Mary Lattimore, "Never Saw Him Again" (Ghostly International).
The need for relief from modern American life's stresses (many of which come from living during a kakocracy) and extreme heat is urgent. The music of LA-based harpist Mary Lattimore induces peace of mind of a rarefied sort. It may strike some as New Age-y, but if you're still harboring knee-jerk antipathy toward that genre, you need to dig deeper and find the 10 percent of it that's golden. At its best, Lattimore's output exudes delicate melodic beauty and icy textural tantalizements that make categorization seem superfluous. This is feel-good, beatless music of exquisite poise; it classes up your brain real nicely. Instructive Lattimore track title: "It Feels Like Floating."
"Never Saw Him Again" (off this year's gorgeous Hundreds of Days LP) exhibits tickling tendrils of Lattimore's 47-string Lyon and Healy harp, distant, elongated "aaahhh"s that tingle your chakras, and some of the most tranquil drones this side of Brian Eno's Lux. This track should be piped into as many massage therapists' work spaces as possible, where it can complement the deep-tissue kneading that is equally crucial in dealing with 21st-century pressures... and, if you're like me, the rigors of working at a dadburned computer for 8-10 hours a day.