Cover the Windows and the Walls
01: Cover The Windows And The Walls (05:47)
02: Opened Space (05:22)
03: Down To The Ocean (06:07)
04: Heart Current (04:41)
05: It Feels Alright (06:02)
06: You Never Came (5:29)
07: Follow In Our Dreams (2:58)
this pushes my current "most beautiful album ever" - "Wide", by the same Grouper to the 2nd place
this is not even music, but a place where your consciousness transcends when you press "play'It doesn't really seem possible that the music of Grouper could get any more beautiful, any more majestic and epic, or any more mysterious and dreamlike. No, but what it can do is change, and grow, expand, and subtly alter its shape and timbre, it's coloring and shading, which is what it has been doing, on every single outing, but never so much as on Cover The Windows And Walls. The core of Grouper's sound remains unchanged, dense bleary eyed fields of druggy reverb, thick swirls of blurred vocals, smeared into indistinct melodies, all abstract and shimmery, soft focus and billowy, the musical version of those soft fuzzy grey clouds that fill the sky at twilight. It's still an impossible blend of Arvo Part, Morton Feldman and Skullfower, but the new record sounds a little bit more, well, folky maybe, or perhaps slightly less tripped out. A lot of it has to do with the vocals, which have attained an until now unheard of clarity. Which in no way means you can actually hear the vocals, they are still another gauzy layer in Grouper's blown out soundscape, but, sometimes, they -are- a bit clearer, you can actually pick out words here and there, sometimes even whole lines. Before, if we hadn't been told, we wouldn't necessarily have even known that the main element of Grouper's sound was in fact vocals. They were that indistinct and that drenched in FX. But here, it actually sounds like a singer, singing songs, but just barely, it's almost like listening to some super lonesome stripped down folk, recorded onto a wax cylinder, and then broadcast through a huge speaker mounted at the very bottom of an elaborate cave system, the songs careening back and forth and picking up more and more reverb and echo with every bounce, until they become this blissed out beautiful blur. Thick buzzing single guitar notes spread out into wavery fields of murky muted twang, which wrap themselves serpent like around the equally disembodied vocals. Imagine a field recording of ghosts performing ancient folk songs, a whispery thrum, so barely audible, that it's nearly impossible to capture, but once it is, and the sound is turned up enough to be audible to the human ear, it becomes this gorgeously distorted smear of sound.
What else can we say about Liz Harris and her Grouper project? We've hardly heard anything this beautiful and mysterious ever. EVER!
-aquarius recordsI’ve never been able to contain my undying love for Liz Harris’s Grouper project. In merely three albums (this vinyl-only beauty being the third) she has shot to the top of my favourite artists list, and ‘Cover the Windows and the Walls’ is perhaps her most accessible to date. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with someone about the wonders of Grouper and he was convinced that the records owed a lot to the Thames valley shoegazer scene, whereas I was babbling on about Popul Vuh and the like. So I didn’t see the shoegazer reference then, on hearing this album it all became painfully clear – this is Grouper’s shoegaze record. Harris’s wonderful scene-setting debut album ‘Way Their Crept’ was mostly vocals, and the followup ‘Wide’ began to incorporate guitar and even piano into the tracks, but here almost every piece has decomposed, feedback laden, almost drowned guitar sounds underpinning them, creating a soup of electric noise not so far removed from My Bloody Valentine’s classic ‘Loveless’. Okay so mass appeal might not be right around the corner, but this is breathtaking, heart trembling stuff – and even has moments where you could (almost) sing along. The opening title track is possibly one of the finest Harris has yet committed to record, with the curving waves of guitar perfectly matched against her unique vocals – still smothered in curls of smoking noise and crumbling ambience. I find it hard to sum up my feelings about her music in language, this is the sort of record I can play and fall into a trance for the entire duration, melting away into the bubbling lava of sound, becoming enveloped in some of the most gorgeous and most subtle harmonies this side of the spiritual plain. I won’t say any more save that this is a one time pressing of 300 copies and is already sold out at the source, we have 30 copies left and they’re gonna go quick so PLEASE order now if you want to secure yourself one. And why anyone wouldn’t want to own something like this is totally beyond me… so crucial and without a doubt one of the albums of the year for me.