I was reading some of my daughter’s school work the other day about why the sky appears certain colors at different times of the day and I keep thinking about how the sky gets pink and red at dusk because blue light can’t travel very far and just scatters into invisibility letting red light take over. I find a certain poetry to light even having its limits and having to let another wavelength in the spectrum shine through. That’s how many of my favorite collaborations work, too. Artists have their lanes and there’s a time when it’s the focus and others when the moment calls for stepping back, scattering into the spectral vale and letting the other sounds lead the way.
Mary Lattimore and Growing are heavyweights. There’s an expectation when a trio like this comes together, but Gainer situates itself in expressive waters where patience is its own reward and the expanse is weightless. Expectations don’t matter, the feeling in the moment does. On Gainer there is a deep understanding and mutual respect that shines through with an understated fervor.
Two sprawling excursions are framed by darkening skies. “Flowers in the Center Lane Sway” tiptoes toward a place where illuminated figures sprout in all directions, wandering in awe amongst these memories of ghosts. Growing’s drones breathe in the cool air like generative prayers returning from a roundtrip to the celestial sphere. The timbres shift in subtle ways, almost imperceptible but writhing with potent grace.
With a glowing affection for the journey, Lattimore adds levity with a cascading flourish. The undertow gets stronger, stretched out tones becoming radiant as harmonies build into monuments, solid and unfazed. The dichotomy of this density with the featherweight touch of Lattimore’s harp playing is magical, flickers of neon beneath a midnight sea. Turn up the volume and “Flowers in the Center Lane” becomes a tactile cocoon.
It’s a beautiful open to an album that fully blooms with concentration and deep listening. Focusing in on the spectral timbres and emotive arrangements unlocks our minds to drift and travel beyond. On “Tagada, Night Rises” Lattimore’s harp is situated in the moonlight, hypnotic in its restrained effervesence. She weaves these lustrous sonic webs that are gossamer to the touch, but rife with emotion, staring down the coming storm. Bolstered by Growing’s static murmurs, there’s a freedom of movement in the arrangement that blend the disparate sounds together, giving new textures a moment in the sun.
As the piece shifts into its second, final phase, guitars begin singing and the echoes of yesterday fade into obscurity. The last eight minutes of Gainer look ahead unafraid of the endless possibilities. Resonant structures build mountains. Reverberating strings hold vigils for the souvenirs that never made it to the memory banks. Glossy landscapes shine like beacons for the stragglers making their way to the horizon, Lattimore and Growing intertwining the melodic reflections into an enchanted aural prism where every direction has a destination.
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