Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore – Ghost Forests

Released in 2018 on Three Lobed Recordings


Review:

Ghost Forest is an ethereal and somewhat haunting collaboration between two significant figures in modern psych-folk memory: guitarist/singer Meg Baird, who was a primary member of Espers and currently drums&sings with Heron Oblivion, and harpist Mary Lattimore, who’s recorded with Fursaxa, Steve Gunn, and others in addition to her hypnotic solo work.

The album begins with the ambient “Between Two Worlds”, an open and spacious instrumental that makes one feel like they’re floating through tunnels of lightly cascading harps, with improvisatory electric guitars fluttering in the distance and occasional low gurgle of synthesizers. This piece serves as a transportation device between the world you’re used to and the sonic dreamworld these musicians masterfully create. After a short intro of driving acoustic guitar, “Damaged Sunset” settles into slow-paced strumming, while Baird’s dreamy, softly-reverbed vocals seem to precipitate weightlessly from the foggy atmosphere of synthesizer drones.

The dreamy centerpiece “In Cedars” begins with a delicate, beautiful harp melody fuzz guitar swelling slowly in the distance. The multi-layered vocals are completely enveloping as they sing about being “wrapped up in cedars, rings all around. Blankets and boundless in snowfall you’ll go”. Like side A, side B also opens with an ambient instrumental, albeit a much dronier and sparser track, where a deep, entrancing synth drone takes the forefront and harps glisten throughout the background. The quietly chugged “Painter of Tygers” features some great loop pedal acrobatics from Lattimore, with stuttering harps filling out the spaces around Baird’s guitar and vocals. As if emerging from a fog, the 8-minute closer “Fair Annie” (a traditional folk tune) appears, stripped of the thick blankets of reverb and atmospheric overdubbing that characterizes the rest of the album and creating a new sense of clarity and focus.

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Highly recommended for fans of Natural Snow Buildings, 60’s British/Scottish Folk, or Laraaji

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