Grouper | Adam Bork
Ballroom Marfa presented an ethereal evening under the stars with Grouper 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.”
In addition to her special outdoor performance at the Crowley Theater Harris also recorded a 7-inch record in Marfa, featuring two songs she describes as “sparse pieces on the Rhodes [piano], with desert sounds.” Ballroom Marfa released the limited-edition record—with cover art by Harris.
The evening 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.
This event was free and open to the public.
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.