Here are 10 facts about harps that you really need to know:
Fact #1: The harp, as an instrument, dates back to around 3500 BCE, which in technical jargon means it is “pretty bloody old.”
Fact #2: Harps make great entrance sounds in pantomimes and fairy tales.
Fact #3: Modern harps aren’t really as synonymous with rock music as electric guitars, or even keytars for that matter.
Fact #4: Mary Lattimore has been setting out to alter Fact #3 by contributing her harp skills to recordings and live performances with the likes of Thurston Moore, Steve Gunn, Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, and Jarvis Cocker.
Fact #5: Lattimore teamed up with Jeff Zeigler (who has produced records with The War on Drugs and A Sunny Day in Glasgow) in December 2013 to lay down some freaky harp and synth/guitar duets for a live score to Philippe Garrel’s 1968 film Le Révélateur in Marfa, Texas.
Fact #6: Not long after, during a January 2014 snowstorm that locked everyone in Philadelphia indoors, Lattimore and Zeigler laid down some of their own harp-centric tunes.
Fact #7: Those harp-centric tunes are now compiled as an album they call Slant of Light, which will be released on September 23 by Thrill Jockey on CD and white vinyl.
Fact #8: Thrill Jockey describes Slant of Light as “an impressionistic work that draws on musical histories ancient and contemporary, existing outside current trends in music as a whole. There is nothing that sounds remotely like it.” I’m inclined to agree.
Fact #9: Lattimore and Zeigler are doing a limited run of shows at highfalutin places with names like PhilaMOCA and Body Actualized Center. The dates are below. More dates will follow.
Fact #10: By now you have realized that harps have the potential to be totally cool.
Slant of Light tracklisting:
01. Welsh Corgis in the Snow
02. The White Balloon
03. Echo Sounder
04. Tomorrow is a Million Years
07.28.14 - Philadelphia, PA - PhilaMOCA
07.29.14 - Brooklyn, NY - Body Actualized Center
09.25.14 - Chicago, IL - Constellation
[Photo: Ryan Collerd]