HiM: Many In High Places Are Not Well (2003)
There is a new intersection in music town, where jazz meets rock, dub, world, soundtrack, and studio manipulation. While the foundations for this intersection may first have been laid down by Sergio Leone, Miles Davis, and Teo Macero, it has certainly been made into high art (or at least garage art) by groups such as Pinetop Seven, Gastr del Sol, Town & Country, and Pillow.
Fitting in the ‘no category’ section of your record store, Doug Scharin’s varying lineups as HiM have produced music from dub to post-rock to ambient jazz and electronic space music. Each of his prior outings has been both eclectic and a coherent whole.
Scharin’s latest Many In High Places Are Not Well builds upon a very digestible (almost "pop") world music in the same manner as the Talking Heads (now out-of-print) The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads once accomplished by playing original music with so-called world musicians. Scharin employs Senegalese kora player Abdou M’boup, plus vocalists Christian Dautresme (singing in French and English) and Iceland’s Kristin Anna Valtysdottir (Múm). The effect maintained here is off-kilter music wrapped with dreamy vocals and a panoramic vista of floating thoughts.
Rob Mazurek of Tortoise sits in on “Perspective On A Slow Spin” for some muted trumpet meets fuzzy guitar at the slow blues while machine effects spin in the background. Scharin has a way of borrowing style without mimicry. His track “The Way The Trees Are” feels like something from David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, with spoken samples and rhythmic propulsion, yet it sustains itself as a sexy soundtrack.
Scharin continues to fold his varying musical interests into a whole with a natural agreement of its parts.
Track Listing: Elements;Many In High Places; Slow Slow Slow; The Way Of The Trees Are; Perspective From A Slow Spin; Elope And Secede; Coming Of Age.
Personnel: Josh Berman; Carlo Cenamo; Christian Dautresme; Fred Erskine; Joe Goldring; Dominic Johnson; Josh Larue; Julie Liu; Rob mazurek; Abdou M