Tyneham House ~ Tyneham House

“Oh, how lovely!” says she, clapping her hands once in delight.  Over sixty years have passed since she last saw her ancestral village.  Blinded by a mortar strike, she had been told only spindles of narrative:  Mum, we had to move.  The government needed our village for training exercises.  They shot up the Tyneham house; we were not allowed to move back.  The cat kept wandering to her old quarters; the soldiers kept shooing her away.

Place is place,” the woman recites, milky eyes and cracked hands and a voice caught inbetween.  “Home is home.”  She caresses the ridged paper of the tiny booklet that she found in the cardboard box.  “Do read it to me again.”

“Please treat the church and houses with care,” her granddaughter reads, dutifully.

“But they did not, did they.”

“They did not.”

“But the little booklet tells our story.”

“It does.  And the music.”

“I always did like those plastic boxes.”

“Cassettes.  There’s a CD too.”

“Who’s the lovely man singing?”

“I’m not sure, one of those Second Language types, very pleasant, don’t you think?”

“Is someone writing on a chalkboard?  Who’s there?”

“I think that’s part of the song.”

“Oh, and . . .”  Now she wrings her hands as if washing them.  “Oh.”

“What is it?”

“I always did like the flute.  Elizabeth played the flute.”  Elizabeth smiles, remains quiet.  “Such happy times, before the war.”  She pulls the box closer, reaches inside once more.  “Did the sparrows come back this year?”

“They did.  They’re here now.”

“Oh!” she exclaims once more, patting the shredded paper inside.  “I think I have found their nest!”

Tyneham House, a joint releases from Second Language and Clay Pipe, straddles multiple genres with ease.  The CD of ambient folk tunes is sparse and primarily instrumental.  The cassette is a collection of found sounds, many from other long-lost cassettes: primers, conversations, birdsong, rain, rattles, creaks, and more music, including a child’s piano lesson.  The folk art of Frances Castle (The Hardy Tree) ties it all together.  The release is a testament to the resilience of place: a fascinating curio in the form of a contemporary keepsake.  (Richard Allen) 

Available here


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