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Kranky is releasing an album of new Grouper material on February 4, titled The Man Who Died in His Boat—it's material that Portland artist Liz Harris recorded around the same time as she recorded Grouper's excellent 2008 record Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill. Here's a first listen to the first officially released track, "Vital," which is as ripe with atmosphere and blurred beauty as anything we've heard from Grouper.

Last week, Harris explained the meaning behind the album's title:

When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach. The remains of the vessel weren't removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside.

I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man's presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home.

The February 4 release of The Man Who Died in His Boat accompanies Kranky's reissue of Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, which will come out the same day.