Johanna Warren is a dream psychedelic folk singer songwriter from Portland, Oregon. Her wonderful songs are built around the philosophy and enduring belief that we can always be better, despite the hurt and despair we put each other and ourselves through.
Gorgeous doses of ’60s/’70s style folk, essential for fans of Nick Drake, as well as Elliott Smith.
“A luminous folk fantasia that’s really quite beautiful” – Stereogum
When asked what motivates her to make music, Johanna Warren responds immediately: “Music is vibration; it’s a direct way to affect matter. A song is a way to journey into places of discord and then resolve back into harmony.” The Portland songwriter/multi-instrumentalist constructs complex, gossamer folk compositions that draw from the richness of the human experience and her own unique flavour of mysticism.
Last year, Warren released Gemini I, the first of a pair of conceptually connected albums written and recorded in the throes of a rocky romantic relationship with another artist. “All the songs on both records are about a complicated three-year relationship with a Gemini man,” she says. “It was very much a ‘twin flame’ situation. We were working with bright light and intense shadow.” As a way to process this emotional chaos, Warren began to write in earnest as a form of self-therapy. Eschewing the more abstract lyricism of her earlier work, she began to create a suite of confessional songs about the blessing and the curse of romantic love.
The albums that resulted, Gemini I and Gemini II, are moody, bewitching records packed with layers of occult symbolism and personal mythology. Every song on Gemini I has a corresponding “twin” on II, linked by melodic motifs, lyrical content or production choices. This time equipped with a sudden wealth of instruments and more sophisticated technology, Warren who arranges and play nearly everything on her records, felt free to explore. This spirit of experimentation is evident on the records. The songs retain the hushed warmth of previous releases Fates and nūmūn, while expanding Warren’s sonic landscape in all directions.
“A minutely examined and revelatory emotional upheaval, a view of a failed romance sung with meditative grace” – The New York Times
“Like the moon and stars in the sky that never fail to impress with their brightness no matter how well we have their movements mapped out, Warren’s music has the power to also shine through predictability” – Paste
“Heartbreaking and stirring” – Pitchfork