At the Dam

Album Review of At the Dam by Mary Lattimore.

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At the Dam

Mary Lattimore

At the Dam by Mary Lattimore

Release Date: Mar 4, 2016
Record label: Ghostly International
Genre(s): Electronic, Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Experimental Ambient, Improvisation

76 Music Critic Score
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At the Dam - Very Good, Based on 3 Critics

AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Following two solo albums as well as one in collaboration with engineer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler, in addition to their joint appearance on the Ghostly Swim 2 compilation, Mary Lattimore makes her full-length Ghostly International debut with the exquisite At the Dam LP. The album showcases her fluid, hypnotic harp playing that is transformed by laptop-generated effects, causing the notes to flutter about and sometimes feel like they're spinning out around the instrument. The album was written and recorded during a cross-country road trip that Lattimore took after she was awarded a fellowship grant by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, making it a sort of travel journal.

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Pitchfork - 78
Based on rating 7.8/10
78

The only car that can even begin to fit Mary Lattimore’s 47-string Lyon and Healy harp is a vintage Volvo Station Wagon, with the the back seats folded all the way down. It’s a snug fit, the harp hogging all of the car’s square footage, leaving space for only one other passenger. Before she was collaborating with a legendary laundry list of artists (Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Jarvis Cocker, and Arcade Fire to name a few) she ferried the instrument to and from the odd gig, usually weddings, playing by herself, and leaving by herself.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

At the Dam is a collection of improvised recordings from harpist Mary Lattimore. For the record, Lattimore left her home in Philadelphia to travel around the country and record in various locations. That kind of wandering comes across in these songs, but the songs don’t just wander space. Yes, “Jaxine Drive” unravels in front of the listener like a road you’re encountering for the first time, full of sweet phrasings upset by little cracks and potholes of upset notes or bent sounds.

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