Dorset-based Michael Tanner is a protean musician with a rare facility for releasing albums and other miscellaneous sonic projects (under his own name, in various guises that include Plinth, Thalassing, Taskerlands and Cat Lady, or as part of the duo
The A. Lords, or the improvisatory ensemble United Bible Studies) with a jaw-dropping frequency whose quantity is, impressively, always matched by artistic quality.
Michael’s predilection for abstracted, psycho-geographic English folk-soundscapes, for dreamlike Mellotron woodwinds, plangent string drones, lambent field recordings and eerie Victorian dulcimers inexorably evolved into a distinctive musical vocabulary. Much of his constantly expanding body of work will already be familiar to Second Language devotees.
The debut album by The Cloisters is another fine addition to that imposing oeuvre. Featuring Aine O’Dwyer (United Bible Studies) on harp, Daniel Merrill (Dead Rat Orchestra) on viola, Aaron Martin on cello and Hanna Tuulikki on church harmonium,
The Cloisters takes us on a four-leg journey through a pastoral but shaded landscape, pregnant with mystery and nostalgia.
Suitably evocative, vérité recordings of genuine rural mystique punctuate the exquisitely elusive music, everything from cooing wood pigeons to distant poachers “firing their guns in the woods during rainfall at midnight.” To similar atmospheric ‘real world’ effect, Hanna Tuulikki's numinous keyboards were recorded in the smallest church in England, at Lullington, Sussex. Another leitmotiv is Mooch, Michael’s pet cat, who appears at the start and (unexpectedly) at the end of the record. Sadly, she passed away just after the album was mastered.
'The Cloisters' comes packaged as a CD album in concertina sleeve based on found slides of The Alps and New Forest, 1977.
A bonus disc of additional Cloisters music, 'Little Summer/Little Winters' available exclusively to Second Language subscribers, features the same line up as detailed above, sans Hanna Tuulikki but including flautist Katie English (Isnaj Dui/Littlebow).
Limited edition of 500 copies.
This is SL019.
released April 29, 2013
Recorded and mixed 2008-2012 at Greenwitch, Dorset, Lullington Church, West Sussex and Symonds Yat in Ross On Wye by Michael Tanner.
Michael Tanner with:
Áine O' Dwyer - Harp on ‘Freohyll Nocturne/Hymn’ and ‘A Pelagic Recital’
Hanna Tuulikki - Church Harmonium on ‘Riverchrist’
Daniel Merrill - Viola on ‘Riverchrist’
Aaron Martin - Cello on ‘Freohyll Nocturne/Hymn’
Michu - Purrs and Chirrups on ‘Riverchrist’ and ‘A Pelagic Recital’
All songs by Michael Tanner except A Pelagic Recital (Tanner/O’Dwyer) and Viola arrangements on ‘Riverchrist’ (Merrill)
Love: Áine, Richard, Amanda, Joe, Ollie, The Bible Students and The Dead Rats
Mastered by Antony Ryan
Layout by Jeff Teader
Slides: The Alps and The New Forest, 1977
Thanks to all at Second Language
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