Well this is lovely, but I guess it was always going to be, eh? Michael Tanner is that fellow who drones on instruments like psaltery and dulcimer, and Alison Cotton herself is no stranger to crafting gothic ambience in the vein of a more plaintive Natural Snow Buildings. Together they make a light and beautiful cassette for Reckno, its music similar to the rise-fade beauty of Stars of the Lid but with a busier and often more openly melodic landscape.
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- Untitled by Michael Tanner & Alison Cotton
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 02 August 2016
Michael Tanner -- psaltery, dulcimer, etc. -- makes the drones which form the backdrop to something achingly sombre here, yet yearningly evocative. Pervading this early-morning-misty landscape are those sorrowful strings. Hello, Alison Cotton of Left Outsides and her stately, neo-gothic violin.
The tape consists of three expansive tracks averaging 20 minutes each. Opener, ‘Masts of Rown-Tree’ finds Tanner and Cotton (and, uh, by logical extension, us. I guess) located in the depths of hidden, secret, magical forest in a land unknown certainly to my idea of reality. Whereas here Alison’s violin is happy in the shadows to wend its own circular path, on second track, ‘Angels in the Architecture’, there is a more open and skyward-facing aspect which borders on emotional uplift. The natural rise and fall of the strings forms a rhythm which seems to be leading my breathing, which I’m now keenly aware of but it ain’t no thang as an angelic harp figure emerges from the clouds to tell me, “hey, it’s OK. It’s fiiiine to use the ‘awareness’ word and not that other one which means the same thing but is used as a substitute for ‘meditation’. The tape has stopped. I’ll turn it over then.
‘Floodplains’ drones, soars and gently swoops in a more melodic way than I could have hoped for. Yet you might call it atonal, I guess. Huh... It is plaintive, of course. But. I. Am. Transported. After very nearly an hour of music, where am I? Who am I? I am a cassette that has been correctly spooled back. To the beginning. Again!
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