrong.) Listening to his records, it’s hard to tell which sounds are electronic and which are made by actual physical instruments. His music drifts freely between ambient and synthpop and oblique dance and good old-fashioned indie rock. And he’s conclusively proven that you don’t need a full band to sound vaguely like Arcade Fire.
Mas Ysa made his name on last year’s Worth EP, which alternated between drifting, pretty synth-drone and big, chest-thumping psychedelic laptop-rock howlers. On Seraph, his first proper album, Arsenault pretty much smushes those two things together until they’re one thing, and the result is a pleasant drift that never settles on one genre for more than a few seconds and stays appealing and interesting throughout. All the individual sounds, like the glassy walls of keyboard on “Sick” or the happy-sigh New Order beeps of “Look Up,” have an impressive widescreen gloss to them. Arsenault’s voice has that quavery tone that was so popular among mid-’00s indie-dude singers, in which every word means so much that he just can’t choke it out without his throat catching. Some tracks play around with Euro-club house-thumps, which sounds shockingly good with this sort of singing and this sort of production. Nicole Miglis from Hundred Waters shows up on “Gun,” and her airy coo works as an absolutely lovely complement to Arsenault’s emotive gurgle. “Service” has some seriously badass Moroder-style Italo pulsing. There’s a lot to like here.
And maybe, for you, there will be a lot to love. Arsenault’s closest peer might be Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers, another indie auteur who pulls inspiration from wherever and whose songs seem to project meaning, even if you don’t necessarily know what that meaning is. Youth Lagoon has never really gotten past the “pleasant background music” stage for me, but that dude’s music means a lot to a lot of people. I suspect that the same will be true here. And even if you don’t end up loving this thing, it’s still an impressive piece of work, one that you should hear — if you can carve out the time. After all, there is a truly unprecedented amount of great music out there. If something is merely good, you can be forgiven for skipping it.”–Tom Breihan of Sterogum
This concert is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation values the contribution these organizations make to artists and audiences and to society as a whole by supporting, exhibiting and interpreting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice.
The People’s 500 is a celebration of the relationship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the people of Indianapolis, marking the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The exhibit will run through July 16.
In October of 2015, Sugarmann chose 100 residents of the Indianapolis community from a pool of applicants to drive two laps in a pace car — the drivers uniting to complete the equivalent of a single running of the Indianapolis 500. Sugarmann and his crew photographed and interviewed each of the drivers, the resulting documentation serving as the material of the exhibition. Some of the drivers are featured among the 16 large scale photos in the exhibit. There is also video, and a sculptural piece.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway serves as a cultural beacon within Indianapolis, a location of shared history and civic identity for all strata of Indianapolis society. Members of the Indianapolis community feel ownership of the Speedway,” says Sugarmann. “In this exhibit, the pace car is the vehicle through which this mutual connection is furthered, the civilian/citizen being able to immerse him or herself in the environment of a professional IndyCar driver. The People’s 500 uses pace cars to bridge the viewer and professional driver and create an even stronger sense of civic ownership.”
This exhibit is the first at Tube Factory, Big Car Collaborative’s new cultural center with a contemporary art exhibition area. Located in what was a boarded-up factory building on a residential street in the Garfield Park neighborhood, Tube Factory will host a variety of conversations, performances, and events — while also serving as the workshop and home base for Big Car artists.
The People’s 500 is curated by Shauta Marsh, funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Creative Capital, and coordinated by Big Car Collaborative staff in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Framing provided by Editions Limited.
About Jesse Sugarmann: Sugarmann is an interdisciplinary artist working in video, photography, and sculpture. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in venues such as the Getty Institute, Los Angeles; el Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon; the Banff Center, Canada; el Museo de Arte Moderno de Santander, Spain; and both the Paris and Berlin installations of Les Recontres Internationales. Jesse’s work has been written about in publications including ArtForum, Art Papers, the Atlantic, Frieze Magazine, the Huffington Post, and The New York Times. Jesse lives and works in Bakersfield, CA. You can learn more about his work at www.jessesugarmann.com.
About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: The Foundation was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation values the contribution these organizations make to artists and audiences and to society as a whole by supporting, exhibiting and interpreting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice. http://
About Big Car: An Indianapolis-based 501c3 nonprofit, Big Car uses creativity as a catalyst to a better city. By providing and supporting unique, educational, participatory, playful and personal experiences, Big Car engages people of all ages and backgrounds in art making and creative problem-solving — inspiring them to be creative thinkers and involved, connected citizens. Learn more at www.bigcar.org and see examples of our projects at www.bigcar.org/work.
About Creative Capital: Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Our pioneering approach—inspired by venture-capital principles—helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices. http://
About Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility and has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. After celebrating its Centennial Era in 2009-11, IMS and racing fans now look forward to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race this year. In 2016, get ready for an unprecedented celebration of the human pursuit of progress as the world’s eyes turn toward the Speedway. For more information, visit indianapolismotorspeedway.
To celebrate their marriage and the role music played in bringing them together, artists Brelyn Gerard and John Flannelly organized an experimental music festival. Flannellys of the Future Festival will take place April 30, 4-10 p.m. at Tube Factory artpace, 1125 Cruft St. Several musical acts were part the formation of their relationship so the pair wanted to share the music with Indianapolis by means of a free concert. The bands that will be featured are: Bad Psychic (Bloomington), DJ Littletown, Duncan Kissinger, Exploding Head Scene (Philadelphia, PA), Glitter Brains (Bloomington), Oreo Jones & Sirius Blvck, Jeron Braxton & the Tamagotchis (Bloomington), Rev//Rev (Lafayette), Rob Funkhouser, Sedcairn Archives, Skything (Marlboro, Vermont), Teen Brigade (Lafayette).
“Both of us are the kind of people who strive to view life from as many angles as possible, to feel from all those angles even if it means crawling around the floor of the house to feel the space usually reserved for our knees and ankles, or chilling in the bathroom for a shift in perspective,” says Gerard.
Many of the musicians in the festival were part of Gerard and Flannelly falling in love. Flannelly’s music was the first time experimental music clicked for Gerard. “Sitting in our friend’s living room, watching John deliver the experience of his art, I had an ethereal space to sort through my feelings. It was a space that somehow managed to be safe and challenging at the same time,” says Gerard. “After his set at Free House, he threw the flower he’d been wearing on his vest to the audience. I seized it. To this day, that flower still graces my bookshelf.”
Soon after that, on Valentine’s Day 2015, Gerard and Flannelly enjoyed their first date — at the Fountain Square music venue Grove Haus. Gerard sang back up for the band Memory Foam. She found out that Flannely had toured with one of her favorite bands, Shame Thugs, and that he was in the music video for her favorite Sirius Blvck songs. Eventually, Flannelly moved from Bloomington to Indianapolis into Gerard’s friend’s house. After a recommendation from their mutual friend, artist Erin K. Drew, Flannely got a job at the same place where Gerard worked.
“Now, we’re getting married and we’re doing it our way. With all the art projects in the community we’re involved with, neither of us are interested in fussing over centerpieces and flowers. We want to celebrate our love by sharing the music we love, made by the people we love,” says Gerard. “We can’t wait to groove with Indianapolis at the Flannellys of the Future Festival!”
Gerard has a new book, iForgot, out and Flanney a new album, Peace and Quiet now available. For their honeymoon after the festival celebration, the two will travel the country to promote their works.