Grouper Musician

Bob Roberts
• Wednesday, 16 December, 2020
• 10 min read

Background informationBirth name Elizabeth Anne Harris Born (1980-07-15) July 15, 1980 (age 40) West Marin, California, U.S. Origin Astoria, Oregon Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producerYears active2005–presentLabelsYELLOWELECTRIC, Root Strata, West 25th, Peak Oil, Cranky Associated acts Mirroring, Slow Walkers, RAM, Xiu, Ilya Ahmed, Inca Ore, Roy Montgomery, Helen, Niche Grouper is the solo project of American musician, artist and producer Liz Harris (born July 15, 1980). Grouper released the critically acclaimed Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill in 2008, followed by five more records, including a two-part album, A A, and the piano-led album Ruins.

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Harris was born July 15, 1980, in Northern California and grew up around the San Francisco Bay Area. She grew up in a Fourth Way commune there which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff.

The community was known as “The Group”, which would later serve as some inspiration for the moniker Grouper. According to Harris, the kids called each other and the parents 'groupers' sort of as a defiance.

After finishing college, Harris briefly moved to Los Angeles, where she worked with Mayo Thompson at Patrick Painter. Harris’ first album was 2005 ’s Grouper, a self-released full-length CD-R, followed later that year by Way Their Crept on Free Porcupine (re-released in 2007 on Type Records).

Harris made available new material steadily through the years, and continued to collaborate with various artists such as Roy Montgomery and Bela. In 2008, she released Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill.

An Music reviewer Heather Shares praised the album for showing more musical range than Harris' previous work and for “letting more melody, more structured songs, and even a few phrases emerge from the ether.” Pitchfork gave it 8.2 stars calling the work “an arresting album of pastoral psychedelic pop”.

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(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Early in 2012, Grouper performed Violet Replacement in the UK and Europe, a pair of long form tape collage pieces which originally took shape for commissioned performances in New York and Berkeley. Besides, she collaborated with Jess Fortin of Tiny Vipers to release an album Foreign Body under their common moniker Mirroring.

At Berlin's Club Transmediale festival in early February 2012 Harris performed Circular Veil in collaboration with Were Cantu-Ledesma. Somewhere between an installation and a performance, it found her extending her more concise music outward into eight hours of music, designed to mimic one full sleep cycle.

Grouper's studio album titled Ruins was released on October 31, 2014. The album is relatively stripped-down; piano, voice and field recordings.

The majority of the album was recorded in Alter, Portugal in 2011, while Harris was on a residency set up by Valeria He dos Boys. That same year she appeared on The Bug'album providing vocals for the track “Void”.

Her curated program included films La Double Vie DE Véronique by Krzysztof Kielowski and Lighthouse by Paul Clip son and music performances from artists Marisa Anderson, William Basin ski, Marcia Bassett & Samara Labels duo, Boltzmann/Leigh, Skin Film, Meiji Having, Roy Montgomery, Coby SEY, Tiny Vipers, Wolfgang Vogt and Richard Young's. During her days as a part of a Fourth Way commune, Harris' primary sources for discovering music were limited.

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(Source: www.dazeddigital.com)

With a little help from her parents, whose musical tastes were eccentric and divergent, she discovered Eastern European folk and American avant-pop. Through her father, who himself was a composer, she would later discover contemporary classical and early music.

In 2008, when she released Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, Pitchfork compared it to classic ethereal releases from the British label 4AD, drawing comparisons to Cocteau Twins and early His Name Is Alive. The Portland Mercury described some songs from the album, such as “Wind and Snow” and “Stuck”, sonically reminiscent of the Renaissance period composers Geraldo and Monteverdi.

Collaboration with Jorge Behring er under the artist name “Flashlights" (2006) Visitor,, 10" vinyl. Collaboration with Ilya Ahmed (2011) Foreign Body, vinyl and CD.

Collaboration with Tiny Vipers under the artist name “Mirroring” (2012) Slow Walkers, vinyl. Collaboration with Lawrence English under the artist name “Slow Walkers” (2013) The Event of Your Leaving, vinyl.

