Above a heavy canopy, the opal gradient of day and night covers the world turning. Liz Harris comes round her stellar orbit to grace us with her first release since Ruins, an A-side sunset and B-side sunrise for the New Year. “Headache” is already entering that special comfort pantheon of “Moving Machines” and “Vapor Trails” and “Lighthouse” and “Vessel.” They’re shimmering songs, their notes played like a code.
There’s no thinking Grouper in black and white anymore. Maybe it’s just that the majority of her concert photography is heavily desaturated and/or B&W, or that almost all of her discography is adorned by greyscale photography and ink drawings, but when her monochromatic crowd gathered at the cemetery this summer solstice, it was hard not to feel stunned, lifted, opened. She wore a big sky blue shirt and played beneath a series of rich technicolor projections. “I’m Clean Now” opens up like a valley.
The sky was blue for the few hours of daylight we had in Chicago today. My bike’s tires were covered in snow and I had to pedal hard even downhill how the zombie wind was blowing so hard. My head hurt, was buzzing with noise and nothing-anxiety, until I jumped off and carried it up the next hill like I was walking into the ocean, catching myself with a smile on my face, not thinking. It was a second’s relief, before I remembered everything, but the sun was shining on my breath and winter didn’t feel endless. This night, turn off the lights, light a candle, cover the windows and walls with the streetlamps and moonlight. Come softly, clean now.