FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Desire Path Recordings

Chosen One: Mary Lattimore

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I think making music is just my way of capturing moments that otherwise might be fleeting. They’re little time capsules, the songs and the records.”

—Mary Lattimore

 Words: Mark Carry

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Having first discovered Los Angeles-based harpist and composer Mary Lattimore’s 2013 debut ‘The Withdrawing Room’ (released on Desire Path Recordings), each new release has been a hugely exciting discovery. On this year’s ‘Hundreds Of Days’ – and third release for the prestigious Ghostly label – Lattimore’s ethereal, dream-wave bliss of her harp-based compositions casts a spacious, luminescent and captivating sound world of unknown dimensions.

The gorgeous album opener ‘It Feels Like Floating’ feels just like that: the sacred harp tapestries drift in the ether of faded dreams amidst swathes of celestial harmonies. Utterly timeless. Jonsi’s Healing Fields remix is a fascinating re-interpretation that conveys the inspirational quality of Lattimore’s hugely unique and shape shifting compositions.

Guitar, keyboard and percussion is added on the poignant folk gem ‘Never Saw Him Again’: forging a dreamy pop opus from a past we have not yet quite arrived upon. The soundscapes and intricate layers continually build, as if reawakening some once-vivid memories of a loved one. The sparse ‘Hello From the Edge of the Earth’ maps the human heart and Lattimore’s love of the natural world. The lyrical quality of this piece is quite something to behold.

Baltic Birch’ blossomed from the composer’s recent trip to Latvia where she was struck by the abandoned resort towns along the Baltic Sea.  A desolate landscape is etched across the ambient soundscapes with the electric guitar haze recalling Lattimore’s collaborations with Jeff Ziegler.

The LA-based harpist – in much the same way as fellow contemporaries Julianna Barwick, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and so on – possesses the ability to transport you to an entirely new realm wherein the music becomes beautifully buried in the pools of one’s mind. ‘Hundreds Of Days’ is yet another gleaming treasure in the composer’s storied career.

‘Hundreds Of Days’ is out now on Ghostly International.

https://marylattimoreharpist.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/harpistmarylattimore/

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Interview with Mary Lattimore.

 

Congratulations Mary on the stunningly beautiful latest solo full length ‘Hundreds Of Days’. Firstly, please take me back to the record’s inception and particularly this redwood barn overlooking San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This must have been such an inspiring setting in which the compositions of ‘Hundreds Of Days’ emanated from? Please recount your memories of these colourful, creative days?

Mary Lattimore: I was awarded this artist’s residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in a national park outside of San Francisco. I stayed there for almost two months, absorbing the rugged, romantic landscape and meeting other artists who were painters, poets, activists, dancers from all over the world. We shared dinner together and lived in these Victorian military houses surrounded by eucalyptus trees. During the day, we were each alone in our own zones, writing or hiking, with barely any cell phone service or internet. My studio was this large barn where I’d set out all of my instruments, some I didn’t know how to play. Walking back to my house late at night was very star-lit and felt a little dangerous, in a safe way. Mountain lions had been spotted there.The ocean was grey-blue and the beach was rocky. We were surrounded by redwood trees, lots of fog, coastal sage and tsunami warning signs. We each had total freedom and met up at the end of the day to eat delicious food cooked by a gourmet chef. It was a very blissful couple of months of total creative freedom, where no one could hear me experimenting with things I didn’t know how to use or trying out vocals, embarrassingly. That kind of space and freedom within a time constraint of a two month, once-in-a-lifetime residency is very intense and very special. I’m really grateful for it.

As a listener I’m always struck by how expansive your harp-based creations truly are, and how the rich tapestries of sumptuous sounds drift in the ether of unknown dimensions. Looking back over these six pieces, I wonder were some of these borne from the act of improvisation? Also, I’d love to gain an insight into your mindset when you perform your trusted harp instrument? It feels as if there is some liminal state forever orbited when your music ascends into the atmosphere.

