Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders Music Album Reviews

Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders Music Album Reviews
With Slowdive’s Neil Halstead in the producer’s chair, the Los Angeles harpist swells her gentle ambience with a more strident sound but remains as transporting as ever.

What makes Mary Lattimore’s work so entrancing is its interiority. With just a harp and loop pedals, the Los Angeles musician creates dreamscapes from the patterns behind her own eyelids and sweeps her audience up in them. She expanded her arsenal on 2018’s Hundreds of Days, adding theremin, electric guitar, and her own voice. On her new album Silver Ladders, she has teamed up with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead, swelling her gentle ambience with a more strident sound.
The two were introduced by a mutual friend at a festival, and although Halstead had never recorded a harp, Lattimore asked him to produce her next album, which she ended up recording at Halstead’s studio in Newquay, on the north coast of Cornwall. Silver Ladders is imbued with a mixture of nostalgia and fresh inspiration—the product, perhaps, of shifting to a small rural town with few distractions and ample opportunities to reflect.

Halstead’s touch is perceptible throughout the album as a subtle bolster to Mary Lattimore’s ideas. His influence comes through strongest on “Til a Mermaid Drags You Under,” where his reverb-soaked guitar dances around the steady harp melody. His dissonant, razor-sharp tones cut through the solemn, meditative bass line, and the guitar follows Lattimore’s lead as the song rises out of the melodic depths and takes a redemptive turn. Halstead’s thrumming guitar also enters halfway through “Sometimes He’s in My Dreams,” gradually introducing a secondary voice to Lattimore’s layered harp. A restless track, it feels like a vivid dream; Halstead’s guitar speaks as if for the title’s “he,” a mirror for the subconscious.

Drenched in memory, Silver Ladders concerns itself with the sublimity of small moments. The album’s title track is inspired by an experience Lattimore had swimming in the sea on the Croatian island of Hvar; the opening harp melody is disjointed and uncertain until it falls into a bassy lull, recalling the experience of being held in the water’s bobbing restlessness. Album opener “Pine Trees” evokes walking through a pine forest: It exudes light, like rays of sun breaking through the forest canopy, while also suggesting a sense of thickness and depth. “Chop on the Climbout” originated from Lattimore mishearing a pilot during takeoff; the pulsing drones that open the track synthesize the feeling of an airplane’s engine, while Lattimore’s layered harp chimes create a bubbling sense of mystery, like being the first in a crowd to spot a minute detail. Lattimore uses her music like a teleportation device, transporting her listeners to places and times that are both imagined and real.

Silver Days is energetic yet also deeply calming. Lattimore’s virtuosity goes beyond technical ability: She has the uncanny ability to pluck a string in a way that will instantly make someone remember the taste of their fifth birthday cake. On Silver Days, Mary Lattimore brings the world to her level gently and without force, but always compellingly.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders Music Album Reviews Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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