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Foreign Body

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iTunes Review

Brooding textures and melancholy come together on Foreign Body, a collaborative project by Grouper (Liz Harris) and Tiny Vipers (Jesy Fortino). Under the name Mirroring, these two Pacific Northwest artists make soundscapes of striking beauty, painted with chilly sonic colors that don’t disguise the warm human undercurrents within. Harris’ austere, quietly dramatic sonic backdrops are complemented by Fortino’s stark acoustic guitar work and softly keening vocals, at times suggestive of The Cocteau Twins’ more somber works. “Fell Sound” and “The Mirror of Our Sleeping” frame the album with grand overarching drones, while the clearly limned “Silent from Above” and the gauzy, vaguely Celtic “Cliffs” place greater focus on Fortino’s haunting lyrics and evocative singing. Foreign Body’s high point is “Mine,” a track both stately and intimate in mood. It builds from a misty opening into a grand industrial buzz at its climax. Collectively, the album achieves a pleasing midpoint between the more ruminative side of freak-folk and the outer edges of low-fi ambient music.

Customer Reviews

The True Sound

It IS electronic, in the sense that electronic processes were used alongside what some might see as more traditional elements. You'll hear drowned out dream wishes on the opening track, and you'll here stripped down acoustic and vocal the next, but the entire album is set in an otherworldly, (more like the way the world IS that we are blind to), perpetual sunset-scape mood, and even the lone guitar chatters off into infinity from the subtle processing and layering. A true beauty.


Beautiful! This is definitely not electronic though...

Headphone Commute Review

Besides all of the effort that I am trying to put into writing this review with the appropriate adjectives, only three words come to mind: serenity, simplicity, and beauty. Even the press release which accompanies this collaborative release by Jesy Fortino and Liz Harris tends to avoid many words: “One could try to assess what part of the album each artist was responsible for, but that would prevent one from seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.” Perhaps this loss of language is induced by the celestial atmosphere painted with songs in enigmatic dialect, on this gorgeous release by Kranky. The six contemplative tracks on Foreign Body by a newly devised project called Mirroring reflect on an inner state of mind, untouchable by concepts and words.

The seemingly ethereal guitar chords are embraced with soft fuzzy vocals, drifting just above the surface, with enough space to grasp another breath of air, before submerging in subconsciousness of sound and mind. The album retains its detachment from the burden of reality by drenching the sound in clouds and haze. Some of the Pacific Northwestern rainy atmosphere seeps into the tracks, recorded at a songwriting session in Portland. Although not explicitly stated, I can hear the analog recording equipment through the lo-fi approach embraced throughout the album. The production harbors traces of drone and noise, but in the foreground the music remains unclassifiably gentle and warm. The lyrics slip between the reverbed instruments, lingering at edges of comprehension, before dissolving into barely decipherable ghostly echoes. Precisely how I like my lyrics to feel…

Track titles like “Silent From Above”, “Cliffs”, and “Drowning the Call” hint further at vast distances of spacious soundscapes covered by music of these two talented musicians. Jesy Fortino has recorded under her Tiny Vipers alias, with two full length releases on Sub Pop: Hands Across The Void (2007) and Life On Earth (2009). This is her first official collaboration, not counting her vocal appearances on Balmorhea‘s All Is Wild, All Is Silent (Western Vinyl, 2009), and vocal samples on Orcas‘ 2012 self-titled release on Morr. And for Foreign Body Fortino could not have chosen a better partner. Liz Harris, is none other than Grouper, who has been recording since 2005 (but only caught my attention with her 2008 release on Type, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill). In 2011, Harris released an AIA series published by Yellow Electric and Kranky, followed by her very latest, Violet Replacement (Yellow Electric, 2012). So if any of the above references have excited you, you absolutely must get Foreign Bodies.

…and by the time I realized that Foreign Body is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year, the track “Silent From Above” is permanently stuck in my head on an endless loop…


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '10s

Mirrorring is the collaboration of two of the Pacific Northwest's most evocative musicians: Portland, Oregon's Liz Harris, aka Grouper, and Seattle, Washington's Jesy Fortino of Tiny Vipers. The pair issued the album Foreign Body, which blended Harris' mastery...
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Foreign Body, Mirrorring
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Customer Ratings