ML: Wow, that’s a beautiful way to put it. In general, all of the pieces are borne from improvisation, where I’ll press record and start to make something, then if I like where it goes, I’ll add the extra layers and morph where those layers go by adding layers on top of that. So it’s just kind of stacks of improvised tracks. Part of that method might be because I don’t really know how to edit, technology-wise, so I just add until it sounds cool and sounds the way I want it to. I guess it’s the same way when I play live. There are always happy accidents and loops that I have to figure my way out of, so it remains thrilling because there’s so much improvisation woven in there around the themes.

One of the new directions here is the added instrumentation of keyboards, guitar and grand piano, intricately woven with the harp tapestries. Truly, these new layers further heightens the otherworldly and timeless quality of your musical works. I’d love for you to talk me through the gorgeous album opener ‘It Feels Like Floating’ (a title which perfectly encapsulates the entire record)? Did the various layering provide any challenges? How long was this particular melody simmering in the pools of your mind, Mary? It feels such an effortless process, it’s almost as if a piece of music just comes to you, like a raindrop falling from the sky….

ML: I mean, I have to say, it’s not effortless, but it did just come to me, where I was just messing around, came up with that little figure that starts the song, and then I hit record and that’s what came out. It’s not effortless but I’m basically just playing with a kernel of an idea and then just seeing where it goes if I add other things. As I’m bad at editing, I scrap the whole take if I don’t like it and then just make something else. But usually, I can get myself out of trouble if I just add more things or take away big chunks rather than going in there and dissecting the tiny bits. It Feels Like Floating came from a place in which I had a little heartbreak and was trying to digest that. The title is a quote from the conversation I had with the dude, and I thought it was a pretty thing to say. Making up songs is how I navigate myself out of those things, in a way, too, I guess. But I also love to swim and that feeling of floating is one of the best feelings in the world.

The artist residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts must have served a significant source of inspiration for you, and particularly spending time with an entire community of creative souls. It reminds me of the Loft in New York or the Big Pink house in Woodstock from different moments in time. I would love to read a diary entry (if you will) from this time you spent along the Northern Pacific Coast and the characters that filled these days? 

ML: I should’ve kept a diary! Instead, I wrote lots of letters to other people. I was really psyched to get so much mail and to generate so much mail while I was there. I read 14 books in 2 months, which is a lot for me. A lot of my favorite days were those spent not talking with anyone, just making a little breakfast, drinking coffee, walking to the studio, playing some, then taking a hike down to the beach or up to one of the abandoned military structures high on a hill, then coming back down for dinner, then walking up to the studio, playing a little more, drinking a little wine, walking back home under the stars, reading and going to bed. I think the simplicity, the simple options of what to do during the day, the lack of mental chatter/worry and general stability where you didn’t have to fret about driving anywhere or the news or anything outside of the little bubble was super unique and luxurious. I’ll remember it forever.

Can you discuss your set-up for the recording of ‘Hundreds Of Days’? I wonder did you try out and experiment with new processes and techniques on this latest record? 

ML: I want to keep moving forward and trying out new things. I had this beautiful Moog Mother 32 and the Theremini and some pedals and some cheap thrift store keyboards, electric guitar, there was a grand piano in the main building, I just wanted to make the palette as full of colors as I could, so that was the main difference in this record, expanded palette. I didn’t really try out new techniques but I also think that the hourglass of two months being turned over, the limited time, inspired me to get lots of work done.

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‘Hello From the Edge of the Earth’ is such an achingly beautiful lament with the graceful harp notes unfolding a quiet magic instantaneously. As the title suggests, this piece of music is an ode to mother nature. I’d love for you to discuss the narrative of this particular piece and your memories of writing ‘Hello From the Edge of the Earth’? Were you steeped in nature from your upbringing back home in Philadelphia?

ML: I’m actually from North Carolina, so I did grow up amidst a lot of nature, in the mountains in the western part of the state. I figured out pretty early on that I love cities, the culture and the anonymity and the possibilities that come with living in a big city. I moved to Rochester, NY when I was 17, which is a larger city than the town where I grew up. My life in Philly didn’t have that much nature except for a park overlooking the river at the end of my block. I think being at the Headlands was the closest to immersion in nature that I’d felt for a while and it really lined up with my need to make something that encompassed heartache and a general sadness about leaving Philadelphia, where I’d lived for thirteen years. The record and this song are both a love letter to the wildness and jewel box beauty of the California coast and a postcard back to Philadelphia from my new location. I see this song as a postcard. It’s a little musical transmission from my new planet.

