This is music that challenges and provokes. It may require a bit of effort to 'get' Grouper, but it's worth it. And as this record illustrates, even her cast-offs are stunningly good.
Catchy would be the wrong word to use here, but these songs have a staying power as unassuming yet durable as moss on the side of a stone.
Where many of the tracks on The Man Who Died in His Boat could have been as easily thrown away as the debris that floats across the ocean, Grouper's conceptual vision and subtle songwriting makes this an immersive and ethereal addition to her impressive catalog.
When it really hits, as it often does here, the music of Grouper creates a feeling that can only be defined as awe, an uncanny mixture of wonder and dread that nobody does better.
This is an album that follows the drifting of a boat at sea, and discovers that even the most pleasant journeys can end in nothingness.
The Man Who Died avoids the stigma of outtakes releases because it’s an ideal entry point into one of the most distinctive, fascinating musicians of our time.
It is apparent from the start that the album is a valuable piece of work in its own right however and its reclaimed origins should not bring any negative preconceptions.
Her music isn’t quite as inert and emotionally crushing as all this might suggest, but it remains a masterclass in medicated bleakness.
The simplicity of the material, recurring song after song, enables it to settle on a room like perfume; it affects through generalities rather than the specifics of a particular melody or lyric. But by the same token there’s very little to distinguish this album from its counterpart.
|# 22 -||Consequence of Sound|
|# 11 -||Gorilla vs. Bear|
|# 4 -||The 405|
|# 90 -||The Quietus|
|# 44 -||Tiny Mix Tapes|