If you don’t know Grouper, aka Liz Harris, there’s going to be a lot of new for you here, so buckle the fuck up.
Liz is now part of the very walls that make up ambient music. Yes, ambient music is a genre. Don’t believe me? Think about it. You’re all chill and shit and wanting some nice tunes to swim in the background while you go about your shiznit. You go ahead and put on Brian Eno; no wait, Eric Satie; no, that’s not right, Aphex Twin’s Ambient Works II. Fuck, that’s a lot of different styles and mindsets. What about movie soundtracks? Most of those are ambient as shit. Goddamn, that’s a lot of ground to cover.
So, what is ambient music? You know how most music tries to grab your attention in any way possible? It would repeatedly kick you in the balls if it could. Well, ambient music does the opposite of this. It wants to remain somewhere just out of sight. Somewhere in the corner of your eye line. In that place between the channels two and three. It’s similar to a movie soundtrack that way. Its job is to be forgotten yet remain compelling. This is a difficult thing to fucking do. People dedicate their lives to the craft. It’s fucking fantastic.
Even though Liz has only been releasing shit since 2005, she’s up there with the ethereal giants. Her albums Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2013) and AIA: Alien Observer (2011) are essential albums for any avid ambient listener. She started her career using electric gear and a lot of effects. In her last couple albums Liz has been slowly making her way over to vocal and piano music. She’s simplifying the art and focusing on the songwriting. She’s trying to find the base form of what ambient is. In this album, there is nothing but her vocals and piano to comfort you. The entirety of it runs a mere 22 minutes. But holy fuck is this enough. Even though the album comes and goes quicker than most of you shit, it leaves a lasting impression. Somehow, while still being ambient music, it has a depth and honesty that gives it weight. This album was written in a week and a half. Liz got a high fever that stopped the process from continuing forward. When she was healthy once again and tried to go back to it, she realized that was it; the album was done. I believe there is something in this story that contributes to the album’s weightless depth. It’s a fever spurred delirium on tape.
Honestly? This shit might drive you fucking crazy at first. All you’ll hear is someone half playing piano and randomly singing. This is the type of shit that only hits you in the right mood. This album reminds me of the lonely girl at the party. At first you might casually ignore her as you try to mingle with the rest of the crowd. But as the night goes on, you realize that you’re drawn to her. You want to know what’s going on in her mind. This is the soundtrack to her brain. It stays like a secret throughout the day. Yet another great addition to the Grouper discography that’s instantly forgettable even though its echoes remain with you for days.