Collaboration with Were Cantu-Ledesma under the artist name “RAM" (2013) Felt This Way/Dying All The Time, 7" Vinyl. Collaboration with Jed Lineman and Scott Simmons under the artist name “Helen” (2013) Void and Black Wasp (taken from Angels and Devils and Exit EP), vinyl.

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(Source: www.tinymixtapes.com)

^ Harris revealed her birthdate in a post via her official Instagram account, which reads: “Two months I squealed my way into the world on Ian Curtis birthday” (Curtis was born July 15, 1956). Grouper's Liz Harris Explains the Art of the Paradox and the Beauty of Mistakes”.

“Mt St Helen 40 years ago today. Two months later I squealed my way into the world on Ian Curtis' birthday, who died two weeks after the eruption”.

^ “Listening & Playing Alone: The Strange World Of Grouper ". ^ “Interview: Grouper and Paul Clip son discuss 'Hypnosis Display “.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, Elizabeth Harris later moved north up the coast to Portland, Oregon, and made her debut with the self-released, self-titled CD-R Grouper in 2005. The critically acclaimed release led Harris to sign with the independent label Free Porcupine Society.

Grouper ’s debut release on the label was “Way Their Crept” in 2005, which earned significant praise from portions of the musical press. The single “Tried” arrived in 2007, as did the re-release of “Way Their Crept” by Type Records, followed a year later with the release of “Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill”.

grouper ruins harris liz album music vogue
(Source: www.vogue.com)

“The Man Who Died in His Boat”, Harris’ eighth studio album, was issued in 2013 on Cranky Records. Led by the single “Vital” the album, like many of its predecessors earned significant critical acclaim from the musical press, only bettered by Harris’ subsequent full-length “Ruins” released in 2014.

This is the kind of concert where you can just sit back and enjoy your smokes and a nice adult beverage. Grouper, the project of Liz Harris, drew abstract fragile spaced-out threnodies on a canvas of droning slow-motion foggy ambience woven by trembling keyboards and guitars Way Their Crept (Free Porcupine Society, 2005).

This piece segues into the lugubrious moaning of Sang Their Way, something like a musique concrète version of a pack of wolves howling at the moon. All of Grouper's creatures are short psychological vignettes except for the nine-minute Close Cloak, which is better envisioned as a fantasia of sorts, mutating from the ecstatic minimalist repetition of the beginning into a thick nebula of pulsing black holes and wailing ghosts only to end into a somber requiem-like murmur.

This is all very abstract and introverted, musical in a non-musical manner, a blurred dreamlike collages of sounds, the soundtrack to a disorienting Joycean stream of consciousness but without any of the tragic overtones; a post-mystical experience. A heavy vibration (almost a hard-rocking bass riff) propels Imposter In The Sky into the space of Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive, although treated with the usual strategy of blurred repetitive minimalist.

The stringed instrument sounds like a zither in They Moved Everything and it definitely accompanies the ebbing and flowing of the vocals rather than simply weaving an atmospheric bed of drones. The vocals, however, remain as cryptic and inaudible as before in the slower, martial, gloomier and murkier Opened Space and in the subdued, howling and wailing of Down To The Ocean.

music grouper liz harris album electronic meditative disarming denis ethereal albums
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There are still moments of unpredictable creativity like when the wavering, rude riff of You Never Came, coupled with a whisper that is only a hiss, evokes a slow-motion version of Donovan's Hardy Gordy Man. The album closes with the sweetest vortex, Follow In Our Dreams, that simply repeats a celestial melody around a simple guitar pattern, the ecstasy of humility.

Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill (Type, 2008) adopted a more traditional song format while maintaining the otherworldly dimension of her reverb-drenched, introverted, whispered dream-pop. The winners, unsurprisingly, are the wordless elegies that hark back to her first album, such as the six-minute Stuck, against a much simplified backdrop of strummed guitar instead of alien drones, the mournful feathery Tidal Wave and Wind And Snow, a languid impressionistic sound painting.

Even the brief distorted When We Fall, that sounds like the beginning of a Velvet Underground litany, is worth more than the various imitations of a traditional folk-singer, which she obviously is not (best in that vein is the crystal madrigal Invisible). The concept is framed by the extreme shoe gazing of I Saw A Ray, for gritty droning noise and ethereal chanting, and the eight-minute score of Soul Eraser, a lethargic multi tracked lullaby lulled by a turbulent sea of chords (like a funereal remix of Jazzy Star).

