Slow Dance for the Soul-Barer

Los Angeles duo High Places are dressed in low frequencies and heavy percussion on Original Colors, finding their roots in electronic club sounds pushed through a deep, minimalist filter.

At times the beat buzzes and shifts, almost entering that bubble of pretension of post-dubstep, lingering in downtempo niches and complex rhythmic rumblings. Here there’s far more space however, when Mary Pearson’s voice echoes through the synth.

It’s Pearson’s voice that ties this whole record together, adding colour to instrumentals that would otherwise meld into an unmemorable, moody blur.


The production is something of a bass-heavy take on early Reznor, creating a tense framework for songs like “Sonora,” where simple melody drives an intoxicating kind of nonchalance, where the band can’t be bothered to show any unnecessary enthusiasm.

Despite that, they often engage, like in “Twenty-Seven,” where Pearson’s voice rises and multiplies from out of a plane of silence; a siren hidden among steady strobes. She descends upon the track as dark electronics hold sway, ethereal vocals that recall Zola Jesus or Braids under much more straightforward direction. It’s a deep, dark slow dance for the late-night crawl.