When: Thu., Sept. 29, 9 p.m. 2011
This spring Grouper, aka Portland multi-instrumentalist and singer Liz Harris, released a pair of companion albums, Dream Loss and Alien Observer (Yellow Electric), and calling their ambient folk-pop murky would be like calling the weather in Antarctica brisk. Accompanying her own gentle singing with guitar, piano, or synthesizer, Harris bathes everything in layers of reverb and hiss—it sounds like the music was recorded through a wall, or copied from one cassette tape to another four or five times, and that quality is almost important as the songs themselves. The first of the two albums was recorded before what Harris has described as "a hard time," and the songs, which ripple around one- and two-chord skeletons, do seem portentous of something dark—they're pretty but full of ominous shadows. Alien Observer, cut after the hard time, sounds just as hazy, but the songs have a celebratory air, with more elaborate melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies—it's not exactly upbeat, but after Dream Loss, it feels triumphant. —Peter Margasak This show is part of Adventures in Modern Music; see here. Carlos Giffoni headlines; Grouper, Starlicker, and Vockah Redu & the Cru open.