Grouper’s mystical ambience comes through clearer than before on Grid of Points | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Grouper’s mystical ambience comes through clearer than before on Grid of Points 

click to enlarge Grouper


Tanja Engelberts

In a spring Pitchfork feature about Liz Harris, who records and performs as Grouper, contributor Ben Ratliff wrote that when she submitted the new album Grid of Points to Kranky, the Chicago-based label “at first worried that listeners would feel short-changed.” The record, which came out in April, ends at 22 minutes, but Harris makes such thorough use of that short span that asking for anything more feels gluttonous. Her gentle keys, barely perceptible and frequently overdubbed singing, and use of space and field recordings have the capacity to make time appear frozen, with her spectral voice suspended in the air. I’ve frequently lost track of the hours listening through Grouper’s catalog, to the extent that the album titles occasionally feel meaningless, though the altered moods do the work of distinguishing one set of tracks from the next, as does Harris’s slow progression away from reverb and fuzzy ambience over her career. Grid of Points comes through disarmingly clear without losing Grouper’s charming musical ambiguity.   v

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