Saturday, April 3, 2010

Up In High Places

From the super cool records you want to own department comes the announcement of a new High Places 12" Single.

High Places began as an experiment in collaboration: two people with diverse artistic backgrounds coming together to merge their skills, aesthetic tastes, and music-making approaches. Robert Barber grew up listening to punk and hardcore, and Mary Pearson studied bassoon performance, but both gravitated toward a DIY compositional style and a love of layers. It is the affinity for layering that has thus far defined the duo, both in ideas and instrumentation. High Places’ songs contain a fascinating range of aural layers: bells and bird calls over a wash of ocean waves; mallets hitting mixing bowls over treated guitar and glockenspiel; Mary's reflective vocals over Rob's homemade beats. The result is an imaginative and spacious amalgamation of sounds with a unique, almost Caribbean undertone that is as immediate as it is refreshing.

Way back last Halloween, High Places released a digital single entitled "I Was Born" (perhaps ironically addressing the subject of birth as a precursor to the new album?) that demonstrated Rob Barber and Mary Pearson using more standard instrumentation than the two had employed in the past. In March, the band released another digital single, this one a remix, called "Can't Feel Nothing (HP Remix)". On both of these, as on their new album High Places vs. Mankind, guitars play an important role, and on this single the band has often kept them sounding like guitars. Mary's vocals are less effected and more present. But many aspects of the High Places sound and aesthetic remain intact. One hears dance rhythms, stereo effects, accessible melodies, dub influence, and as always, a love of layering and of combining the unexpected into something cohesive and new. A faster pace and darker tone also seem to permeate through the singles and this new 12" collects these tracks as well as their unheard counterparts.

If you're wondering what all this sounds like, it's an uncomplicated collision between a 48 track digital recording and Laika! Somewhat tribal, somewhat dancey, and most definitely fascinating, High Places will keep your ears guessing and transfixed by the music they create. It's fantastic stuff that doesn't have many peers.

Pressed on 150 gram opaque colored vinyl (white with a slight touch of blue speckled in), this 12" arrives on April 20th in a limited edition of 1,000. It is housed in a DJ style jacket with black print photographs on each side. The LP labels are printed in full color from the original photos so that they will match up with the artwork and fill the void left by the holes in the jacket! Trust us, it looks cool.

Download: Can't Feel Nothing (HP Remix)
Download: On Giving Up

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