Label: Clay Pipe Music
Plinth (Michael Tanner) has been recording for the better part of a decade, sharing time as a member of numerous other acts. What makes Music for Smalls Lighthouse so special? The album tells a story whose outlines are visible even without the accompanying text; the field recordings are location-specific, and contribute to an overall mood; the composition is tender, the playing exquisite; and there's little else to which it can be compared.
Tanner has chosen just the right instruments for the occasion. The album begins with a music box melody played on glockenspiel and dulcitone, the "once upon a time" that begins all good fables, even the horrific and Grimm. The opening track passes through many phases, seeming at times like the humblest of overtures, before landing on the still-peaceful shores of "Dawn Reflects in the East". On this track, the cello and bowed strings take over, establishing a Skelton-like atmosphere of layered nuance.
Tanner's piano does not emerge until the middle of the album, and when it does, it sounds restless and a bit distracted, like waves formed by dual currents. Such agitation echoes the mindset of the protagonist. When the bell-toned instruments return, they attempt to match the piano's melody, but fall prey to mild distortion as radio waves and a second, phantomlike piano melody swirl in the background. Sanity is being tugged by a very short string.