TIP OF THE TONGUE 24 NOVEMBER 2005


Grouper
Way Their Crept
Free Porcupine Society FPS-014
CD
OUT OF STOCK!

Grouper is the solo nome-de-plume of Bay Area artist, musician and Yellow Swans associate Liz Harris and Way Their Crept is her first fully-available CD, following a tough-to-locate self-released CD-R that came out a while back. It is also one of the major releases of the year, a massively charged hit of post-Skaters vocal swarm that makes for one of the most profoundly moving and elementally powerful works ever scored for the human throat. Harris’s wordless (?) vocal conceptions move in huge clouds of indeterminate reverb, delay and degrade, with slow-motion sunbursts of sighs and vapour trail songs generating cotton-wool tremors that evoke countless barely-revenant memories, as huge choirs of disembodied souls dissolve into the muzziest single note guitar and synth codes. The whole thing feels so completely divorced from the physical, all blooms and breaths and barely an angle in sight, that it brings to mind early choral pieces by Allegri and Palestrina re-worked for post-pot consumption, with echoes of Keiji Haino’s Nijiumu rituals, Richard Youngs and Simon Wickham-Smith circa “Goat”, William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, the Two Daughters LP and cassette and Meredith Monk’s Key as well as contemporaries like The Skaters and Inca Ore. The cover blurb mentions Throbbing Gristle and Arvo Pärt and that makes a lot of sense too. Late November, with the whole world caught in a still lightning of ice, Way Their Crept feels like the perfect soundtrack for the slowest cycles of the sun. Highest possible recommendation and a wildcard late entry for album of the year.



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