Komadići harfe razbijeni tijekom seobe planina, skupljeni usnama i potom zakotrljani niz spaljeni planet.
Mary Lattimore’s debut The Withdrawing Room is a stunning experiment, a counterexample to music as our shared sense. Watch audiences at galleries, museum exhibits, or book readings. These are rooms of individuals, a fact that does not reflect positively or negatively on the crowd, it is simply a characteristic of the art. But rhythm and dissonance unite us. So look now to the crowds at nightclubs and live music venues: dancing with, embracing, even sharing drinks with strangers. Art exhibits don’t have that effect, nor are they meant to.
This way we can think of The Withdrawing Room as a visual art exhibit, having been composed for reflection, like the name implies. It is not dissonant at all, and does not crack the listener over the head with pounding, literal rhythms. The surrounding room does not exactly feature, either: there are no reverberations from hardwood floors or distance between listener and artist. Lattimore is a 20-year harp veteran from Philadelphia who has logged collaborative time with Arcade Fire, Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile. Co-composer Jeff Zeigler manipulates the signal with ambient Korg improvisations, and the result is not listener immersion, but incorporation. Hence the statement about The Withdrawing Room really being more about the former than it is the latter; the sound is intangible, essential.
The nurturing tones (and title) of “You’ll Be Fiiinnne” come first. The harp-already a lowercase instrument-establishes a fleeting, high-register, almost organic source for Zeigler’s concurrent horseplay. The electronics are noninvasive: think of a crisp fall evening, an expert musician playing casually, and that odd moment when you realize the rustling leaves and insect sounds are adding to the performance instead of taking away. At times the strings are so ethereal we lose focus, and at others the electronics become downright playful. But it is a necessary introspection and–at 24 minutes–a rather long one. And just like any inward glance, it offers a dozen moods or more.
“Pluto the Planet” is considerably more homogenous, although the cosmic populist stance implied by the title is a mirage. These clusters of notes and quirky devices mean states, not expanses. This is a brainy and singular retreat, beckoning and brightly lit. After two tracks spanning over 40 minutes, “Poor Daniel” is a quick epilogue, although we’ve long drawn our conclusions by now: fragile, sublime and alive. What sets the album apart is that it sets us apart, which is simply a characteristic of the art.
- Fred Nolan for Fluid Radio
The Withdrawing Room spreads three pieces by harpist Mary Lattimore across two sides of black vinyl (available in 300 copies), though in this case, surprisingly enough, it's the dominant B-side piece that is the more satisfying. Although Lattimore (credited with playing a Lyon & Healy Style 30 harp and Line 6 looper on her debut release) has made a name for herself for playing with artists such as Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile,The Withdrawing Room is largely a solo project, the exception being the opening piece, which includes Korg Mono/Poly contributions from Jeff Zeigler.
Though his electronic interventions add dramatic and wide-ranging colour to the A-side's “You'll Be Fiiinnne,” they also displace the listener's focus away from the sparkling, wave-like clusters Lattimore generates with her looping device. Having said that, there's no disputing the fact that “You'll Be Fiiinnne” presents an arrestingly original sound-world that, if anything, grows ever more unusual as it progresses through its twenty-four minutes. Fast-forward ten minutes into the journey and you'll hear the harp patterns receding into the background and the front-line inhabited by all manner of woodland spirits and goblins; jump ahead three more minutes and you're in the middle of a churning industrial factory where warbly, sci-fi electronics wage war with violent harp plucks.
The album's other long setting, “Pluto the Planet,” is more satisfying for subtly embellishing her solo playing with electronic treatments. Often assuming a liquidy quality, the harp notes in this case bleed off to form woozy glissandos, an effect that lends the material a hazy, dream-like quality. In fact, the generally slow and stately “Pluto the Planet” often sounds as if it could be Eno inhabiting the producer's chair, with the re-shaping of the harp's playing often calling to mind the quieter sequences on the Fripp-Eno collaborations No Pussyfooting and Evening Star. Somewhat like a microcosm of the album as a whole, the two-minute closer, “Poor Daniel,” juxtaposes melodic harp patterns and chaotic treatments, with neither one the obvious victor.
It's telling that The Withdrawing Room is at its most satisfying when Lattimore's resplendent playing is presented in its its purest form. Nevertheless, the material is as far removed from anything remotely harp-like as could be imagined, so Lattimore certainly earns points for boldly going where no harpist has gone before. . textura.org