MIchael Tanner Vespers / The Blackening

Objects Forever
31st March 2023

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Vespers and The Blackening are the latest, and final, albums by musician Michael Tanner (AKA Plinth, The Cloisters, Thalassing and more). Vespers is a brand newwork, recorded in 2020 but only justsurfacing now, while the the latter has previously only been available in digital form. Both albums are combined on one tape, released on The Leaf Library’s Objects Forever imprint.

“I made these recordings for Vespers due to the sheer inanity of lockdown – they arrived fully formed and unexpected, like all good improvisational pieces should be I guess. It’s a worn cliche, but they genuinely weren’t meant to be heard by the outside world. In fact, I sat on it a year so as to not get swept up in the deluge of lockdown albums that were already popping up left right and centre. As with any album I put out, if I still want to listen to it after a year then the chances are other people will too.“Bar the church organ opening, the album was recorded entirely on a slab atop a family vault in the graveyard at the end of my street. Always at dusk, when the birds in the trees overhead were at their most animated. I’m not a big one for ‘studio trickery’ but this was my first experience with ping-pong delay – borne from the fact that I just really missed playing music with other people, and the call and response nature of it had a somewhat similar sensation; making a sound into the void and having it bounce back at you, making you then react, think on your feet. “You can hear twigs snapping below as I had to shift, mid-recording, as ants bit my ankles. It’s a snapshot of a few days in Spring: no agony, very little tweaking and probably the most honest thing I’ve recorded.

“The Blackening is a piece of music recorded between 2014 and 2016 in the UK and Italy, mostly as aduo with Alison Cotton.Overdubs were added by my friend and constant inspiration Lino CapraVaccina in 2016.”