HIGH PLACES, DAN DEACON & ADAM WILLETTS. Marsupial. February 21 2009

Adam Willetts plays blissed-out psychedelic dream pop using just a couple of monophonic synths, one analogue/digital hybrid and one homemade analogue modular. He creates rich, expansive fields of sound with a fragile yet propulsive sense of momentum, and through the sparseness of his approach allows space for subtle details and blemishes to drift into the foreground. Well known in the New Zealand noise and sound art scene for his highly conceptual improvised work with self-sampling laptop, electromagnetic fields, wii remotes and other gamepads, Adam has been steadily transforming his practice since relocating from Auckland to Christchurch early last year, ditching his computer, picking up his soldering iron and building a less conceptual, more musical foundation for his work. The slake moth has hatched from his cocoon and your dreams are waiting to be eaten.

When describing the music and famed live performances of Baltimore's DAN DEACON, it's easy to slip into a juvenile and excited '90s lexicon; RAD! KOOL! SUPER! FUN! seemingly emanate from his glitch-laden, HI-NRG brand of pop. This is not to say Deacon's music is childish, but rather that his unique set-up, shows, and aesthetic conjure up the best and most vivid childhood associations like Saturday morning cartoons, pizza parties, Woody Woodpecker, blowing the dust out of yr N64 cartridges and fluorescent cereals. Perhaps this is why Deacon was handpicked for a US tour with fellow party-starter GIRL TALK; his performances are similarly free of pretension and appeal on a totally base, almost instinctual level. Rejecting the stage and occupying a space within the crowd, Deacon arranges his haphazard collection of tricked-out electronics, kitsch toys and keyboards before launching into a frenzied set of weirdo pop jams. At times Deacon adopts the role of conductor, often handing out lyric sheets, initiating dance-offs and whole-crowd theatrics in a further attempt to break down the crowd/performer barrier and encourage inter-audience connectivity.

Hailing from the ridiculously fertile streets of Brooklyn, NYC, Mary Pearson and Rob Barber formed HIGH PLACES in 2006 and have established themselves as both a local and international favourite through extensive touring (with YACHT, No Age, Abe Vigoda, Lucky Dragons, to name a few), and a smattering of small releases before being signed to Thrill Jockey records (Tortoise, The Boredoms, Fiery Furnaces) in mid-2008. Thrill Jockey allowed the physical release of 03/07-09/07 an excellent compilation of the duo's early material where Pearson's dreamy vocals weave seamlessly with the ebbs and flows of Barber's clamorous mix of exotic samples and reverb-drenched polyrhythms. Their eagerly awaited debut full-length further showcased the pair's skill in combining undeniable melodies and layers of off-kilter rhythms, but this time around with the occassional addition of bassy punctuated synths, enhancing the innate danceability within their dense soundscape. High Places embrace a series of polarities; organic/electronic, clean/cluttered, pop/experimental and their sound is a fully realised synthesis of these. It's not often pop music sounds as inviting and interesting as this.