At The Dam
At The Dam is fragile music. In other hands you could imagine it breaking, but Mary Lattimore handles the music with a loving, heartfelt kindness. Her harp shimmers in a kind, inviting and natural light, like that of the sunlight stretching out its slim fingers as it pours into an emerald leaf hanging from the top of a tree. The light passes through the leaves of a magical forest.
At The Dam was conceived during a road trip across America. She and a friend stopped off at various points, and the inspiration of her surroundings can be heard in the mesmeric tranquility of her music. Nature herself seeps into the music and colours it. Lattimore describes the album as a travel diary, and it does seem to encapsulate a specific period in her life. Much of the music was recorded in the beautiful landscape of Joshua Tree, and a lovely, open sound is the result.
‘Otis Walks Into The Woods’ is a highly sensitive response to the sad news that her family’s blind dog had one day walked into the forest on the outskirts of their farm to pass away. The leaves are coloured in varying degrees of green until the listener approaches a shady alcove resting in the woods, its circle painted by a halo of pristine light. ‘Jimmy V’ is a song about basketball coach Jimmy Valvano. Lattimoire’s personality shines through, so much so that the music resembles a collection of snapshots taken throughout her life; people and animals of a special significance.
The harp plays a nocturnal song, and her notes sparkle like bright stars.
Unobtrusive electronic elements weave their way across the music, but like contrails floating in the blue of the sky they appear and gradually fade away. An electric guitar’s deeper notes ripple outwards on ‘Jaxine Drive’, accompanying the lighter droplets that fall from the harp. Sprinkling a line over the top of the harp, the guitar’s clearer, reverb-heavy eyes sparkle, putting the listener under some kind of enchantment. The trickling notes create the wonderfully balanced fluidity of a fountain in July.
On ‘Ferris Wheel, January’, the music has the sharper clarity of a January day. The notes are crisp and a little frosty, exhaling cold clouds of air as they walk. They have a definite edge. Looking down at the Pacific Ocean and the way that the waves rhythmically undulate, producing their own music, Lattimore creates ‘an illusion resembling the bright lights of the Santa Monica Pier in winter’, but her music seems to reflect all four seasons in the prime of their beauty.