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Grouper

A I A : Alien Observer

Kranky

Released: 1st November 2019



A I A: Dream Loss and A I A: Alien Observer, the ethereal ambient masterworks from Grouper, are back on vinyl for the first time since 2012.

‘Alien Observer’ might be the more outwardly song-based of the two records, and while the songs aren’t necessarily as clearly defined as those on ‘Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill’, they slowly and pointedly push up through Liz’s familiar gaseous layers of drone. Her distinct, breathy tones are initially barely audible over the mudded harmonies, starting life as ghostly echoes, but the further you get into each track the more clearly defined shapes start to emerge.

It's music that no doubt changes with each listen and listener – you're left to fill in the gaps, and while we can hear the heaving breaths of the Cocteau Twins, The Red House Painters and This Mortal Coil wrenching themselves from the subconscious, you would probably come to a different conclusion altogether. ‘Alien Observer’ is a markedly different record from its predecessor, and comes across as a deeply thoughtful blend of the harrowing, sincere experiments of Liz’s early records and the sort of songwriting that lodged ‘Heavy Water’ in our collective memory back in 2008.

A I A: Alien Observer tracklist:

01. ‘Moon is Sharp’
02. ‘Alien Observer’
03. ‘Vapor Trails’
04. ‘She Loves Me That Way’
05. ‘Mary on the Wall’
06. ‘Come Softly’
07. ‘Strangers’