The act of travelling and road-trips across America has provided you with many stories, I’m sure which get captured beautifully into your deeply affecting music. As a musician and artist, I’d love to gain an insight into the ways by which your creative mind becomes unlocked (and the flood gates open, so to speak) when you’re in motion and witnessing different places along a continent spanning trip? For example, the seeds were for sewn for the predecessor ‘At The Dam’ LP from a U.S. road trip?

ML: Yeah, it’s true. I think making music is just my way of capturing moments that otherwise might be fleeting. They’re little time capsules, the songs and the records. My memory is pretty shot and it’s my way of recording the places and the feelings and it’s my way of communicating with other people, albeit wordlessly. Being on the road or being in a strange new place really flips a switch on in your brain, where you’re more aware and alert and awake, more present in your own body. I watch a lot of tv and I drink a lot of cocktails and mess around on my phone a lot and just hang out kind of duuuuhhhhhh, so being in motion really makes me right again, where I have to revive things that have fallen asleep, if that makes sense. So residencies and road trips feel important to the music because that’s when my ears and hands and brain and way of looking at the world and assessing situations are most alert. I want to go to Copenhagen in the summer to make a new record and to get to know that place, so that’s the next escape route.

Please describe for me your trusted 47-string Lyon and Healy harp. When did you first play this instrument and in what way do you feel you have developed this special relationship with the harp instrument? After first discovering your music in the form of ‘The Withdrawing Room’, it feels as if you are continually evolving with each new release. The possibilities are endless, perhaps the essence of your harp-based creations.

ML: Thanks so much! Yes, I want to keep evolving and seeing what the instrument has to offer, sound and personality-wise. I started playing the harp when I was 11 but didn’t really have such a personal relationship with it until I went to college (music conservatory) and had to spend solitary hours and hours in a practice room focusing on one piece at a time. I got close to my harp in a love/hate kind of way that felt like an important war we went through together. Now, it’s only love, though, because I have to protect it so much, taking it with me places. It’s like a sister to me.

Lastly, can you shed some light on your compositional approach when it comes to your harp playing, Mary? For instance, the myriad of sublime moments dotted across pieces such as ‘Never Saw Him Again’ and ‘Baltic Birch’ could never have been as a result of solely improvising? I love how transporting these pieces are, and these masterfully sculpted sonic creations feel like a sprawling abstract canvas of deep, resonating meaning.

ML: Baltic Birch was one where I had the main melody line in my mind beforehand in a singular melodic voice, so I thought of how I could build it. I thought I couldn’t loop that melody line because it was too long, so I looped the accompaniment, but then I realized that the melody actually could also be looped if it became kind of a round. Never Saw Him Again was definitely all improvisation and experimenting and I definitely thought it sounded kinda cheesy when I first made it. I also don’t really like my voice, so I put it through some Garage Band filter reverb stuff and had Jeff, who mixed it, kinda tweak the pitchiness of it when he was mixing just to make it not horrendous. I definitely just use vocals as texture and don’t claim to be a singer at all. Haha. I was just going with it. Everything comes with just messing around. I’ve never made a (solo) song in a real studio, only on my own with flexibility and an empty room and Garage Band on a laptop, so maybe it’s time to see what would happen if there was a little more pressure, with somebody a little more experienced controlling the actual recording and actual songs that are thought about more in advance. Who knows. Gotta keep trying things out! Thanks so much for the thoughtful questions! I always love to read your take on things!

‘Hundreds Of Days’ is out now on Ghostly International.

https://marylattimoreharpist.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/harpistmarylattimore/

Written by admin

January 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Fractured Air 06: Keeper Of Beauty (A Mixtape by Mary Lattimore)

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To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-06-keeper-of-beauty-a-mixtape-by-mary-lattimore/

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“These are some of my favorites right now!!” (Mary Lattimore)

“The Withdrawing Room” is the debut solo album of Philadelphia harpist, Mary Lattimore. Released earlier this year – limited to three hundred copies on black vinyl – the album draws from the worlds of drone, ambient, folk and world music, creating in turn a gleaming treasure of sacred sonic tapestries. Lattimore’s harp compositions can be compared with Julianna Barwick’s choral-based harmonies, where both artists loop their chosen instrument to magnificent effect. Mary Lattimore has collaborated with a vast array of musicians to date, including Thurston Moore (on his “Demolished Thoughts” LP) and Sharon Van Etten’s forthcoming album and follow-up to 2012’s “Tramp” LP.

