It’s the kind of event that you approach with trepidation. Grouper is, after all, the kind of musician that defines mature intent and her music, perhaps in consequence, only exists comfortably within the intimacy that headphones bring. The question therefore is how would Grouper adapt her music to the live environment? The answer was to step back and become the soundtrack to the visual machinations of Paul Clipson.
Paul Clipson, for his part, showed all the enthusiasm of someone just out of film school driven to use the organic technology of real film. Every cliché of the film student was conjoined with a gleeful and deliberate disregard for film being a means to record the moving image. His camera instead moved with an imprecision that all but contradicted the cold digital perfection that we have all become used to and his deliberately primitive use of optical effects served to further contrast with the considered and meditative nature of Grouper’s music. It was visual discord, if you like.
The music of Grouper washes over you and its tidal power pulls your thoughts away from you. That proved as true of the live environment as it was of the rather more personal headphone mindspace. Even with your eyes wide shut.