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The House Was Alright

by Duncan Speakman and Tineke De Meyer

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1.
Old Refrain 08:13
2.
Being Hungry 06:24
3.
Joints 02:09
4.
5.

about

While they both lived in Belgium, Tineke and Duncan worked together on installations, audio walks and hybrid print/digital projects together. After Duncan returned to Bristol in 2018 their collaboration was maintained through shared files and fragments of ideas sent remotely. Inspiration flowed in both directions, found sounds and improvised music sketches inspiring a story, or an idea in a text suggesting a sonic approach.

During this current period when ‘remotely’ seems the only way to work, they selected, reworked and compiled these pieces from their exchanges.

Across five poetic collages Tineke’s texts conjure a world of images, from emotional weather to horses frozen in lakes, her voice captured on handheld recorders and borrowed microphones. While these soft spoken words offer evocations and questions, Duncan’s sound twists and turns through granular fragments, haunting tones on the edge of perception and pulsing bursts of resonant noise. Acoustic instruments are folded back in on themselves using pulsar synthesis while field recordings are processed until they become almost memories of imagined landscapes. 

Thematically, all the pieces come from thinking about a world in trouble, its climate and the loneliness of the people in it, wondering how to move through it. From different motivations, over different grounds, through divided and changing landscapes.

‘Being Hungry’ was written at the beginning of spring as some of us entered lockdown. Inspired by the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, it imagines a small group of people that decided to devote themselves to the practice of just walking, a passion for moving around without a distinctive aim. ‘Old Refrain’ and ‘No Cold Can Hold’ were both commissioned by the artist Aidan Moesby and created in response to his project about climate change and mental health ‘I was naked smelling of rain’. In ‘Old Refrain’, Tineke explored the inability to ‘talk about the weather’ as a common trait of anxiety. For her “the piece is about the difficulty of (emotional) communication, about desiring connection through daily dialogue while at the same time resisting it”. ‘No Cold Can Hold’ zooms in on a moment of frost (both literally and metaphorically), and the ambivalent powers it contains. 

The cumulative experience of these five pieces is somewhere between a late night phone call and a dark afternoon spent in a movie theatre without a screen. Listening to sound and thought meeting up on different grounds, where things are unsettled and sources are blurred in a continuous dialogue.

credits

released May 1, 2020

Words: Tineke De Meyer
Sound: Duncan Speakman

Recorded in Bristol and Ghent
Mixed and mastered at home because

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