High Places @ Café OTO
Dalston Café OTO. 31may08.
Behind their trestle table console, Rob Barber can relatively calmly jep and bwat at his electro-drum box, and Mary Pearson, stood close by singing softly, is also caught within a tranquil twitch.
High Places’ percussive bent is certainly the first impression they emboss upon an audience, the polyrhythms created by Barber’s beats and the gentle rattle of the backing tracks intertwining like competing vines adopting different spirals to ascend the same drainpipe.
Pearson adds to the shake and shickle with a bracelet of bells and while her contributions, including a yielding but deadpan vocal that merges seamlessly with the general ethereality, are festive and fairytale, the combination with beats of tribal repetition as well as of Soca-like steel-drum abandon make their set like the early stages of some enchanted freakout.
High Places’ sound is both of land and sea. When watery, they are like a depth-diluted Coral Reef Cantina Band, the vocals often largely hidden in the mix due to the rippling belly-splash of the drum-work. At other times, it has a sprightly seclusion, like an isolated forest, but one that has not been naturally created; a kind of woodland mechanics where dandelion seeds tickle like toddlers yet also scrape the skin like bright new pins.
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