In the last few years, Liz Harris, better known as Grouper, has made a habit of releasing albums built from past recordings. Don’t call these outtakes, or rarities, or anything you’d think of as a compilation, though. Last year’s The Man Who Died In His Own Boat may have been made out of music from half a decade earlier, but it flowed and was constructed with tremendous care — and it was a fitting process, considering how Harris’ music can often sound like the accompaniment to a hazy half-forgotten memory. Now Harris has announced she will release her newest album, Ruins, this Halloween, and this one was made from recordings mainly done in 2011 (and one that was recorded in 2004 at her mother’s house). It’s especially exciting to hear this news when you take into account that 2011 was right around the time we heard Grouper’s stunning release A I A, a double LP containing the records Dream Loss and Alien Observer. Check out the Ruins track listing, a statement from Harris, and give another listen to her Man Who Died below.
Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village.
The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.
01. “Made of Metal”
03. “Call Across Rooms”
08. “Made of Air”
Ruins is out 10/31 via Kranky.