Liz Harris (Grouper)
Grouper is the solo project of American musician, artist and producer Liz Harris. She has been releasing material on her own label and other independent labels since 2005. Grouper released the critically acclaimed Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill in 2008, followed by five more records, including a two-part album, A I A, and the piano-led album Ruins. Her eleventh album, Grid Of Points was released on April 27, 2018. On March 8, 2018, the song Parking Lot from the forthcoming album was released via her BandCamp.
She has collaborated with a number of other artists, including Xiu Xiu, Jesy Fortino (Mirrorring), Roy Montgomery, The Bug, Lawrence English (Slow Walkers), and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (Raum).
Harris was born in Northern California and grew up around the San Francisco Bay area. She grew up in a Fourth Way commune there which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff. The community was known as "The Group", which would later serve as some inspiration for the moniker Grouper. According to Harris, the kids called each other and the parents 'groupers' sort of as a defiance. She says: "It was us making our own identities inside a pretty controlled environment, and sort of lashing back maybe... When I had to think of a name I felt annoyed at nothing sounding right. I wanted something that referenced me without referencing 'Me.'" According to her, she "felt like the music was at its barest just a grouping of sounds, and I was just the grouper."
After finishing college, Harris briefly moved to Los Angeles, where she worked with Mayo Thompson at Patrick Painter. Harris is now based in Oregon. Harris’ first album was 2005’s Grouper, a self-released full-length CD-R, followed later that year by Way Their Crept on Free Porcupine (re-released in 2007 on Type Records). In 2006 she released a single (He Knows), one album, called Wide, and a collaboration with Xiu Xiu entitled Creepshow. Harris made available new material steadily through the years, and continued to collaborate with various artists such as Roy Montgomery and Xela.
During her days as a part of a Fourth Way commune, Harris' primary sources for discovering music were limited. With a little help from her parents, whose musical tastes were eccentric and divergent, she discovered Eastern European folk and the American avant-pop band Talking Heads. Through her father, who himself was a composer, she would later discover contemporary classical and early music. In 2008, when she released Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, Pitchfork compared it to classic ethereal releases from the British label 4AD, drawing comparisons to Cocteau Twins and early His Name Is Alive. The Portland Mercury described some songs from the album, such as "Wind and Snow" and "Stuck", sonically reminiscent of the Renaissance period composers Gesualdo and Monteverdi.
LIVING ROOM (GROUPER COVER)
I'm looking for the place the spirit meets the skin
can't figure out why that places feels so hard to be in
we're all of us at this ill-fitting party
busy pretending to relate
and it's getting harder and harder to fake
acting like everything's in its place
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