Boomkat Product Review:
We first discovered Liz Harris (aka Grouper) with the release of her frankly heart-stopping debut album 'Way Their Crept'. It's unusual that an artist will appear out of the blue like that, with little hype or chatter from the music scene but there she was with a record which has stayed at the top of my listening pile ever since. Her concept was defiantly simple, spacey compositions based around degraded echoes and feedback with the main sound-source being her timid but beautiful voice. As wordless syllables became trapped in whirlwinds of distorted fuzz the tracks would begin to reveal submerged melodies and slowly become micro-symphonies, rich and harmonically complex in their structure. I'm sure there was a great deal of serendipity in this, but that lo-fi charm is what made the disc even better, and thankfully she has retained all of this on her followup album 'Wide'. Harris begins the album simply enough with a track barely distinguishable from those on her debut, however as the second track 'Little Boat / Bone Dance (Audrey)' begins with a lightly strummed electric guitar it becomes obvious that 'Wide' is going to push her sound into new avenues. Indeed as the song rolls on we're treated to an almost 'classic' structure rather than the meandering, bubbling ambience which Harris has made her trademark. Without losing sight of what made her tracks so interesting in the first place she has managed to incorporate a different outlook successfully, and this is never more evident than on the piano-led (!) 'Giving it to You. Possibly the least 'Grouper' of all the tracks, her sound is evident only in the feeling it leaves in amongst the unaffected vocals and resonating piano, gone is the feedback and delay but the core emotion is still present in spades. 'Wide' is an exciting chapter in the diary of an exceptional experimental musician, and an album which is sure to be popping up on many a top 10 list at the end of this year. Quite startlingly beautiful.