High Places: High Places (Mistletone/Rhythmethod)

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High Places: Namer
High Places: High Places (Mistletone/Rhythmethod)

In an article posted at Elsewhere recently I wrote of the seductive charms of the quiet albums on Brian Eno's Obscure label in late Seventies/early Eighties, and of other such albums by the likes of Harold Budd, Laaraji, trumpeter Jon Hassell and others.

On one of those lovely Hassell albums -- Dream Theory in Malaya from 1981, an Essnetial Elsewhere album -- there was a piece in which he improvised over the sounds some Malaysian village people making a splashing song in a river. The album was full of oddly disconcerting but quite beguiling processed sounds -- and that was what I thought of immediately I heard this album by the Brooklyn duo of vocalist Mary Pearson and Rob Barber.

High Places (the album) was released late last year but got lost in the pre-Christmas rush, but music this subtle, quiet, gently rhythmic and built over treated percussion and samples deserves being drawn to attention.

Called psychedelic in some circles (slo-mo stoner would seem more appropriate) it actually defies easy categorisation. There is a sense of innocent discovery about it, but it is far too canny and artful to be the result of naive experimentation.

It ebbs and flows, has an understated quasi-acoustic charm and almost outdoor-summery feel as if it were recorded in a field or glade (or a river in Malaysia), and is gently hypnotic.

Do yourself a favour . . . 

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