Review Summary: Grouper once again proves her mastery over atmosphere and ambience can create a truly stunning experience.
Imagine floating amongst the ocean tide. The waves caress your body as you gaze up at the boundless night sky. You are engaged in perfect relaxation, both your mind and body are at complete ease. This is the scene that the music of Liz Harris, under the pseudonym Grouper
, portrays. Grouper creates sonically rich ambient tones and carries your ears with soothing drones. On her fourth release, the double LP A I A: Dream Loss / Alien Observer
, Liz takes you on a voyage through the cosmos, to the bottom of the ocean, and even into the realm of your subconscious. She takes you by the hand, leading you through comforting sonic waves and layers of dense soundscapes.
On Dream Loss
, Grouper provides a less immediate sound, with pieces expanding gradually over time as they slowly open up, releasing huge walls of sound and crushing noise. An example is the track “I Saw a Ray,” where Liz immediately follows the previous track and opens with a dense wave of distortion that slowly envelops you, while less menacing tones dance above your head, just out of your reach. As Dream Loss
progresses, lo-fi guitars create layered winds while Liz’s comforting croons lay buried, seeming lost in the inescapable void of sound.
On Alien Observer
, Grouper presents a more comforting experience as opposed to the uneasy fog of a looming storm that carried Dream Loss
. She presents a calming atmosphere, and brings forth some of the acoustic singer songwriter elements seen on her last album, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hil
l. On the title track, Liz carries you through the stars while her soothing voice and floating chords encompass you in a realm of beauty and mystery. Alien Observer
puts you at complete ease, wandering through the farthest reaches of space, indifferent as to whether or not you’ll ever return home again.
A I A
has Grouper at the top of her game, once again proving that her mastery of atmospheres and ambience creates a stunning experience. With two full length LPs, clocking in at a total of 80 minutes, this colossal collection is perfect for a nightly stroll, long drives, or just looking out at the stars. A I A
invites you to immerse yourself in pure sound, and to take a blind dive into unknown territories; you never know where you’ll end up.