Developed through songwriting sessions in Portland, Mirrorring's debut—a collaboration between Liz Harris of Grouper and Jesy Forentino of Tiny Vipers—Foreign Body seeps the grainy, rain-drowsiness of the Pacific Northwestern homes of each (Portland for Harris, Seattle for Forentino). You can almost hear the eaves dripping beyond the album's dim cup o' tea atmospheres, which run from the more classical folk songwriting associated with Forentino and the narcotic dronescapes of Harris's work as Grouper. Both got their start within the orbit of the experimental noise and metal scene, though it's their shared talent for merging contemplative repetition with almost intangible, half-spun melodies that brings them together as Mirrorring.
Opener "Fell Sound" crests a frothy spill of drone. Harris's voice is withdrawn against the noise—a near-whisper that sounds like someone in death's grip singing their fondest memories fireside—framed against quiet guitar parts providing sly counter-textures to its wind-blasts; it's a track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on either of Grouper's second or third albums. The gorgeous "Drowning The Call" treads similarly elegiac terrain, but Harris's voice is pushed almost to the fore of the track's sea-lost murk, sounding almost adrift on its dead, drifting sense of time.
"Mirror of Our Sleeping," likewise, is a junkie's lullaby, all starry-eyed chords and lethargic vocal trails. But it's really on nine-minute album centerpiece "Cliffs" where the duo hit their stride. Opening with a guitar part that sounds like a one-third speed Roy Harper intro, Harris's voice slowly wafts into place as breaths of drone and organ paint the corners before slipping out beneath Forentino's picked guitar and simmers of noise.
But the Forentino-led tracks, though by no means emphatic, rely on more traditional songcraft in a way that sometimes undermines the night-dream sprawl of the Grouper-like material. They're a kind of unwanted near-sobriety after a bender lost to memory, as when the finger-picked guitars and full-front vocals of "Silent From Above" sift out of the dizzy spell of "Fell Sound." Likewise "Mine," though it hews closer to the foggy-figures established elsewhere, sounds almost as though it's pressing for acknowledgment and response by comparison. Harris is a quiet if insistent hum against the din; Forentino's every syllable and word is heard in the clearing. It shakes the listener out of the album's warm drowse. It's admittedly a small complaint to make for an album with the quiet grace of Foreign Body, but it's perhaps also telling that the best moments here are almost indistinguishable from Grouper's best work.
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Tracklist: Mirroring - Foreign Body 01. Fell Sound
02. Silent From Above
04. Drowning the Call
06. Mirror of our Sleeping