Marfa Dialogues

Grouper

Grouper, Adam Bork

30 May 2010


GROUPER
SUNDAY, 30 MAY 2010
With Adam Bork
Outdoor performance at the Crowley Theater
8 pm

Ballroom Marfa presents an ethereal evening under the stars with Grouper, Sunday, May 30, at the Crowley Theater.

Grouper, the recording and performing project of Liz Harris, makes music with a combination of field recordings, vintage keyboards and effects-laden guitars. On albums like 2008’s critically lauded Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, her ghostly vocals drift like wisps of smoke through fractured moonbeams; lines of guitar emerge like discarded nets from the surf, tumbling back into a rolling sea of soft noise shortly after they appear.

Harris grew up in Northern California on a commune operating under the philosophy of G.I. Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher who claimed a secret understanding of ancient religious texts. The reverberations of Gurdjieff’s thinking on humanity’s place in the universe, and his ideas about the sleeping state in which most people pass their time, are easy to hear in Harris’ dreamlike music.

They seem particularly evident in the field recordings that comprise the organic ambience that lies beneath many of her pieces. “They’re a sound I am not in control of, a sort of ephemeral chorus singing along however they feel,” Harris says. “They’re guides, collaborators.”

“I like specific types of sounds but I still just take what environments give me: Naturally resonant, natural reverb, long and repetitive tones. Water and industry are some of my favorites.”

In addition to her special outdoor performance at the Crowley Theater on May 30, Harris will also record a 7-inch record in Marfa, featuring two songs she describes as “sparse pieces on the Rhodes [piano], with desert sounds.” Ballroom Marfa will release the limited-edition record—with cover art by Harris—later this year.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Marfa,” she says. “It seems like a place of extremes, sparseness, a good place to be by oneself. I’d like to go around the desert a bit, go star-watching.” And, of course, she intends to collect the sounds of the Far West Texas high desert grasslands to take with her when she goes.

The evening will begin with a performance by Adam Bork, a photographer, musician and filmmaker living in Marfa, Texas. Bork has performed his music at numerous venues nationwide, incorporating slide shows of his own photographs alongside found images.

Please join us for the show, which starts at 8 pm, behind the Crowley Theater, located at 98 Austin Street in Marfa. Limited seating will be provided, so bring blankets!

Listen to the Talk At Ten radio interview with Grouper on Thursday, May 27 at10am on KRTS 93.5 FM or streaming live at marfapublicradio.org. The interview will be rebroadcast Sunday, May 30, at 2pm.

    The Grouper performance is made possible through the generous support the Texas Commission on ohe Arts and Ballroom Marfa’s Front Row members. Special thanks to The Big Bend Sentinel, Daniel Chamberlin, Crowley Theater, Marfa Industries, Marfa Public Radio, and Marfa Recording Company.