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.
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."
"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).