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Tracklisting

01. Fleetwood Mac – Prove Your Love
02. Sharon Van Etten – You Didn’t Really Do That
03. Flip & the Dateliners – My Johnny Doesn’t Come Around Anymore
04. Washington Phillips – Lift Him Up That’s All
05. F.J. McMahon – Early Blue
06. Baird Sisters – Tracks
07. Shirley Collins and Albion Country Band – Poor Murdered Woman
08. 13th Floor Elevators – I Had To Tell You
09. Spacin’ – Sunshine No Shoes
10. Watery Love – Face the Door
11. Dead Moon – Fire in the Western World
12. William Onyeabor – Heaven and Hell
13. X Ray Pop – Ding Dong
14. Chance – Just Your Way of Tellin’ Me
15. Fursaxa – Moonlight Sonata
16. Brian Eno – Fullness of Wind
17. Weyes Blood – Romneydale
18. Nils Frahm – Went Missing
19. Ed Askew – Blue Eyed Baby
20. Samara Lubelski – Keeper of Beauty
21. Don Slepian – Awakening

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Track-by-track description by Mary Lattimore:

01. Fleetwood Mac – Prove Your Love
Off of the record with the scary-looking cover: Heroes Are Hard to Find

02. Sharon Van Etten – You Didn’t Really Do That
This is the first song I ever heard Sharon sing and I really like that keyboard part. Had the lovely pleasure of playing harp on her new record and I think she’s the coolest!

03. Flip & the Dateliners – My Johnny Doesn’t Come Around Anymore
From a Joe Meek compilation. I think it sounds really spooky. Ultimately, he killed his landlady.

04. Washington Phillips – Lift Him Up That’s All
I love his voice and his mysterious instrument that doesn’t exist anymore.

05. F.J. McMahon – Early Blue
This is a winter song to listen to in the car.

06. Baird Sisters – Tracks
My best friend Meg and her amazing sister Laura! Meg has solo records and I believe Laura does too. Meg was in the terrific band Espers, too. This song’s good for winter, too.

07. Shirley Collins and Albion Country Band – Poor Murdered Woman
Shirley’s pure, pretty voice makes it even more tragic.

08. 13th Floor Elevators – I Had To Tell You
Got obsessed with Easter Everywhere this summer. I fell for this band late, almost like I was saving the records until I had enough brainspace to become totally smitten. Totally there right now!

09. Spacin’ – Sunshine No Shoes
Summertime good vibes from our neighborhood, Fishtown in Philly.

10. Watery Love – Face the Door
My friend Richie wrote this song about us going for dinner with our friend Max after work.

11. Dead Moon – Fire in the Western World

12. William Onyeabor – Heaven and Hell
So many good, catchy songs on this reissue.

13. X Ray Pop – Ding Dong
Cutesy little 80’s French song that I like.

14. Chance – Just Your Way of Tellin’ Me
Johnny Cash’s stage manager/lighting guy/friend Chance Martin made this weird, wonderful psychedelic country record and the great label Paradise of Bachelors reissued it this year.

15. Fursaxa – Moonlight Sonata
She works at a hawk sanctuary in the mountains and lives right by the river. Fursaxa is my inspiration! Her music is gorgeous and solitary.

16. Brian Eno – Fullness of Wind

17. Weyes Blood – Romneydale
Another great friend from this part of Pennsylvania. Her new record is almost finished. I love this song.

18. Nils Frahm – Went Missing
Another obsession right now. I would love to see/hear him play someday.

19. Ed Askew – Blue Eyed Baby
Ed is a legend and his songs make people weep, they move people. I played harp on this one. Very proud of this record.

20. Samara Lubelski – Keeper of Beauty
A talented friend who’s like family.

21. Don Slepian – Awakening
Got this off of a comp called I Am the Center (Light in the Attic) that just came out. New Age songs for a peaceful atmosphere.

