A Grouper video for “Ode to the blue” has been shared. Director Dicky Bahto reveals this insight, “Liz sent me a love song in the middle of the worst part of the pandemic in Los Angeles to think about making a film for. I was depressed and scared and felt incapable of thinking. She mentioned picturing people kissing; and “maybe something in a graveyard.” I wanted to see my friends. I wanted to feel intimacy again. I thought: what if the film is just people making out in graveyards?”
Dicky continues, “In Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights I found myself surrounded by graves for people who, like my own grandparents, had survived the Armenian and Assyrian genocide a little over a hundred years ago. After a year of fear over the pandemic, growing support for rightwing authoritarianism, and the escalating climate crisis—with a popular narrative that we’re living through the end of the world— I needed the reminder that the end of the world is always happening somewhere, and even if we don’t survive the end of our world, we might as well enjoy the pleasures of love. Watching my friends kiss was a hot, fresh breath direct from their mouths that made me feel a joy I hadn’t experienced in far too long.”
The twelfth full-length by Pacific Northwest artist Liz Harris aka Grouper is a collection of songs spanning 15 years. She characterises Shade as an album about respite, and the coast, poetically and literally. How we frame ourselves in a landscape, how in turn it frames ourselves; memories and experiences carried forward mapping our connection to place.
An ode to blue / What lives in shade
Songs touch on loss, flaws, hiding places, love. Deep connections to the Bay Area, and the North Coast, with its unique moods of solitude, beauty, and isolation—a place described and transformed by the chaos and power of river-mouth, wild maritime storms, columns of mist that rise up unexpectedly on the road at night. Portions were recorded on Mount Tamalpais during a self-made residency years back, other pieces made longer ago in Portland, while the rest were tracked during more recent sessions in Astoria.
Throughout, Harris threads a hidden radiant language of voice, disquiet, and guitar, framed by open space and the sense of being far away.
Echoing a lighthouse, burying the faults of being human / Into things that we project upon the sky at night.