A Journal Of The Dark Arts
October is a very special time of year (provided yr in the Northern Hemisphere, but probably even if you weren’t). The autumn reveals its royal opulence, before the chill and deadening set in. The air smells like smoke, leaves crunch underfoot, the trees are like an abstract expressionism, and the breeze is as soft and cool as velvet and silk.
In October, magick and romance stalk the land, and any/everything is possible.
The autumn is our favorite time of year, here at Forestpunk, especially October. It’s the one month out of the year when it seems like the rest of the world fall into step with the way we live, year round. The soft breeze seems to invite reverie, dreamy reflection, and the subdued evenings entice one towards sunset strolls, holding hushed conversations.
This year, we hope to take the ram by the horns, and make the most of this month, and will be posting as much autumnal music as possible, as well as keeping abreadst of new musickal developments, as normal.
October Guitar is a solo guitar meditation from Michael Tanner, who is best known for his work under the name Plinth. These 6 sound sculptures and tone poems were constructed with a cherry Epiphone guitar, a RAT Distortion Pedal, a reverb box, an Alesis Micron, and a pitchshifting plug-in, over the span of 2 days, in 2011, while preparing for a United Bible Studies Halloween show. Crystalline harmonics, weightless drones, and flickers of rumble perfectly re-create the sensation of puddles of light on the floor, while shadows dart and dance on the parlor wall.
The guitar tones and textures are expertly manipulated and layered, leaving the guitar utterly unrecognizable. This is like the 6-string alchemy on Loveless taken to it’s ultimate conclusion, with the earthiness of steel, string, and electricity transmuted to become pure air and light.
October Guitar is more like a suite, composed of movements, then an “album” comprised of songs, which is to say, it’s best taken whole. There’s not much in the way of harmonic development, instead it’s a textural drift, a space to inhabit, a peaceful clearing in a busy and complex world.
October Guitar is noteworthy, as Michael Tanner has a tendency to wrap his drones and soundscapes in narrative devices, to provide a context for the sounds, as can be seen on the exemplary Music For Smalls Lighthouse, with its coffin nail field recordings and waterlogged journal packaging. October Guitar is more subjective, more personal, more open to interpretation, readymade to fill yr daydreams with all manner of fall foliage and spectral encounters.
More than anything, October Guitar is beautiful. It effortlessly captures the feeling of reminiscence and possibility in October. It’s a touch lonely and empty, but it is a rich and aching longing.
I feel like this type of textural guitar drone music has fallen out of fashion in the past few years, although it will always have its celebrants. Fans of Labradford, Windy & Carl, and Stars Of The Lid will be transmitted by this slight and intoxicated release.
Let this serve as a reminder to not let this month slip you by. Get out of the house. Go for a walk. Go to a pumpkin patch. Get quiet. Sit and listen and read and chat with friends. Let the richness of life envelop you.
Michael Tanner makes music under a fistful of monikers, and you’d be advised to check them all out. His newest, Nine Of Swords, a meditation on the tarot, using sonorous percussion, is out now via A Year In The Country.