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To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-06-keeper-of-beauty-a-mixtape-by-mary-lattimore/

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For our interview with Mary Lattimore, please click HERE.

“The Withdrawing Room” is out now on Desire Path Recordings.

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http://marylattimore.net
http://www.desirepathrecordings.com

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Written by admin

December 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

Mixtape: Drunk Fall Mix 2013 (A Mixtape By Kyle Bobby Dunn)

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To listen on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/fractured_air/drunk-fall-mix-2013-a-mixtape

Compiled by the internationally acclaimed Canadian composer Kyle Bobby Dunn, “Drunk Fall” features songs by close friends such as Thomas Meluch (Benoît Pioulard), Kyle’s brother Danny (“Black Bones”), and influences both old (Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Alexander) and new (Grouper, Tim Hecker). The mix culminates in an excerpt of the stunning unreleased Kyle Bobby Dunn track “Duckfaced Fantasy.” Over the last decade Kyle Bobby Dunn has been amassing an impressive body of work and his distinctive minimalist music has been released on such independent labels as Desire Path Recordings and UK-based independent label Low Point. Kyle Bobby Dunn’s double album “Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn” (Low Point) and “In Miserum Stercus” (a 12″ on Komino) were both released last year. This Autumn Low Point will reissue “Fragments & Compositions of Kyle Bobby Dunn” on 12″ vinyl.

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Fractured Air Drunk Fall Mix 2013 (A Mix By Kyle Bobby Dunn)
Tracklist:

01 R.P. McMurphyIf that’s what being crazy is (excerpt)
02 Josh Barsky feat. Quinn MorrisSherrif’s Badge
03 Jeff AlexanderCome Wander with Me (Covered by Em)
04 Benoît PioulardSous la plage
05 Fleetwood MacSecondhand News
06 GrouperTowers (excerpt)
07 AlcreteLive at Tone Deaf 2012 Kingston (excerpt)
07 Red House PaintersTrailways
08 Francis LaiSlow du Marriage
09 Francois De RoubaixLa mer est grande
10 MonogrenadeImmobile (acoustique)
11 J.S. BachCello Prelude for acoustic guitar
12 Danny DunnBlack Bones (excerpt)
13 Josh BarskyHorizon Line
14 Tim HeckerStab Variation (excerpt)
15 Kyle Bobby DunnDuckfaced Fantasy (unreleased excerpt)

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Fractured Air Drunk Fall Mix 2013 by Kyle Bobby Dunn.

So I got very drunk on a bad bottle of wine like any old night in my life and compiled a series of autumn songs that are by some beautiful people in the world and some that I am utterly in love with until death do me part.

Tracks:

R.P. McMurphy – If that’s what being crazy is (excerpt)

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Josh Barsky feat. Quinn Morris – Sherrif’s Badge
From my best buddy’s Second Remasters digital album that came out at a perfect time last year and features his beautiful girlfriends reverb’d out backing vocals. This song is super powerful to me and I think is one of the most underrated best songs ever written. Listen to the sheer power, look up at a raining sky and let that laughter become tears or vice versa.

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Jeff Alexander – Come Wander with Me (Covered by Em)
Absolute beauty does exist. I don’t care what anyone says. Seeing it and experiencing at least once in life is such a gift and I cherish it. This song is written by some guy I don’t know but recorded and performed by the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met and who has the most perfect voice in the world. Perfect everything actually, no wonder my imperfections are no match for her.

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Benoît Pioulard – Sous la plage
Tom’s music gets better with every new lovely album he releases but this song from his first album, Précis, gets me every time and I’m reminded of the intense impact of my life the year it was released and the years that have followed since.

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Fleetwood Mac – Secondhand News
I started to listen to Fleetwood Mac a while ago and I know it’s silly of me but this such a great track. There is a kind of unspoken intensity hiding in all their elements and this song has become a favorite recently.

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Grouper – Towers (excerpt)
I got to play in a beautiful space with this beautiful woman over the summer and her music has haunted me and lulled me for years. When I first heard this song in February earlier this year it matched how high and low my spirits were and how those two are basically the same anyway I seem to shake it. Long live Liz and long live love.

