Country : United States Label : Ghostly International Genres and styles : Ambient / Instrumental Year :

Mary Lattimore – Goodbye, Hotel Arkada

· by Théo Reinhardt

The Los Angeles harpist returns to make the air shine with an evocative, impressionistic new album, enhanced by warm collaborations.

Mary Lattimore is perhaps the most beloved harpist in American indie circles. Since discovering her music last year with Silver Ladders, I’ve been seeing her name popping up more and more everywhere. After all, her palette perfectly meets a precise demand in a market that can’t be too abundant. For her new album, Goodbye, Hotel Arkada, she enlisted the help of some of her friends and previous collaborators, including Meg Baird, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), Roy Montgomery, Samara Lubelski and Walt McClements.

The album is made up of six tracks, each relating to a very specific image or memory. Lattimore likes to work in this way: to create living tableaux with his music, like 3D photos you can walk through. The pieces are often constructed from improvisation sessions, which are then meticulously worked out. She starts with a large block of marble and then finds the sculpture in it.

The album takes its name from an old hotel in Croatia, which the artist was told was to be completely renovated. The effect of this impending change, this loss of history that she would never see, set her on the trail of this project. There’s this sense of loss, tinged with tenderness and sadness at the same time. Lattimore applies it, especially to memories. She says that getting older, touring a lot and not seeing things change weighs on her. The first track, “And Then He Wrapped His Arms Around Me”, sensuously paints the moment when, as a child, she received a hug from Big Bird, backstage at the Sesame Street studio. The aim was to go back to meet that memory, to channel the naive and now unattainable essence of that embrace.

Thinking back to this first track, it’s clear that there’s a sense of humour hidden deep in Lattimore’s work. A kind of awareness of an ironic potential, but one that has been pushed aside to better embrace wonder. It’s the adult mind that tries to do justice to childhood memories, not without a touch of sadness. This abandonment of small details is evident in the other tracks: “Horses, Glossy on the Hill”, and “Music for applying shimmering eye shadow”, we understand that each track contains an emotional story at its core.

Mary Lattimore proves that her talent for telling stories through instruments is as well-developed as ever. So, to immerse yourself in a shimmering landscape, to visit the starry plains between the artist’s mind and ours, to skid along for forty minutes or so… take the chance to say goodbye, too, to Hotel Arkada.

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