Both harpist Mary Lattimore and singer-songwriter Meg Baird first rose to prominence in Philadelphia during the last decade. Baird was the astral spirit and voice at the center of free-folk group Espers; Lattimore was a young instrumentalist whose supporting work alongside the likes of Thurston Moore was steadily leading to wonderful solo compositions. But they only became a duo after separately moving to California—Baird to San Francisco, where she launched the great rock band Heron Oblivion, and Lattimore to Los Angeles, where her solo exploration yielded one of this year’s best surprises, Hundreds of Days. Released by North Carolina’s sterling Three Lobed, their six-song debut as a pair, Ghost Forests, is a mesmerizing union. Lattimore’s sympathetic harp ripples across Baird’s shapeshifting songs, like a piece of shimmering silk taking unexpected forms in a spring breeze. Mesmerizing improvisations float between tunes where Lattimore’s harp seems like an extension of Baird’s guitar, bejeweling the riff as if it were the filigree of some illuminated manuscript.
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