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Alcrete – Live at Tone Deaf 2012 Kingston (excerpt)
Eamon Quinn and I met at this utterly perfect concert showcase last fall and I immediately fell in love. Now we are good buds and play funny songs and work together at a funny job all day. This tune goes on longer as well but it shows Eamon’s awesome guitar dynamics and he doesn’t need to plug into a computer to do it. Dude is rad.

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Red House Painters – Trailways
I remember traveling down a dark highway with this one a few years ago, well many years now, and needing to pull over in the pitch black because the tears would not stop and I was sure to drive permanently into the dark if I didn’t stop. Maybe that was what Kozelek was going for in this gorgeous song because I still cry every time.

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Francis Lai – Slow du Marriage
A sad soundtrack number from Francis Lai for when you’re alone and you know it. I listen to this soundtrack over and over again and sit alone at the bar drinking Macallan.

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Francois De Roubaix – La mer est grande
Thought I’d drunkenly throw this in as well…. I don’t know.

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Monogrenade – Immobile (acoustique)
Some acoustic version of this Francophone pop group in Montreal. I think it means that love basically renders us immobile.

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J.S. Bach – Cello Prelude for acoustic guitar
Just to keep the decidedly drunken acoustic thing going but it’s the beautiful Bach prelude from his cello suites so you can’t blame me too much.

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Danny Dunn – Black Bones (excerpt)
My brother sent me this a while back. He and I both use loops to build our music but he really wants people dance more than I do, so maybe see if you can? Or just dance with your drink like I usually do.

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Josh Barsky – Horizon Line
If you still feel like dancing, another great Barsky track for you. This is one of his best as well and shows his talent for programming and elegant song writing. To me, Josh is recording in outer space and his tracks are like him spilling whisky down on us from outer space. Thanks Josh, seriously.

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Tim Hecker – Stab Variation (excerpt)
I really haven’t liked a Tim Hecker release as much as his first one, Haunt Me, which is still so great to listen to any old fall day as there are many autumn memories on that one. This is a new song of his and makes me want to do my drunk dance in the street or the rain but I wish nobody was around to see it because it always seems nobody is around anyway.

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Kyle Bobby Dunn – Duckfaced Fantasy (unreleased excerpt)
Yes a new song. Many new ones are in the works and I actually love everything I’ve been working which is a big change, and here’s a small bit that should remind you that love is like a thought you can hold on to and I think that what we hold in our minds we love the most and I feel so lucky to be able to hold thoughts and memories, for as drunk as I get.

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To listen on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/fractured_air/drunk-fall-mix-2013-a-mixtape

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https://www.facebook.com/kylebobby
https://soundcloud.com/kylebobbydunn

Chosen One: Mary Lattimore

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Interview with Mary Lattimore.

“I really love to improvise, at this point, and feel like there is a lot of untapped potential weirdness and beauty that my harp has in it. It’ll take time and playing more and messing around with more pedals, so it’s exciting to be not totally comfortable and satisfied. It’s fun to try to evoke these moods and colors through playing and I wanna get dark with it, and then probably light again.”

—Mary Lattimore

Illustration: Craig Carry, Words: Mark Carry

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‘The Withdrawing Room’ is the debut solo album of Philadelphia harpist, Mary Lattimore. Released earlier this year – limited to three hundred copies on black vinyl – the album draws from the worlds of drone, ambient, folk and world music, creating in turn a gleaming treasure of sacred sonic tapestries. Lattimore’s harp compositions can be compared with Julianna Barwick’s choral-based harmonies, where both artists loop their chosen instrument to magnificent effect. Much like Barwick’s ‘The Magic Place’, I have found myself revisiting Lattimore’s solo work on endless occasions, during the early morning hours and the quiet still of night. ‘The Withdrawing Room’ is a place to seek solace. A hidden realm is tapped into by Lattimore; evoking the cosmic spirit of Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey In Satchidananda’ where the cascading notes envelop a myriad of feelings. The music is pure and sacred, just like the beautiful album artwork that graces ‘The Withdrawing Room’. The gorgeous artwork is by Becky Suss, and is entitled ’76 Meadow Woods Road’ (oil on linen). Be removed. Come wander deep inside the stunning harp song-cycles, where you indeed become withdrawn from the world outside your window, and transported to an entire ‘other’ place.

