The Man Who Died In His Boat is the laest release from the ethereal sounding Liz Harris better known as Grouper. The album features previously unrelased songs that were recorded alongside her 2008 breakthrough album Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, their minimalist chord movements and guitar strums are an undercurrent to the drone like ambience that she sings over. The songs are solitary and introspective…her sparse delivery is sonically veil like…catching just glimpses of emotion before being dissolved by the grey fog on an early morning coastline. The ebb and flow of sound throughout the album conjures the natural movement of wave and wind which provides evocative images of a memory upon which the album is founded:
“When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach. The remains of the vessel weren’t removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside.
“I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man’s presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home.”
Grouper doesn’t set out to make dramatic changes…Grouper is Grouper…and it’s difficult to imagine her sounding any other way. She is in a comfort zone that she knows every corner of…a sound that has a lived in and aged edge to it. Music to absorb alone…entrancing like the driftwood found on a deserted beach…the soft rounded edges shaped over time by the relentless wash of sea and wind.