Posts Tagged ‘Grouper’

Grouper

Grouper’s Grid of Points is bent toward seeing traditional songwriting forms through the process of careful decomposition. The “ruins” of the album aren’t the semiotic representations of homes and personal spaces of its predecessor, but instead fragmented versions of broader cultural comforts: piano ballads, hymnals, and lullabies, all abbreviated, compressed, or otherwise in a state of decay. Grid of Points sees human memory and emotion tied inextricably to that classical musical framework, and it captures both the wonder those forms evoke and their limitations in equal measure. So ephemeral and haunting, by the time it ends you won’t know if it was something you were listening to, or some long-forgotten memory welling up in your head.

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is the solo project for electro-acoustic ambient/noise musician Liz Harris, of Portland, Oregon.

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Kranky have just announced that they’ll be releasing the debut album by a new(-ish) Portland, Oregon band, Helen is the sometimes-active dream rock band that counts Liz Harris aka Grouper as a member, best known for the beautiful, notably quiet music she makes as Grouper, and feature Jed Bindeman of Portland psychedelic rock group Eternal Tapestry and Scott Simmons of Eat Skull and Sun Supreme (as well as ‘Helen’ on back-up vocals, we’re told). They’re described simply as a “pop group” and the album, The Original Faces, comes after a 7″ single, ‘Felt This Way’/’Dying All The Time’, in 2013.and “Motorcycle” is our gorgeous first leak from their debut LP. At just under two minutes, it’s exactly long enough to reel you in: a barely audible ambient opening gives way to a dreamy roar and murky layers of slippery, spaced-out vocals. Then, just when you’re fully enveloped by its sweetly melodic noise, it disappears altogether

“Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely,” says the press release. “The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scott’s demos.” The album’s out on September 4th and they’ve given us a taster in the shape of ‘Motorcycle’

Release date:4th September 2015

GROUPER – ” Lighthouse “

Posted: January 25, 2015 in MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

No other album in 2014 sounded quite like Grouper’s “Ruins”. Liz Harris, from Portland, Oregon. is the musician behind Grouper’s murky world of sound, recorded the album with a four-track tape deck and a single microphone at a house in Portugal, where she was doing an artists’ residency. Each day she walked through the ruins of several old estates, sifting through a lot of what she calls “emotional garbage” and anger. “Ruins” captures this period of soul searching — a delicately woven mix of Harris’ wispy voice, a lone piano and a menagerie of incidental sounds that sneak into the recordings: Distant bullfrogs, crickets, the wind, the creak of a wood floor. It’s a profoundly moving collection of songs that feel almost cavernous, like the dark and empty hole that must reside somewhere in Grouper’s heart.

 

grouper

The ambient US musician’s 10th studio album is “the most heartbreaking and beautiful record of the year by a country mile…”. The album was recorded very simply with a portable stereo microphone next to an upright piano, and even includes a beep from a microwave picked up accidentally. Liz Harris, from Portland Oregon, however, is unlikely to share any of these piscatorial characteristics but the music on her new album ‘Ruins’ does indeed
have more than a little flavour of cimmerian subaquatic mystery about it.

This collection could not, in any terms, be considered “easy listening”. Ms Harris has a disctinctive vision which bares some resemblance to the spectral landscapes conjured by Austrian singer/songwriter Anja Plaschg (aka Soap & Skin) and listening to these eight compositions is among the most unsettling musical experiences I have had this year.

Following an enigmactic introduction, which consists of little more than
a faint heartbeat and what seems, to my hairy ears, to be a few croaks
from a wayward crow, the first song in the set, ‘Clearing’, an arrangement
for voice and piano, unfolds so quietly that it is almost impossible to
discern the half-whispered words but the fragile melody is quite beautiful
in its own way and the sum effect of the piece is strangely captivating.