At the heart of ‘The Withdrawing Room’ is a beautiful collaboration between like-minded souls – Lattimore, armed with her beloved harp and line 6 looper; and Jeff Zeigler who recorded and mixed the album, as well as playing synthesizer on opening 24-minute piece ‘You’ll Be Fiiinnne’. The music is largely improvized and amazingly, the recording took merely one afternoon to complete. The song ‘You’ll Be Fiiinnne’ is simply breathtaking. The experimental and digital wizardry of Zeigler blends effortlessly with Lattimore’s rich acoustic sounds of clean harp notes and shape-shifting tones. The result is something enchanting, otherworldly, and utterly unique. The track conjures up the sound of Rodion G.A. – an artist I have only recently discovered these past few months – whose primitive makeshift set-up of early drum machines, Tesla reel to reels, and live instruments reveals a sacred treasure that has been unheard and unreleased for over thirty years. ‘The Withdrawing Room’ similarly inhabits a certain space and time that is ultimately something transcendental. As Lattimore has said of the recording session: “We slipped into a different zone.”

Lattimore has long been synonymous with the independent music scene, long before the arrival of her solo full-length player. Previous collaborations have included luminaries such as Thurston Moore, Meg Baird, Kurt Vile, Ed Askew, Fursaxa, and Jarvis Cocker. I feel the folk song tradition is embedded throughout the stunning piece, ‘Pluto The Planet’, which follows the blissful – near-mythical – sound clouds of ‘You’ll Be Fiiinne’. Across sixteen minutes, bewitching arpeggios of harp chords resonate deeply into one’s consciousness. The slow and resonating tones float in the air’s atmosphere that becalms all that surrounds you. A cathartic effect radiates from the ambient tour de force. Some time later – what feels a lifetime – the harp sounds slowly meanders to a state of completion. The river below has found its sea. The skies above have formed a perfect blue. The closing gem, ‘Poor Daniel’ feels like a lullaby to safely guide you to sleep. The meditative tones serves as a remedy to soothe all of life’s pain and troubles.

File alongside Virginia Astley’s ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’, Julianna Barwick’s ‘The Magic Place’ and all records pure and divine. ‘The Withdrawing Room’ never ceases to amaze.

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‘The Withdrawing Room’ is out now on Desire Path Recordings.

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Interview with Mary Lattimore.

Congratulations on your truly inspiring debut work, ‘The Withdrawing Room’. Your harp compositions are steeped in gorgeous beauty that transports you to a whole new dimension. A work of true art and beauty. I would love for you to discuss please the recording of this album?

Thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate the lovely compliment. The recording of it was pretty simple and just took an afternoon. I brought my harp over to Jeff’s studio (Uniform Recording) and just improvised for a few hours. Nothing was really sketched out and it was very casual. I think we had some champagne. It was last year at the end of winter. I think we slipped into a different zone, too, while we were working on it. We definitely lost track of time and the songs came out pretty long!

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My current favourite is ‘You’ll Be Fiiinnne’. I love how the subtle electronics by Jeff Zeigler blend so effortlessly with your harp sounds. The piece is utterly transcendent–all 24 minutes. There is this ebb and flow to the piece that feels so natural, like the air you breathe. Please discuss this song and the collaborative aspect of making music that you and Jeff tap into so wonderfully?

Oh, awesome. That one was the first one we worked on. Jeff has recorded a lot of friends and is known around here for having a great ear and a great musical brain, so I’m grateful that he agreed to play because he really enhanced this song and made it more interesting. One of my favorite parts is when I’m taking this 9 volt battery and scraping the low wire strings creepily and he is matching that sound and playing off of it. These days, Jeff and I play shows together and have gotten to the point where we both feel creative and conversational when improvising. Feels like it’s only getting better. We’re good friends.

I think, as far as the ebb and flow goes, the arc of the song, I see it like a little narrative, like a story where things get hectic and disturbed and then come back around and all’s okay. Jeff was ready to take it there with me, so I think I found the perfect person to work with.

