Mary Lattimore’s harp melodies are deep in thought, slowly weaving together a dreamcatcher containing many differing emotions, scurrying back and forth and constructing an inner, high castle note by strung note. Gentle and stripped back (and when the beautifully clean and pristine sound of the harp rings out, nothing else is really required), her music is a sacred tapestry into which pure sounding notes splash as if from a waterfall into a glistening pool below.
Mary Lattimore always plays delicately and sensitively, but “Terelan Canyon” utilises some subtle and yet noticeable effects that end up changing the music’s trajectory. An experimental flavouring helps to warp and prolong the sound, giving it a surreal, supernatural twist. Little reversals lie at the end of the note’s tail, and the koto, played wonderfully by Maxwell August Croy, also has the room to improvise, mixing differing timbres with sojourns into the experimental zone. The music is a mystery, and ‘Caroline’ is a bright opening. While pretty, the latter half of the piece walks behind a fluttering, experimental veil, and it doesn’t return. After such a golden opening, the light gradually begins to dim. ‘Down Terelan Canyon’ is a rocky and perilous path, because the notes begin to crumble and fall. It has an inner secrecy to it, where short, stabbing notes lock horns with the sparse, dry terrain. The koto cuts against the melody — the broken edges of a rock grate against the side — and this time it enters more forcefully. As a result, the piece grows fierce and unpredictable. The harp is temporarily blotted out. ‘The Clockmaker’s Dream’ tinkles away, and the notes tick on and on with a reassuring regularity.
“Terelan Canyon” was recorded in under forty-eight hours. The two musicians had never met prior to recording; there’s a no entry sign specifically aimed at intruding overdubs and there’s plenty of interplay on offer, too. There doesn’t seem to be a fatal pausing — there’s no sign of hesitation or delay — and the improvised passages aren’t lacking, either. The record could feel bare and slightly empty if it weren’t for a great amount of heart and expression, and that’s really the key to understanding the music. The two instruments are immediate friends, and they complement each other while sharing the same territory. No one vies for control and nothing spills over. A healthy respect is transmitted through the music, because although there is freedom, there’s no overt extravagance on either side, no late bid for supremacy to nourish a hungry ego.
As well as respect, then, there’s also a great deal of trust, choosing to raise the music up rather than the musician. Playing off and around each other, the notes softly echo and fade away. Once more the volume increases and a sudden whirl of activity rouses them from their daze. Incredibly stable rhythms are able to emerge in spite of the experimentation, and the harp dances in-between the koto’s clipped orientation. “Terelan Canyon” is a playground in a strange desert, a woven web that manages to catch both the shade and the sunshine.