Record of the Week #1

Record: Ruins by Grouper

This year I have decided to broaden my musical horizons and try and listen to some of the vast collection of records that Adrian has. Well, he is picking records and I am listening to them, and then I thought it would be good to write a little bit about them, what I thought of them, etc. This is in part because he has a seemingly unending collection and also because he won't let me forget about the time I likened something he was listening to as the sound of cats fighting in a bin. This also makes for great blog content because it's a little different from the fashion or beauty posts that usually define this site!

First in the series is this record called 'Ruins' by an artist called 'Grouper.' Adrian explained that it was just one woman and a quick Google search established that, rather than being a type of fish, Grouper is actually an American woman named Liz. Ruins is her tenth studio album, and therefore she must have a pretty big following. I actually prefer when music is a little more subversive; I suppose coming of age in the 90's and taping the top 40 off my ancient tape recorder in my bedroom to make my own 'Now!' compilation I find it difficult to appreciate chart music today. It seems very contrite and mass-marketed, which I guess it is; but there doesn't seem to be much soul to it at all, and I don't mean that in terms of genre, but rather, it's very empty and rather boring, or so it seems to me.

Potted history of my musical opinions aside, I really liked this album. It was very hazy and contained lots of interesting sounds, for example you could hear it raining, and swampy frog noises, interspersed with lots of lulling swooping melodies and shifting musical crescendos. I liked the way that one song seemed to merge into the next although there were clear definitions between the tracks. It was a fascinating listening experience which I have to admit I wasn't expecting. 

The record has a picture of piano keys on the front and on the back there is another black and white image which is very grainy and distilled. This sets the par for the album really, the cover art is a good reflection of the music inside, which is again something I never really considered. I suppose with more mainstream music you would tend to get an album bearing a wistful photograph of the artist staring off into the middle distance, which is all well and good but doesn't really set up the musical theme of the album. This was the first time I really thought about the correlation between the art and the music, which became more apparent as I listened to the album. I don't think there was a particular track that I liked the best; but there were also no tracks that I didn't like, and I would like to listen to it again.

Word to best describe this album: Interesting

Will I put it on my iPod? Yes

Have you listened to this album before and what did you think? Please let me know in the comments!

XO Amie
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