Mary Lattimore on Julee Cruise – Floating Into The Night
Next up on the dock for Hidden Gems is another favorite from this year. I caught Mary at Soundscape last year and her set was enigmatic in its depth and simplicity. She’s a master of using the harp to build emotive worlds and her latest record for Ghostly is one of the best records of 2018 for sure. I asked her to pick out a record that hadn’t gotten its due, a gem that despite merit doesn’t get fawned over as fervently as it should. She’s picked Julee Cruise’s debut LP, Floating Into The Night, a record that’s as much about atmosphere as it is about emotion. Seems like a perfect pairing to her own mastery of the same. While the record is forever associated with its most glaring TV and film associations, she tries to divorce it from its Lynchian moors and assess it on its own dreamy merits. Check out how the record came into her life and what impact its had on her own writing.
Lattimore concedes, “It’s not really that hidden, but it’s a gem that found me later in life, after I’d watched Twin Peaks years before. It found me after a reference to David Lynch’s work seemed like just part of an everyday vocabulary, after thinking of how strange sounds would be reminiscent of the Eraserhead baby’s cries or unsettling rooms would have a “Twin Peaks vibe.” I first heard Floating Into The Nightin a half-sleep, when my brain was turned off and all associations were on pause. My head was resting against the passenger’s side window as my bandmate (Jeff Zeigler) drove us back to Philadelphia through the gauzy night after a show somewhere. I’d asked him to take over the driving when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and he put on the record as a Driver’s Choice. Through the blur of tiredness, Julee’s distant voice reminded me of being in the womb or something, and I remember waking up fully for a sec to ask Jeff what it was. I bought a copy soon after and listen to it a lot, grateful to have had that dreamy first listen, when the weight of sleep kaleidoscoped such a pretty thing.”
“Again,” she continues, “I’m not sure it’s really hidden necessarily but I don’t hear it talked about on its own a lot. David Lynch wrote the lyrics and Badalamenti wrote the music/arrangements so it’s natural to associate the music with Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, but I think it stands alone as such a beautiful record. I think the sound has definitely seeped into my own music, especially when I think of creating some kind of layered melancholic 1950’s-style arpeggiated lilt – echoey and maybe a little bit of a siren song or a weirdo slow dance. I like the idea of entrancing enchantment from such an obviously lovely instrument like a harp also being a little sinister, like the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz. That’s what this record reminds me of; of being driven through a filmy haze, not knowing what time it is or where we really are.”
Mary’s assessment of the record as beautiful, but menacing is spot on. Its narcotic to be sure, but filled with darkness the moment it makes your eyes droop. Its hard to dissociate that opening riff from the credits of Twin Peaks, but its clear why Lynch chose Cruise to set the tone of the show. This is without a doubt a necessity in any collection. Lattimore’s own record from this year could garner the same praise, pick it up from Ghostly if you’re not already spinning it and keep an eye on her for great things to come.
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