This is a strategy that can go both ways: derail into confused mumbling (Atone) and facile looped melodies (Wind Return), or soar as a mythological creature, like the ecstatic dilated mood piece A Lie and the ghostly wordless whisper within a muffled rumble of No Other. The trivial 37-minute Rolling Gate consists of dirty drones that don't change much until about 28 minutes into the piece, when they begin to fluctuate back and forth like waves, and then eventually pick up volume.

Ruins (Cranky, 2014), another collection of leftovers (this time from 2011), indulges in an odd form of spartan formalism: piano elegies and instrumentals that de-emphasize emotion and prize the most understated Calvary of the human soul. The eleven-minute droning composition Made of Air, a leftover from 2004 that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the album, is basically added in lieu of a “bonus track”, perhaps to redeem the mediocrity of the preceding pieces, but it belongs with Violet Replacement to the category of self-overrating ambient art.

(Source: blogs.walkerart.org)

Los lo-core d'vanguard DI Grouper divine all steps tempo più Mario e corps in Wide (Free Porcupine Society, 2006). The UN alto late, Agate Beach è quasi dissonance, risotto AI Sufi standard (melodic) passage: drone strident membrane fluctuate l'UNO control'alto, niece Che essay in Armenia.

Shadow Rise Drowned è l'UNIDO mezzo Che Vitoria all mood cull ante, elegiac e lyrics Del prime album. Le part vocals son ache più prominent SU Cover The Windows And The Walls (Root Strata, 2007), DAL lento into Ramakrishna Cover The Windows And The Walls all fine substrate DI Heart Current e It Feels Alright, entrance LE quasi membrane raconteur RNA Astoria, ache SE è impossible cap ire SE vegan pronunciation driver Dell parole.

Le part vocals, ad Agni mode, resting, come prime, critical e difficilmente edible Ella più lent, marriage, cup e confuse Opened Space e in Down To The Ocean, COSI dimes, ululate e laments. Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill (Type, 2008) adopt RNA forma-canzone più traditional, PUR Montenegro la dimensions the alto mono ti pica Del so dream-pop immerse in riverbed, intro verso e sussurrato.

Ache la breve e distort When We Fall, Che son come l'Indio DI RNA Titania DEI Velvet Underground, vale più Dell varied imitation Della folk-singer traditional, Che ovviamente lei non è (in quell vent IL Merlin è rappresentato DAL madrigals crystalline Invisible). Quest strategic pub portal in due direction: derailleur in UN Morris confuse (Atone) e in delicate melodic in loop (Wind Return), o library come RNA creature biological, come Ella piece A Lie, DAL mood static e dilatation, e hello spectral Saussure senna parole No Other, immerse in UN Romeo attuning.

I love minute DI Vapor Trails volcano via lung UN'orbit simile, Ireland Parliament IL late occur (dissonance) dell'accompaniment instrumental. She Loves Me That Way indulge in Otto minute DI riff cosmic pulsate e part vocals somnolence e porticoes.

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(Source: www.interviewmagazine.com)

Violet Replacement (Yellow Electric, 2012) è IL so favor più ambitious: due lung hi collage DI registration ed electronica improvisation e prevalentemente instrumental: Rolling Gate e Sleep. Le calzoni son seventh troops stare (Cloud in Places e The Man Who Died in His Boat) e quasi sonnambule (Being Her Shadow).

Ci son Solano UN PAIO DI moment in coo Grouper abandon IL so state passive, ed è per adventure Angora più passive, ma in RNA manner più intricate: Ella diffraction e allungamento psychedelic DI Difference, SU RNA pulsation ribollente, e Ella vignette psychological Vanishing Point. E instrumental come Labyrinth son UN PO' imbarazzanti (repetition DI explicit pattern Che richiedono solo la più primitive Dell technical).

La composition DI Medici minute per drone Made of Air, UNO Sarto Del 2004 Che non ha assolutamente null a chef are con IL rest dell'album, è Augusta predicament come “bonus track”, probabilmente per remain la mediocrity DEI pizza precedent, my fa part, con Violet Replacement, Della category DI ARTE ambient auto-indulgente.

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