Mary Lattimore – Returned To Earth
1.12.17 by Kat Harding
Harpist Mary Lattimore has teamed up with Soap Library to release her latest cassette, “Returned To Earth.” The New York-based holistic tape label is offering Mary’s tape with hand-embossed artwork and a packet of heirloom orange zinnia seeds, ensuring the beauty of the outside matches the inside of the latest tracks.
Side A, “For Scott Kelly, Returned to Earth,” is Mary’s welcome home message to American astronaut Scott Kelly after his year spent in the International Space Station. After a fall left Mary with a broken jaw, wired shut and unable to speak, she channeled her feelings of isolation and loneliness into song. Scott’s frequent updating of his social media feeds, including the progress of his “space flower,” an orange zinnia and the first zinnia to be grown in space, kept him connected to Earth and served as inspiration to Mary. His beautiful posts of Earth’s wonder from afar was a small reward for his solitude, and Mary’s incorporated all of these feelings into a six-minute track, full of wandering chords. Picked strings seem to dance over gentle strumming, calling to mind Scott’s view of swirling clouds over our lonely planet and his whirlwind of a journey home. The trailer for the cassette, hand-drawn by John Andrews of indie band Quilt, features hyper-color crayon drawings, inspired by Scott’s time in space.
Side B, also just over six minutes long, is an improvisation from Mary and musician and artist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, who met in the wonderland of Marfa, Texas, and recorded in New York City. Named after a tiny town in California, “Borrego Springs” features piano, guitar, and harp coming together to form peaceful melodies one might listen to while staring up at the stars in Borrego Springs, a town 55 miles away from any bright city lights, where astronomers flourish. The song quietly starts off, nearing a minute by the time the harp and piano have begun to fill the space of the silence. Gentle echoes and reverberation of guitar and piano alternate around the harp. It is not long enough, and the whole tape should immediately be played again.
Get a copy of the beautifully packaged cassette, or pick up the digital files, on her Bandcamp page. Every dollar of proceeds from Bandcamp will go to support the Sierra Club.