Grounding Sounds #006: Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner

After a brief hiatus we thought it was about time we shared the next Grounding Sounds show with you. We have also decided to return with a new look, switching our old blogger site to the slightly better looking WordPress instead. Whilst WordPress enables us to slap pictures of dusty old vinyl records everywhere, this does now mean that the neatly-embedded blogger-compatible Mixcloud widget blogger posts are no more. That is, unless any technical wizards out there get in touch and explain how on earth we do this for WordPress! So in the meantime, unfortunately you’ll have to just ‘click here to listen’ instead.

We have also set up a Grounding Sounds Facebook page, as we step our social networking attempts that will hopefully result in more than a handful of people listening. You can ‘like’ us here:

Moving on to things much more important than blog posts, information technology and social networking; we have a new show for you, courtesy of Michael Tanner. Michael is a musician behind several projects including his solo work as Plinth and collaborations as part of The A.Lords, Thalassing, Cloisters, Taskerlands. He even records as himself too!
Michael’s work has been released through several excellent labels including Second Language, Time Released Sound, Rif Mountain and Deadslackstring. His sound sits somewhere between folk, modern classical and experimental ambient music.

For more information, visit

Michael has taken the time to whittle down a selection of some of the music that has inspired him over the years – and has given us a brief commentary on each piece.


Folk Implosion – Raise The Bells [1995]
Delirious, giddy mellotron melancholy that sounds like a kid’s cartoon soundtrack transferred to reel to reel and sunken in a Russian submarine for 60 years before being played back fisher price cassette machine. Lou Barlow soundtracked my late teens.

Morton Feldman – Rothko Chapel 5 [1991]
The gentler end of Feldman’s canon. If trains have ghosts then they would make that sound at 3.15

Nico – Nibelungen [1991]
In the early days of Flying Saucer Attack/Movietone/Bristol outsider music scene, there was a notorious record shop, Revolver, that acted as a hub for most of the musicians run by a Withnail-type figure called Roger. He shouted at me until I bought this Nico’s Marble Index and I’m glad he did. Textbook definition of a ‘grower’.

Children Of The Stones – OST [Unknown]
Just imagine CBeebies slapping this on the front of their latest freak-in-felt-suit brainwasher.

Shirley Collins – One Night As I Lay On My Bed [1974]
The Real Queen Of England.

Choir Of Wells Cathedral – Nunc Dimittis [Unknown]
Verity Sharp once played the A.Lords Summerhouse on a St.George’s day BBC special of English themed music. We got overshadowed by this beauty which came right after…I’ve been hooked ever since.

Kraftwerk – Heimatklänge [1973]
Life before the machine.

Cynthia Dall – Holland [1996]
I would listen to this song over and over in my first flat when I was maybe 19 or 20, looking at the bleak Poole streets below, and watching the drunks puke/fight/screw in the alleys of the tower blocks. I miss Cindy and our late night conversations about football and the mangled English temperament.

Luciano Berio – Black Is The Colour [1988]
I wanted to add a John Jacob Niles song, but felt this variation fitted the other tracks best. Haunting stuff from Berio and the cooing vocals of Cathy Berberian.

Third Ear Band – Stone Circle [1969]
No band sums up the Dark, Olde England quite like the Third Ear Band. The music occasionally induces the horrors but then veers back trance-like. This is the music Steve Reich would have made if he were a Pict.

Emmanuelle Parrenin – Liturgie [1977]
I always include something from this album in mixes. If you’ve not heard it, seek it out immediately – Worth 1 million x Vashti Bunyans.

Daniel Johnston – Some Things Last A Long Time [1990]
Back in my first flat, again, going through break ups, again, and listening to Daniel Johnston cassettes to get sleep. That’ll leave an impression on yer.

Town and Country – Hindenburg [2000]
I tried to pick something to reflect my long dalliance with post-rock/chicago experimental music. This album still sounds incredibly fresh, maybe like an updated backporch version of the aforementioned Third Ear Band.

Harold Budd – Chrysalis Nu (To Barney’s Memory) [2004]
Harold Budd, at 76, is probably just about peaking…