When listening to Julianna Barwick's music, it can be a little surprising that such a big, engulfing sound is being made by one person. When Barwick performs live, she seems to accept this; although she is the only person on the stage, she does not set herself up in the centre, but places herself slightly off to the side, as if to give the music itself the centre stage and focus of the audience. This is backed up by her fairly plain and unspectacular lights and background, which perfectly induce the audience to close their eyes, or stare into the middle distance, and lose yourself for an hour or more.

Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo

Barwick's voice is the core of her music, and at the start of the performance, it is this instrument that dominates the sound. But, as she expertly builds at a measured pace, that strong voice moves back and forth amidst the other layers, melding into the overall sound. Her ethereal songs blend together to a point where they seem to be constructing a new, bigger piece. When certain recognisable melodies, vocal or musical, come drifting across the soundscape it sounds like an old friend waving to you from across an incalculable gulf, but one which you feel you could be lifted up and over by the grace of the music Barwick has built.

Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo

After about 45 minutes of playing solo, Barwick invited the violinist Apollo from support band Tiny Leaves to join her for the second half of her set. With the addition of these strings, skimming across her delicate compositions, they magnificently brought to life songs like 'Bleached', from her most recent album Will.

Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo

After over 90 minutes of these elegiac constructions, which felt like no time at all, Barwick took her much-deserved applause. Returning for an encore, she took requests from the crowd and played out with a beautifully hopeful 'One Half', which left the entire audience floating out of the venue on a cloud.


Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo
Julianna Barwick @ Hackney Oslo