Victorian Machine Music

by Plinth



The original 8 track ep that went on to form half of the 'Collected Machine Music' release on Time Released Sound in 2012 - these tracks were re-titled and re-mastered for that edition.

"Dorset's Plinth appeared on the Geographic compilation You Dont Need Darkness To Do What You Think Is Right back in 2001. As the title suggests, all eight tracks on this EP were created by the 'creaking, winding, piping, chiming and wood-knocking of Victorian parlour music machines'. Though Plinth sometimes lets aged fairground/carnival tunes peek through the static, more often he uses the music machines for melancholy toy tunes, or reflective puddles of wistful melody, swamping the sweet metallic ring of the instrument with layers of machine clutter and clatter. " The Wire.

"What an amazing and intriguing set of recordings. First time I heard it I thought how enchanting and almost touching the first track was. The third track with the waves coming in and out I loved and thought it so inventive. Track 4 sent me into a trance - although I wasn't aware of that until I came to! Then, track 5, with the animal/bird snufflings sounded like the start of creation. Track 6 sounded like toy tin soldiers on the march, followed by tin horse riders with the trappings all a-jingle in a very tinny way - very surreal. And track 8 - so pretty, but with a warning or alarm sounding all the way through. Then I played it again, and started to hear that there was a bit of a nightmare echoing through as well... a tad unsettling ... This is really original stuff - a remarkable concept. Clever old you! " Shirley Collins on Victorian Machine Music

" 10 stars out of 10.... What strikes me every time I play this cdr is the sheer delicacy and dreamlike nature of the music. There's this whole tapestry of more or less loosely-bound melodies and ghostly textures that never exhaust their mysterious powers. Sometimes, there are moments that may recall the sound-world of Cecile Schott aka Colleen, although a closer listen reveals a different kind of approach altogether, at least to my ears. Right, the melodies do not necessarily follow a song-like structure. Sometimes, only fragments of them are actually surfacing . But this doesn't make up for the fragile poetry that you will find here. True, the chosen medium (a three-inch cdr) makes the experience all the more concise in its overall scope and the collage method is deliberately unconventional (only one piece of software was used for the sole purpose of editing the tunes), but there is something here that just cannot be fully grasped into words. I may venture to write that, like Vashti Bunyan's oft-misunderstood lullabies, the music of Plinth is able to create a singular climate that offers as much a safe haven as a more acute awareness of the dangers that may surround us. Consequently, the dreamlike quality of the music mentioned just above is not merely lovely-sounding and it is a tribute to Tanner's unique experimental edge to make us hear other unexpected voices in-between the tunes themselves. To my mind, these darker overtones are a full part of the fabric of this work and although they're not overwhelming in any way, their presence is quietly upsetting. Again, this may all be woven from the stuff that dreams are made of, but there's a reality going on here too, and it will be as joyful, lively and sad as you want it to be. It's also a perfect example of how free music can be, as it starts to behave like an organic entity that plays along with its creator(s) and develop the ability to change the way we actually listen to all this without even our realizing it. A true gem, indeed... " Foxy Digitalis


released January 6, 2006

Michael Tanner



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Michael Tanner/Plinth Lewes, UK

Eschewing teeth, skin and expensive electrical equipment since 1977 - Plinth, The A.Lords, The Cloisters, Thalassing, Bible Student and other silly names.

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