Sunday, June 27, 2010

High Places

There's an interesting interview with Mary Pearson of High Places over at

Pearson and co-conspirator Rob Barber originally formed High Places in New York in 2006. Since then, they've released a number of beguiling early 7"s (collected on 03/07-09/07) and two albums, their self-titled debut LP and this year's High Places VS Mankind. Their sound is unique and striking: a hard-to-categorise mix of electronic and folk influences, it can feature aquatic, woozy rythms and textures, household percussion, hypnotic child-like vocals, treated samples, bongos, kalimba...their music can range from the dub-tinged, pulsing 'The Longest Shadow' to the tropicalia-flavoured, almost-primitive simplicity of 'Head Spins'. At times there's a tribalistic, spiritual vibe emanating from their music, with its back-to-nature aesthetic and folky, field-recording ambience. They're genuinely one of my favourite discoveries of recent years, and they reached a mind-blowing peak with 'From Stardust to Sentience': it's utterly transcendent, one of those tunes that sounds like it was beamed down from the ether, with the musicians not so much creating it as channeling it.

High Places VS Mankind saw them in something of a transitionary phase, with Pearson's vocals pushed up in the mix, a more pronounced electronic influence and a more direct approach, but they're still a fascinating prospect. Their show upstairs in Whelan's earlier in the year was magical, and the duo have often expressed an interest in playing art galleries and mixing art forms as well as more conventional rock gigs.

High Places - High Places vs. Mankind by Speaker Snacks

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