Album of the Week: Grouper | Shade

When searching for words to describe the music Liz Harris makes as Grouper, I landed on spirit. Spirit music. This seemed the least restrictive while offering a broad choice of definitions to pick from, matching the music in its incorporeal flickering beauty.

Shade is Harris’ latest record and its comprised of music recorded over the last 15 years. While there’s variety in the parts, with tracks moving from relatively unadorned guitar and vocals to layers of haze and noise, the experience of listening all the way through is, as with every other Grouper album, a mysterious moving delight. Touching yet never too close, moving yet never too familiar.

I’ve been following and falling for Grouper’s music since 2008’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, and every new release feels like a fragile treasure to be explored with care, like walking through some ancient landscape without accidentally bringing a butterfly back. Harris crafts albums worthy of repeat and intense listening, breath in slow and deep, offering up views into alien worlds constructed in air, blossoming into jungles of sound that embrace only to recede into silence, leaving us somewhere other than where we began.