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Please take me back to your earliest memories of playing the harp? When did you start playing this instrument and what is it about the harp that gravitated you towards it?

My mom is a harpist, so I’ve been around them my whole life. My earliest memory of playing, I guess, was in my first lesson when I was 11. I wasn’t fully into it until later, though, because I’d get frustrated and bored and feel lame. My teacher in high school was really wonderful, though, and encouraging and I went to a couple of summer music camps where I met some cool friends that were really into being part of orchestras. It was a lucky foundation to be given, the lessons and I also went to music conservatory, so having that training is something I don’t take for granted. But I only started to really feel connected with the harp after I got to know it better, after a few years of practicing it. It took awhile for it to sink in that it was really my thing.

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While listening to your music, I feel the same spell is cast upon me that Julianna Barwick’s album ‘The Magic Place’ renders. So many layers of enchanting sounds create this mesmerising tapestry of sound. Is this a record you are familiar with? (I’m sure it is!) If so, please discuss why you love her music?

I love that record! I actually wrote her a fan email. Haha. Cool compliment!! I like the idea of a one-woman choir and focused, happy solitude, painting a mood by yourself in a room. I really like those Grouper records, too, so much. Would love to see them both play live.

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Discuss the possibilities that improvisation brings in your music?

I really love to improvise, at this point, and feel like there is a lot of untapped potential weirdness and beauty that my harp has in it. It’ll take time and playing more and messing around with more pedals, so it’s exciting to be not totally comfortable and satisfied. It’s fun to try to evoke these moods and colors through playing and I wanna get dark with it, and then probably light again.

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What albums or artists have inspired you the most in your music?

I’m really inspired by friends and people I’ve played with – Fursaxa (Tara Burke), Helena Espvall, a great cellist, Meg Baird my best pal, Samara Lubelski, who’s like a sister. They all have beautiful, elegant records, both with other people and solo. I love this piece by Gorecki, the 3rd Symphony. I love Brian Eno and the Cure, Om, Blues Control, and Growing’s earlier records. Getting to know Thurston M. and Kim G. and seeing how they play music, totally unencumbered by dumb self-doubt, just totally free, has been really inspiring. Can’t wait for Watery Love’s new record. My old roommate Daniel Bachman is great at the guitar and would play all the time, a testament to practicing and working hard by yourself. Close friends from Rochester, Andy Gilmore and Jason Schulmerich, sit alone and draw and what comes out is detailed, sometimes-strange, perfect art. Lots of creative people close to my heart.

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The artwork by Becky Suss beautifully encapsulates the music wrapped inside. The vinyl is a work of art. It must be a wonderful feeling for you when you see your work being represented by artwork such as this? A celebration of the awe-inspiring music you have created.

Becky is sooo talented. It IS a wonderful feeling! I can’t believe she let me use her painting. She later told me that the room in it is actually her grandfather’s living room and he’d just passed away when she painted it, so there’s that loss there, but the trees outside seem to be so comforting, along with all of his collection. I imagine that the room smells like old books and a Frank Lloyd Wright cool glass, dark wood smell. The painting is actually huge, gigantic.

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You have collaborated with many indie-rock greats such as Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile to name but a few. How does the collaborative side of your work feed into your own music?

I think writing harp parts that have a complementary melody is really fun, fitting together the instruments like puzzle pieces. Just focusing on melody and creating a line and I think that carries over to what I’m trying to do solo, to always indulge the ghost of a melody even when its hidden in noise.

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What is next for you, Mary? I hope you come play in Ireland sometime soon?

I would love to play in Ireland. I love Ireland so much. It’s the prettiest. Would love to see more of it and to travel all around and see the coast.

Next, I’m playing a couple of shows around here with Jeff, one at a contemporary art museum. I got asked to score a silent film in Marfa, Texas in the distant future (December), so stoked on that. Jeff and I will work on a duo record this year. Playing keyboard with this new band Mild Time. A good friend Rosali and I are jamming in June and our band’s called Ghost Ship. Her voice is gorgeous. Should be a good year!

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‘The Withdrawing Room’ is out now on Desire Path Recordings. The limited edition vinyl can be ordered here. 

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http://marylattimore.net
http://www.desirepathrecordings.com

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Written by admin

September 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm