Drawing on deep-listening philosophy, harpist Mary Lattimore uses synthesis and vocalizations to make her ancient instrument modern.
Mary Lattimore was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina; although her mother was a classically trained harpist, Lattimore didn’t immediately take to learning the instrument herself. She gradually became charmed by and skilled in the ways of the harp, and in 2007 she contributed to Philadelphia-based psychedelic folk group Valerie Project’s self-titled debut album — since then, her sound has blossomed. She’s worked closely with Philadelphia-based synth wizard Jeff Zeigler, released several solo albums and collaborated with indie darlings like Thurston Moore, Steve Gunn and Kurt Vile. Lattimore’s music has a physical and emotional intimacy to it that comes with years of devoted study, and she incorporates other instruments and techniques to amplify and shape her compositions. On her 2018 album Hundreds of Days, Lattimore uses her trusty Line 6 loop pedal as well as electric guitar, piano, theremin, semi-modular synthesis and her own voice to create an earthen ambience that draws on the deep-listening philosophies of Pauline Oliveros. In her Fireside Chat, she discusses the harp as a modern instrument, collaborating and working solo and the music that changed her life.