Grouper - Ruins
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2014 Ratings: #41 / 845
Year End Rank: #25
User Score
Based on 218 ratings
2014 Ratings: #24
October 31, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Kranky / Label
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Tiny Mix Tapes

Harris’s analog mastery has created an inhabitable space of intense clarity, so that the silences become suggestions of the room she made them in, a sustained window. The affective work of Ruins is to translate with heartfelt precision the time and space of its recording, to collapse the world of its making and its consumption.

The Line of Best Fit

It stands as both a fascinating new direction, and a heartbreaking memoir of a period now sinking into the past.

FACT Magazine

Ruins is one of her finest works, full to the brim with emotion in spite of the aching space at its heart.

‘Ruins’ is probably the quietest record you’ll hear in 2014. Just Harris and a piano for the most part, it’s a stripped-bare set that unfolds slowly and almost shocks you out of your seat when an unforeseen accoutrement like the pinging of a microwave on instrumental piece ‘Labyrinth’ pierces the elegiac elegance.

What we're left with is achingly beautiful and ... almost unnervingly direct.

The 405

Grouper tenderly and quietly beckons you nearer, allowing the sadness to seep into your bloodstream. Lyrics are distant and difficult to decipher, however it isn't hard to comprehend the emotional weight of each track


Whereas Harris has often used drones, fuzz, white noise and feedback to overwhelm the humanity her music, here she is exposed and unadorned.

Drowned in Sound

The memories that Harris explores on Ruins are to us what those physical Portuguese ruins were to her - decontextualised mysteries, distant waves whose ripple hints at some past trauma we’re locked out of.


At once soothing and devastating, Ruins suggests Harris' power and versatility are only growing.

'Ruins' becomes an unexpected gem: that rare album that reels you in without even trying.
Consequence of Sound

Ruins is what its name suggests: spacious, haunting, and delicate.

While the documentary vibe of the album is entirely engaging, immediately plunging the listener into a very real physical context, this is an album that requires a serious effort to unpack.
It’s individual music that’s overt about putting us in a thoughtful mindset.
Pretty Much Amazing
Despite consisting of well-crafted, thoughtful songs, the emotional gutpunch that is to be expected from a Grouper album never quite arrives over multiple listens.
NOW Magazine
The quietness is also the project's greatest weakness. At times, it leaves the album feeling incomplete or intrusive, as if we're peeking in mid-thought.
Her mystic, delicate tunes spread and creep just to take your breath and let you suffocate in your reflection.
Naked. deadly beauty.
Grouper made me a fan of her work with her project A I A Alien Observer. On that album, she produced some beautiful songs that literally give me chills. It's one of the few albums that I listen to that I can consider an experience.
Unfortunately on Ruins, Grouper moves toward a safe and less intriguing musical style. Many of these songs are piano driven, with her barely decipherable vocals buried beneath the keys. There is nothing that is at all bad; Ruins is a fine listen. But Grouper has ... read more
Ruins es por lejos el mejor material de Grouper, pero también uno de sus más inocentes. Sólo se necesitaron pianos limpios y algunas melodías tibias para hacer de este trabajo, el más hermoso, profundo y singular que alguna vez haya escuchado en toda mi vida. Es increíble la intimidad que uno percibe al escuchar esos pequeños actos de osadía; como si fueran registrados en cintas reposando en el azar, para asentar delicados momentos de ... read more
This writer is not willing to label the latest Grouper CD as achingly beautiful. It is, however, a very lovely, well produced ambient wonderment worthy of addition to the library of those of us drawn to this sometimes achingly beautiful genre of electronic music. Interestingly enough, my lovely sat and listened to the music and said to me...this is gorgeous. Smiling I nodded my head in agreement. Many parts of "Ruins" is simply, gorgeous.
Interesting record that finds its beauty in the shapes of small, minimalist and emotive pieces of music that perfectly fit together like little gems in an elegant necklace. Liz Harris shows all her songwriting and ambience crafting talent in this great effort, this time focusing more on piano compositions then landscape textures of field recording, but definitely bringing emotions to the skin.
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#18/Pitchfork (Dream Pop)

Track List

  1. Made of Metal 
  2. Clearing 
  3. Call Across Rooms 
  4. Labyrinth 
  5. Lighthouse 
  6. Holofernes 
  7. Holding 
  8. Made of Air
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Added on: August 14, 2014