Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat (2013)
Somewhere at the intersection between sleep and awake, there is a point at which the real and surreal blend, a point at which the conversations inside and outside your own head collide, a point at which the sensical and nonsensical swap and interfere with each other. Where confusion and understanding are one, where time and space distort to nothing and where the unexpected is familiar. And at that point, you will find Grouper.
Grouper is the nom de plume of American Liz Harris, guitarist and solo electro-ambient/noise artist.
Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time of listening, The Man Who Died In His Boat is a collection of outtakes from a previous album Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008); not that it feels like a collection of outtakes.
Instead, this is a collection of dream-pop tracks, reminiscent to me of Julee Cruise (whose voice graced the Twin Peaks soundtrack), albeit with a more experimental lean. The dreamy synth and vocals mix and swirl into dense layered and reverberating drone. Piano keys echo and bounce in timeless manner on Vanishing Point, while chorus voices drag and intersect at snail’s pace on Difference (Voices). This is a deep ambient album that is easy to get lost in and distorts your sense of time.
While I would have to be in the right mood to put this on, it certainly is an interesting album. The more experimental tracks certainly hold more interest to me, but overall, there is a lot to be had; these are certainly not cast-offs, and the album feels cohesive despite the genesis of these tracks.
Favourite tracks: STS, Difference (Voices), Vanishing Point
Spotify link: Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat