Nivhek | After Its Own Death / Walking In A Spiral Towards The House
Sunday is a day of rest and for some of reflection. You could say that Nivhek's album contains the best of both of those two worlds. Recorded using Mellotron, guitar, field recordings, tapes, and broken FX pedals, the album was developed during two residencies Harris spent in Azores, Portugal and Murmansk, Russia, as well as at her home in Astoria, Oregon. Harris describes the album as “a requiem, a ritual, to unlock and release feelings”, explaining that the music communicates “a toxic concentrated reduction of something much darker bubbling beneath”.
After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house
The new project from Grouper’s Liz Harris contains some of her most beguiling work. Spread across two long, contrasting ambient compositions, her music remains in an enigmatic class of her own.
Liz Harris is just barely audible in her own music. Her voice, when she sings, is usually so low that the words sit just below comprehension, teasing that part of the mind that wants to find meaning in the things it struggles to discern. You are forever just about to comprehend a Grouper song. You don’t.
This uneasy little purgatorial space—between understanding and mystery, between anxious hum and beatific drone—is where Grouper’s music lives. It’s where a lot of us live, and Harris’ ability to speak to this place might explain why her music commands such consistent reverence. Rarely does ambient music, by definition lacking sharp form or borders, generate such a specific clutch of recognizable human feelings; rarely does it feel like one person’s breath in our ear. Harris’ music, as diffuse as it is, feels like traveling around inside of a mind.
Last week, she released a project consisting of two long, exploratory works, each broken into two pieces. Working under the name “Nivhek,” she collaborated with visual artist Marcel Weber on an audiovisual installation, one that corresponded with a residency in Portugal and the Russian Arctic. The work, taken by itself, has some of the serene, harsh quality of the landscape itself. The first piece, “After its own death,” is darker and thicker-sounding than anything on either 2018’s Grid of Points or 2014’s Ruins. It is immediately one of the most potent pieces she’s released in a decade. Over the course of its runtime, it expands and contracts and changes shape a number of times, gathering mass with foreboding blobs of tape and Mellotron and then dissolving into solitary bells and gongs, glimmering into thick silence. The atmosphere is severe, a landscape of vast emptiness that nonetheless throbs with alien, unforgiving life.
- A After Its Own Death: Side A
- B After Its Own Death: Side B
- C Walking In A Spiral Towards The House: Side C
- D Walking In A Spiral Towards The House: Side D
|Genre:||Experimental, Abstract, Ambient|
|Drager:||Vinyl, LP, Vinyl, LP, 45 RPM, All Media, Album|