GROUPER, DANIEL MENCHE, PORT ST. WILLOW
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Liz Harris can silence a room without saying a word. There's something about the deeply meditative music she creates as Grouper that facilitates a full-body shutdown, allowing listeners to tap into forgotten memories and tenuous dream states. We're talking about audio hypnosis here. This effect has largely been attributed to Harris' sentient, elemental guitar work and vocals, but a closer look reveals the magic of her meticulous pacing and homemade tape collages. Harris' most recent performance at September's TBA Festival proved that the artist's compositional structure has finally come to match her conceptual breadth. With the lulling noise from her cassettes escaping almost inaudibly, it wasn't until several minutes later when vocals from the Portland Flash Choir were introduced that the audience realized they had been witnessing a performance all along. As Harris says, she loves to explore "what exists in corners, on the periphery of our awareness." CHRIS CANTINO