The Puritan (Julianna Barwick remix)
Continuing her journey into uncharted waters, Julianna Barwick’s remix of This Will Destroy You’s serene composition The Puritan is an exercise in both refinement and intensification. Taken from TWDY’s viscerally cinematic full-length studio LP Another Language (out now on Suicide Squeeze), the Brooklyn-based songstress elicits an invisible structure from the track’s warbling textures and oceanic vastness, distilling and reconstituting the band’s reflective soundscape into a rarefied elemental form. The resulting single is pristine and subtle; a fully immersive pairing of melodic piano with layers of decaying tape textures, anchored and paradoxically tethered to submersed bassline programming and distant, hyperborean 4/4 kick drum. By once again shifting shapes and adding emphasis with the beats she does and doesn’t drop, Barwick is able to forge a totally new path for both herself and instrumental-stalwarts This Will Destroy You. A feat not easily accomplished on either count. Like so much of Barwick’s work, The Puritan remix sounds as if it is both sinking, and, floating.
Barwick made a healthy habit of taking compositional risks and working outside of her comfort zone on 2016’s Will (Dead Oceans), a significant departure from her acclaimed Nepenthe LP. On The Puritan remix, she even discards her celestial and often wordless vocals, for which she is deservedly renown, to astounding affect. As if to match TWDY’s instrumental proclivities in spirit, Barwick progressively unveils a compelling sonic narrative without her central and celebrated vocal prowess. TWDY, on the other hand, embraced the space between the notes on their latest LP Another Language more so than any previous release. Fitting, it seems, that the most subdued track on the album would see a remix. More fitting, that within even such placidity further complexity and order should be extracted from master songwriters such as TWDY’s Christopher Royal King and Jeremy Galindo.
It is easy to see why so many have been swept up in Barwick’s aural currents. Her remix of TWDY’s sonic meditation jaunts into unknown quadrants for both respective parties with marked efficacy, inviting listeners of both Barwick and TWDY into a synergistic, inimitable experience. With filtered and processed piano tones acting as light beacons along the way, and propelled by a undercurrent of sublimated rhythm, Julianna Barwick has reimagined The Puritan as an existential voyage whose destination can be arrived at only in time.