This record has safely made its way into my record collection thanks to its appraised placement in top Ambient record lists. Grouper is the name and behind it a lone musician, Liz Harris, who utilizes her delicate voice like an instrument. She adds an eerie sad loneliness with her solitary tone hazing the soundscape like a spirit drifting across the voids of space between stars. As the name suggests and possibly plants the seed, the atmosphere conjured feels distant, astral, unusual and alien. Yet its pleasant, spiritual and most importantly relaxing. This is a very warm and welcoming sound that flirts with ambiguity with innocence and safety in mind.
Unfortunately this music has not sucked me in all the way. Minimalism and ambience can often pay a price for its simplicity that leads to similarity. In the case of Alien Observer it doesn't feel all that unique. Liz has crafted a beautiful aesthetic of dreamy, weary instruments glazed in a mysterious low fidelity charm but the melodies that play through it are meandering and without intent even if childlike for the most part. Of course that can be a strength too in pursuing a vision but each track does little to stand apart as the experience seems to linger in the same spot.
All the songs feel the same. However Mary, On The Wall starts off with a music box melody. Its eerie background noise and slow pace creates a unique moment that vanishes as the notation concludes and rides us into the familiar wash of warm cloudy sounds. Liz's voice is magnificent, drifting through the cloudy ambience like a lost soul. Its endearing and in a couple of moments where she rises above the music with audible words it becomes illuminating but the instrumentals lack conclusion. Much of the record reminds me fondly of Julie Cruise. As a result the place we visit doesn't feel all to new and so it was an enjoyable record but didn't forge much to remember.