Julianna Barwick Gear Guide
2013 saw the release of Julianna Barwick’s third studio album ‘Nepenthe’ and like her previous albums, The Magic Place and Florine, Nepenthe featured the looping reverb laden vocals that made her earlier tracks so popular.
In the video above, Julianna talks about her recording process and we get a quick glimpse of the products she uses to create her signature style. We also take a closer look at the pedal boards and effects processors being used in her home recording setup.
In the video, Barwick uses an older version of the RC-300, the RC-50, however this model was recently discontinued by Roland and upgraded with the RC-300. The Boss RC-300 is one of BOSS’s most popular loop station pedals and features three synchronized stereo tracks with individual volume knobs and footswitches for each track.Like the RC-50, it’s built in an ultra-durable metal chassis offering 99 memory locations, each with three independent stereo or mono loop phrases.
As demonstrated in the video, a great selling point of these Boss loop stations is the ability to create ongoing loops. The RC-300 gives you the ability to manipulate three stereo phrase tracks simultaneously and with each track supporting multiple overdubs you can record phrase upon phrase on each track resulting in an incredible wall of sound.The improved RC-300 also gives you more than enough space to keep your loops and offers three hours of recording and loop storage.
If you look closely, the vocal effects in this video are being created by the TC Helicon VoiceTone Create XT. This Vocal Processing and Effects Pedal allows you to add multiple effects to your vocals whilst you perform and record. In this case, the setting most used by Barwick are the luscious reverb effects. Though the Voice Tone Create XT has since been discontinued, you can easily create these vocal effects with a range of vocal processing pedals.
Our favourite is the TC-Helicon Voicetone Mic Mechanic, a simple vocal effects pedal that allows you to add reverb, delay and pitch correction to your vocals. This easy to use pedal features a simple design and is incredibly easy to use. The Mic mechanic features 8 reverb and echo presets with dedicated settings to control room size for reverb and tap and slap settings for delay whilst it also comes with controls for Adaptive EQ, Compression, De-essing and Gating.
The final component in Julianna’s setup is a portable sampler. In this case, she’s once again chosen Roland and we can see the Roland SP-404 being used to assign samples as she’s recording. Yet again this is an aged model, so we’ll focus on the upgraded product, the SP-404SX. The SP-404SX provides you with the ability to record an endless supply of loops and recording in real-time is made easy with the pattern sequencer which features quantize mode to ensure you record in time. This sampler is great for stacking instrument and vocal sounds and will allow you to continually layer sounds and instruments samples while the SP-404SX continues to loop. You can store 120 patterns (12 patterns x 10 banks) and when you play a pattern with the Pattern Sequencer, the LEDs surrounding the display blink according to the tempo, which is handy during live performance.
For more information on Julianna Barwick, visit her website here