6 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ethereal, spectral, and absolutely gorgeous, AIA: Alien Observer was easily one of 2011's finest releases. Yet what genre do we stick this woozy and slowly evolving stuff into? Is it experimental or alternative rock? It’s hard to find an act as purely interested in experimentation and melody with equal measure. No matter what you’re doing when you first hear music by Liz Harris (a.k.a. Grouper), after a few minutes it’s hard to not find yourself doing nothing but listening. It has that kind of intense, vacuum effect, drawing you in. Take a song like “Moon Is Sharp,” where layers of reverb swim atop a sea of echo, slowly unveiling a gently strummed electric guitar and a pretty singing voice. The way the slowly reverberating sounds morph from abstract pleasure to pop bliss and then smudge themselves back into an ambient smear is surprisingly cathartic. It sounds good, too.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ethereal, spectral, and absolutely gorgeous, AIA: Alien Observer was easily one of 2011's finest releases. Yet what genre do we stick this woozy and slowly evolving stuff into? Is it experimental or alternative rock? It’s hard to find an act as purely interested in experimentation and melody with equal measure. No matter what you’re doing when you first hear music by Liz Harris (a.k.a. Grouper), after a few minutes it’s hard to not find yourself doing nothing but listening. It has that kind of intense, vacuum effect, drawing you in. Take a song like “Moon Is Sharp,” where layers of reverb swim atop a sea of echo, slowly unveiling a gently strummed electric guitar and a pretty singing voice. The way the slowly reverberating sounds morph from abstract pleasure to pop bliss and then smudge themselves back into an ambient smear is surprisingly cathartic. It sounds good, too.

TITLE TIME
6:48
3:56
9:04
8:34
6:07
4:33

About Grouper

A one-woman ambient project from Portland, Oregon, Grouper -- aka Liz Harris -- first appeared with the self-released full-length CD-R Grouper in 2005. Later that year, and then signed to Free Porcupine, Grouper released the critically acclaimed Way Their Crept. From there, a series of recordings were made available, including a 3" CD entitled He Knows in 2006 and the 12" Weird Forest release Wide in 2007. In the meantime, Harris earned extra props from the genre as a whole with her 2006 collaboration album with Xiu Xiu entitled Creepshow. In addition to releasing work on Free Porcupine and Collective Jyrk, Grouper also saw releases on Type Records, which was responsible for the re-release of her groundbreaking Way Their Crept in 2007, as well as her 2008 work, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill. The expansive double album AIA followed in 2011. Harris also collaborated with Tiny Vipers' Jesy Fortino as Mirrorring, who released their debut album, Foreign Body, in 2012. The Man Who Died in His Boat, a collection of songs Harris recorded at the same time as Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, arrived in early 2013. The following year saw the release of the relatively stripped-down, piano-driven Ruins, which Harris recorded during a trip to southwest Portugal in 2011. ~ Chris True

Songs

Albums

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