Let your imagination roam. Jonathan Barlow's multi-instrumental performance on Wakeabout weaves indie and chamber music together into vibrant and idiosyncratic textures. With a sense of fun and exploration, he interacts with instruments in traditional and experimental ways and blends electronic elements and sounds from household objects of personal significance. This genre blurring music ranges from whimsical to anthemic and has an approachable intricacy and positive vibe.
This is a growing collection of the soundtrack music that I've written. In these recordings you'll hear me play cello, violin, djembe, mbira, marimba, ukulele, guitar, bass, tin whistle, and piano. I also build my own instruments and use broken instruments. I often blend my music with sounds from wine glasses, bottles, my daughter’s toys, pages turning, hitting cushions, whistling, lap drumming, clapping, snapping, stomping, pots, pans, spinning coins, and vocalizations from me, my daughter, and my wife. I also incorporate recording experiments and electronic elements. I interact with instruments in unusual ways and alter their sounds with various preparations and extended techniques.
Torn Cloth: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
I wrote the soundtrack to this indie documentary and performed all the instruments heard on these tracks. This film was an Official Selection in the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Durango Independant Film Festival, and Starz International Film Festival. Torn Cloth tells the story of a young group of orphan boys from the poorest regions of Thailand who seek refuge at a camp where they are trained to become professional Muay Thai fighters. Muay Thai fighting is extremely dangerous as fighters are allowed to kick, punch, knee and elbow. The camp is run by a retired soldier and professional fighter, Jawee, who raises the kids as his own. Jawee takes the children around the country to fight in Buddhist temple fairs. In these fights, the older boxers of the camp battle against the Thai's oldest rival, the Burmese.
Friends & Friends of Friends
My piece ‘I Remember This Place’ was chosen for the 2016 Tender Loving Empire compilation (Disc 2, track 19). 'Friends & Friends of Friends' is an annual compilation of music curated by the Tender Loving Empire record label in Portland, Oregon. Its a real honor for me to share an album with killer acts like Y La Bamba, Magic Sword, Radiation City, and Willis Earl Beal! A British online and print music guide called Soundsphere Magazine featured my track on their blog saying: "Man, here’s some super-powerful, stunning music from Jonathan Barlow."
Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist
Blalock's Indie Rock Playlist (BIRP) has been curating cool music for the better part of a decade. They have built up a following of many thousands of listeners and I was so excited when they chose my music to be on the February 2017 playlist. Check out my track and all the great music on this month's compilation right here! Also, enjoy the beautiful original album art by Parisian artist Barbara Bernhardt and check out her other work too!
I formed the Massif Trio to perform my arrangements of German Lied for two guitars and voice. We were described as “one of the best we’ve heard in years” by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. In the summer of 2010 we signed with Azica Records and received a grant from The Allied Arts to record an album. Massif Trio plays Schumann, Schubert and Strauss is available worldwide and has been featured on Classical Minnesota Public Radio with host Alison Young (KNOW-FM 91.1). ALL MUSIC GUIDE listed the CD as a “Significant New Classical Release” and reviewed it as “a masterful performance filled with keen musical insight, evocative text painting, and enticing sound quality (4.5 out of 5 stars).”
Dichterliebe, 16 songs on Poems by Heinrich Heine
1. Im wunderschönen Monat mai [1:35]
2. Aus meinen Tränen spriessen [:50]
3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube [:34]
4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ [1:28]
5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen [:53]
6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome [2:22]
7. Ich grolle nicht [1:40]
8. Und wűssten’s die Blumen [1:08]
9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen [1:30]
10. Hor’ ich das Liedchen klingen [2:06]
11. Ein Jűngling liebt ein Mädchen [:58]
12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen [2:33]
13. Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet [2:14]
14. Allnächtlich im Traume [1:15]
15. Aus alten Märchen [2:27]
16. Die alten, bösen Lieder [4:13]
Three Songs on Poetry by Otto Julius Bierbaum
17. Traum durch die Dämmerung [2:51]
18. Schlagende Herzen [2:23]
19. Nachtgang [2:25]
Four Songs on poetry by Johann Gaudenz Freiherr von Salis-Seewis
20. Der Jűngling an der Quelle (D. 300) [1:41]
21. Das Grab (D. 330) [1:45]
22. Herbstlied (D. 502) [2:00]
23. Pflűgerlied (D. 392) [1:36]
"Innovative...Jonathan Barlow has carved a place for himself" Classical Guitar Magazine
“Massif Trio produces a masterful performance filled with keen musical insight, evocative text painting, and enticing sound quality.” Mike D. Brownell – ALL MUSIC GUIDE, CD review
“One of the best we’ve heard in years.” Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
“There have been a number of attempts to adapt the great Lieder cycles to the guitar or guitar duo. Jonathan Barlow’s version of Schumann’s Dichterliebe is the most successful that I have seen.” Jonathan Leathwood, Chair of the Guitar Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“Lieder singing with guitar accompaniment (instead of a piano) is not a new idea but using two guitars instead of one may be a first.” American Record Guide, CD review
All Music Guide
-Review by Mike D. Brownell
Often done to increase the number of customers that would purchase a given musical publication as well as to reach a broader audience, the practice of transcription has been commonplace for centuries. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the practice was increasingly expanded to include more unique combinations of instruments resulting in products that could be peculiar or even unpleasant. Such is not the case with the tastefully and impeccably written arrangements heard on this Azica recording of the Massif Trio. Two guitars and a tenor are united for exceptionally enjoyable performances of Schumann's Dichterliebe, Schubert's four songs on poems by Salis-Seewis, and Strauss' Op. 29 Three Songs. Arranged by guitarist Jonathan Barlow, the utmost care is taken to ensure the original wishes of the composers were taken into account, even altering the tuning of the guitars to capture the complete range of the original piano accompaniment. The warm, gentle sound of the two guitars provides a wonderful backdrop for tenor Nathan Bird, allowing the subtle nuances of his voice to shine through without having to fight against the more powerful piano. As a whole, the Massif Trio produces a masterful performance filled with keen musical insight, evocative text painting, and enticing sound quality. At only 42 minutes in length, however, the short album will certainly leave listeners wishing there was a bit more on the program.
American Record Guide
Lieder singing with guitar accompaniment (instead of a piano) is not a new idea [but] using two guitars instead of one may be a first. It was done [here] to achieve a better balance between the singer and the accompaniment...[Among the] best performances here are Schubert’s simple and folksy lieder, like ‘Herbstlied’ (Autumn Song) and ‘Pflügerlied’ (Plowman’s Song).