A priori, nobody would say Liz Harris, the brain of Grouper, needs outside help in order to expand and invigorate her sound. Her band is a powerful, fascinating example of expressive and creative autonomy, in which the singer and composer needs only herself to shape their noisy and vaporous dream-pop as she pleases. But what would happen if you added the talent of Jesy Fortino, another hardened sharpshooter, responsible for Tiny Vipers, to that solitary and well-defined dynamic? The answer is: Mirroring, a new project joining two different but complementary visions by two key voices from the modern US underground.
The main virtue of this project bringing the two together under the supervision of the Kranky label is the internal logic they unite their respective sounds with. They do it completely organically, without abusing the cut'n'paste or forcing anything. It doesn't seem a coincidence that “Fell Sound” and “Silent From Above” open the album. The former is 100% Grouper, it could be taken from any of their records: a cloud of feedback as the central theme and Harris’s distant, ghostly voice as the human and organic element in its mantra of embellished noise. And the latter sounds as if it's been taken from Tiny Vipers' “Hands Across The Void”: nostalgic folk, in the vein of Vashti Bunyan, without any additions, pure and simple in its forms, dedicated completely to the voice.
But with the third track, “Cliffs”, Harris and Fortino start to develop a more common idea. Melancholic drones mix with soft guitar riffs; they start playing more with the voices and sound effects. “Mine” is probably the best example of this, but I can't help but think that, in general, “Foreign Body” is closer to Grouper’s sonic and especially emotional universe than to that of Tiny Vipers. The record is in accordance with Harris's search for the minimal and simplicity on her most recent records, and is a notable addition to her discography— it's not really important what name appears on the sleeve. For Fortino, on the other hand, this project is a curious tangential adventure, which, I suspect, won't be of much influence on her next album.