Paint the Town Orange: High Places
February 13, 2009 - New Museum: Get Weird Series - New York, NY - High Places
Images and review by Dominick Mastrangelo
It's not often New York has a reason to be jealous of Los Angeles, but after Brooklyn's High Places performance last Friday at the New Museum, this, sadly, is one of those instances. Experimental soundscapers Mary Pearson and Rob Barber each have digs in L.A. now and with an extensive tour forthcoming that sees them head to Australia and then on to Scandinavia, the opportunities to see the band so regularly in New York are going to be scarce.
The performance (part of the museum's Get Weird Series) was sold out and after a sleepy set from opener Portland, Oregon's Grouper (Liz Harris), Pearson and Barber performed songs from their singles compilation 03/07-09/07 and their most recent self-titled full-length.
The combination of Pearson's understated yet ethereal voice and Barber's exhaustive percussion (he was dripping in sweat not halfway through the set) on tracks like "Vision's the First" are indicative of High Places non-traditional sound that encompasses light tribal drumming, dub beats and lots of found noises that the duo sample for their songs. Pearson's voice adding a lovely gauze to the bells, samples, and staccato beats and clicks that drive the song forward. Highly danceable, or at the very least, movable, and it wasn't long before those in attendance were shifting and tapping their feet along.
The set's highlight came late on with the one-two punch of arguably the best tracks on the self-titled record - the Caribbean-kissed "Golden" and the gorgeous "From Stardust to Sentience".
Set closer, "Universe", off the singles comp featured Pearson hurriedly singing the lyrics "I'm a pinprick on a pinprick on a pinprick of Time and Space/It takes a lot of guts to be a little baby in this place" filtered through a sloshy, underwater beat complete with sandpaper-scrape samples. And now begins the wait, perhaps a long one, for their next show in the city.ShareThis