On At the Dam, Lattimore delivers a haunting, lasting performance, one that feels solitary but never spare, alone but never lonesome.
At the Dam is a collection of improvised recordings from harpist Mary Lattimore. For the record, Lattimore left her home in Philadelphia to travel around the country and record in various locations. That kind of wandering comes across in these songs, but the songs don't just wander space. Yes, "Jaxine Drive" unravels in front of the listener like a road you're encountering for the first time, full of sweet phrasings upset by little cracks and potholes of upset notes or bent sounds. And beautiful closer "Ferris Wheel, January" feels like it sits still above it all, expanding out and taking in all it can from its nascent tumbling opener to the careful repetitions that stretch in all directions across the track. These improvised songs have a way of moving through time as well, across dimensions, to honor a lost family dog ("Otis Walks into the Woods") or late basketball coach Jimmy Valvano ("Jimmy V"). In these careful, beautiful, often heartbreaking performances, life itself is another location, one that may be left behind but lingers like a memory. Lattimore has had successful collaborations in the past with Jeff Ziegler, Kurt Vile, and others. But on At the Dam and on her own, Lattimore delivers a haunting, lasting performance, one that feels solitary but never spare, alone but never lonesome.