Julia Holter | Aviary


Family Average: 4/7

Lovers of baroque pop, and ambient music rejoice, Julia Holter is back with yet another addition to the collection! Any of you confused with that should also rejoice you just learned two new fun words to throw around! Just to be clear this is an album and we did in fact listen to it. Special guest Nick Kreber even stopped by to throw his two cents into it. Okay lets get on with it then.

Listen along on Spotify and read on to find out:


Musical ideas! I constantly catch myself telling up and coming artists we review to try these things. Today I finally have an album to point to for reference. Julia Holter, has never been an artist to sit in one place, and this album stays true to that. From the delicious four minute crescendo beginning to the long drawn out sparse sounding tunes, she makes some moves and shakes that keep my bones moving and also shaking (May be signs of a serious medical condition, but whatever). Of the songs put into this I was most impressed with “Chaitus” and “InGardens’ Muteness” Both songs do such a great job adding to the over atmosphere of the album. The entire time feeling like I am walking around a long abandoned planet completely reclaimed by vines, and moss.  



Julia Holter is one of those artists that just kinda stuns you. Her experimentation may prove too abstract for some, but you have to admire her ingenuity. Holter does pop, but skewed. She’s pushed us down a rabbit hole and suddenly we’re chasing her through the labyrinth of her mind. It’s a beautiful mess of different instruments, filled with energy and depth, completely non-linear and unconventional. Each track is it’s own thing, with fleeting thoughts and moments that immerse you into intimate, albeit chaotic, worlds. She aggressively blends synths, strings, horns with her vocals to create a distressing and euphoric experience. I was left in a meditative daze and my brain felt like goo. Name another artist who successfully merges bagpipes -- yeah, bagpipes -- into a chamber pop album. I’ll wait.



The first song sets the tone for this album. She is taking you on a journey of her own creation.  She experiments with various sounds and instruments in so many different ways. For me, there were almost too many different experiments going on at the same time, making it difficult to appreciate her talent. I found the song "Chartius" to be extremely  interesting, like chamber music with a modern edge. I feel she is striving to create an compilation of music strung together for a higher purpose and I am sure she is quite an amazing talent. I just don't think it had enough appeal to me. While I do value her ability as a musician, this Genre isn't for me.



So my first two listens of this album were not too positive. However, as we all know, the third time is a charm, right? Well, not so much with this collection of songs. This album reminded me of a morning dawn or church choir. When I say morning dawn, I envision a film with the sun rising behind the trees and morning dew on the grass, and I know this sound pleasant, but not so much to my ears. This entire album sounded like a collection of intro songs, it felt like they were all building to a larger, much more exciting point, which never really happened. This album, with very long songs, stayed at a very consistent level throughout and all sounded similar, with the exception of “Whether,” which contains more lyrics and the rhythm is more my pace. Overall, this album was too, not sure how to describe it, more of an atmospheric aural wash, akin to a slight shift in the weather.



I looked up the definition of “aviary” because I felt I should know it to gain some knowledge going into the brain of Ms. Julia Holter. It’s a large cage or enclosure for keeping birds in, yes that fits this environment she’s created.
Not sure what's going on but it's beautiful. Powerful, profound, passionate, different.
What she's doing is different and it's working. Art, abstract that is, that makes you a bit uncomfortable, brings you out of what is safe and comfortable.
She's a composer.
It evokes the image or sense of a kind of a dark garden or forest fairy world.
Just otherworldly indeed, another state of being
The album cover is actually perfect...
I will say I did get kind of bored though.
Some of it too experimental for my taste like : "Everyday is an Emergency"
I think that may have been contingent on my mood though.
In an altered state of mind this album would probably scare you silly.
I can assure you, you won’t feel the same as you’re leaving that bird enclosure.



YEEEEEAAAAH! This is my GIRL. (I don't really know her personally heh).

Man O Man I cannot stop listening to this album. Granted I don't just keep chain smoking this thing, but I have found myself popping this baby on at least once a week. This thing is hard to crack, apparently the artist believes that this album doesn't have to be listened as a whole, each song truly is its own world badda boooom. Nevertheless I usually like to listen to this thing as a whole. I mean there are so many memorable parts of this thing. My favorite song would have to be all of them. In short, give me ur brain.



Very Gothic with the organs, it sounded very much like a score to a strange dreamy movie with mythical creatures bouncing about an enchanted forest. Then at times it also sounded like church music, or Christmas carols. With most of the track over 6 minutes long I must admit I did skip around a bit looking for something catchy or familiar. I believe she has a good voice, but the music did not appeal to me. I think she is very talented and very different from mainstream music, so i believe she has an audience out there, just not for me.


Sean Maldjian