Harpist Mary Lattimore's albums under her own name have often continued the spirit of collaboration she developed while working for years as a guest on other artists' albums. Though her songs often evoke a feeling of solitary contemplation, many of her pieces are born from the spark of playing off the creative energy of a peer. With Silver Ladders, Lattimore worked with Slowdive's Neil Halstead on a collection of solo compositions and joint improvisations that funnel into an album of reflective, autumnal bittersweetness.
What Mary Lattimore has done with the harp is something to behold. Through looping, prowess and an experimental spirit, the Los Angeles-based harpist crafts evocative and breathtaking worlds that revel in moods, melodies and contrasts. Lattimore has released several solo and collaborative collections to date, not including playing on recordings by artists like Kurt Vile, Marissa Nadler, Hop Along and Sharon Van Etten. For her newest outing, Silver Ladders, Lattimore worked with Slowdive's Neil Halstead, who produced the album and contributes guitar. And while this is not officially a collaborative piece, Halstead's artistic touch is notable..
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.
Silver Ladders by Mary Lattimore Harpist Mary Lattimore has been extremely busy the last few years, collaborating with artists as diverse as Meg Baird, Jeff Zeigler, Rosali and Superchunk's Mac McCaughan. Silver Ladders is her latest solo record on Ghostly International, following 2018's stark, crystalline Hundreds of Days. The distinction here is that the album was produced by Slowdive's Neil Halstead, who brings growling synth bass and ripples of delayed guitar into the mix.
The closest most of us get to a harp is through the biblical narratives being played out on renaissance frescos, or the Celtic harp on a cold pint of Guinness. The sad fact is that you will have to go out of your way to see a 6ft Lyon & Healy Concert Grand specimen being played in your lifetime, as they will rarely come to you. Even harp music in general is a rare breed, with the instrument usually reserved as a mere tendril of the greater philharmonic organism.