(photo left: Abbey Braden) It was most rewarding to see that All Tomorrows Parties gave Portland OR's Grouper (AKA Liz Harris) the larger room for her September 12th set from Kutsher's resort in the Catskills; the glacial, elegant movements of her solo performances (armed only with guitar, voice, and FX) were befitting of a past-its-prime ballroom where the spectres of 1950's-1970's entertainment loomed large. That and the fact that a large room's acoustics were perfect for her; in front swirling projected images Harris projected murky, oceanic melodies, lumbering overtones and dreamlike drones, all a seemingly symphonic creation all at the hands of one person and a guitar. It sounded very controlled yet completely vague and very much non-digital sounding. Surrounded by this, you feel completely transported by these dense yet never-overpowering clouds of sound, always distant, but directly connected your cortex in a way I think even My Bloody Valentine could not quite accomplish with their live barrage last year. Comparisons to Arvo Part meets Throbbing Gristle are definitely accurate; there's an epicness about Grouper's music that never quite releases its sense of foreboding while at the same time aims to sooth the soul.
WFMU broadcast a good portion of the weekend from All Tomorrows Parties, and we're uploading new performances every day to this blog and the Free Music Archive's ATP collection. Grouper's set was recorded somewhat simply for broadcast by Jason Sigal, a basic mix and room mic is really all needed to capture this.