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I Was Born

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 914 - 2009

In early 2009, after touring in support of their debut self-titled album, High Places' Mary Pearson and Rob Barber relocated from Brookyln, New York to Los Angeles, California. As evidenced in their new single "I Was Born," the physical move coincides with significant sonic changes for the duo. The song opens with a bassoon duet played by Pearson. Later, the bassoon melody returns with heavy distortion. This is the first time the bassoon (Pearson's principal instrument) has been featured on a High Places recording. We also hear Barber playing guitar melodies that sound like guitar melodies; definitely a first for a band that is known for making guitars sound like steel drums, string sections, sitars, and well, anything other than guitar. Pearson's vocals deal with human emotions and interactions, where in the past her lyrics tended to reflect mostly on the natural world. Yet despite these differences, "I Was Born" can be instantly recognized as a High Places creation. There is still an emphasis on melody and syncopated rhythms. There is still the back-and-forth exchange of ideas that steers High Places' compositions through uncharted, yet somehow familiar territory. And above all, we see the band continuing along the trajectory of change and growth they embarked upon in Brooklyn in the summer of 2006.

"I Was Born" also marks the creation of High Places' first official video. The piece was filmed, styled, edited and conceived by Barber and Pearson, and shows their affinity for pairing aural and visual art. 



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