Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore’s collective work—as solo artists, band members, and collaborators—could fill a small record collection. Despite this productivity, these two long-time friends have never recorded an entire album focused exclusively on their unique talents. “Ghost Forests” mysteriously, thrillingly fills that void.
Independently, Baird and Lattimore have each cultivated highly individual and idiosyncratic tools of expression. Baird’s timeless and soaring voice, guitar, and drums have underpinned pastoral and folk rock explorations as a soloist and in band settings with Espers and Heron Oblivion. Lattimore’s albums of enigmatic, spectral experimental harp sounds move and unfold like films and nature itself. The list of artists that have called upon their voices, talents, and visions to enrich their own work is expansive—a virtual pocket encyclopedia of contemporary indie and experimental musicians.
Over the course of “Ghost Forests”’ six collaborative compositions we hear deeply sympathetic conversations between the two artists. With access to a deep pool of shared influences, these two friends assembled a collection of sounds conjured from harp, guitar (both acoustic and electric), synths, the human voice, and a shared poetic language. Baird and Lattimore’s subjects range from the sound of light on water, seismic geopolitical anxiety, the smog-exploded sunsets of Don Dudley’s paintings, and vertigo from their respective relocations to San Francisco and Los Angeles from their once-shared home in Philadelphia.
The synthesis of their vision welcomes listeners who might have been familiar with only one of the performer’s solo oeuvres. It also speaks to long-time fans both artists who have long wondered what this dream collaboration might yield.
Steve Gunn has long known Baird and Lattimore and worked with both on his own albums. He says “Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore are two musicians that I greatly admire. ‘Ghost Forests’ is an ace meld of their abilities; Meg’s guitar and voice, and Mary’s harp lead each other (and us) into further regions of the strata. With each song you can hear this remarkable kinship. I’m thankful for this soundtrack.”
“Ghost Forests”’ musical conversations are intimate, fluid, effortless and spontaneous. They’re filled with the euphoria of creation and, at times, they articulate hard truths and tangled emotions with an ease only trusted friends can manage. The songs alternate between extended ethereal instrumental excursions, gauzy and dreamy pop, blown-out “Bull of the Woods” heavy haze, and modern reimaginations of epic traditional balladry—all while touching on the strange and otherworldly places between these stations.
With “Ghost Forests” Baird and Lattimore have given us all a timeless gift that generously rewards immersion and deep investigation. It is our collective good fortune as listeners that we are able to eavesdrop on their conversation through these songs. It is also a wonder to hear two unique artists interact to such beautifully original ends.