Sunday, February 8, 2009

When I first heard about Charles Spearin's record The Happiness Project I just sort of ignored it. I assumed it would be in the same vein as the two recent 'Broken Social Scene Presents' records. While Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning's records in the BSS Presents series were good, I think they lost the power of the sprawling collective by not utilizing the diverse songwriting amongst them. I was concerned that a Charles Spearin record would continue the trend of Broken Social Scene acting as a backing band, signaling a slow move away from what made records like You Forgot It In People so good. I was pleasantly surprised to find The Happiness Project to be something completely new.

Rather than acting as another solo record from a member of Broken Social Scene, The Happiness Project rejects the concept of conventional songwriting, instead using the intonation of conversation to map out melodies. In essence the songs on the record are written by the cadence of individual conversations about happiness. The result is a complex and beautiful record that successfully draws attention to the artistic value of daily life and conversation. Perhaps a little trying at times, the record on the whole is dense while being surprisingly listenable. The track Mr. Gowrie seems to fully realize the power of this strange songwriting mode. The record employs the musical talents of quite a few Broken Social Scene members and is being released on Kevin Drew's Arts and Crafts Records, but don't be mislead...this is not a Broken Social Scene release. This is weird. In a good way.

The record comes on on Tuesday, February 10th. You stream some tracks and find more info here.

See you in two weeks.


Artist - Album - Song
Japanther - Dump the Body in Rikki Lake - Dump the Body in Rikki Lake
The Sticks - Split w/ Hands on Heads - The Floor, The Ground
The Sticks - Split w/ Hands on Heads - On the Sea
Blank Dogs - On Two Sides - Twenty Two
Vivian Girls - s/t - Never See Me Again
Fennesz - Black Sea - The Colour of Three
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion - Guys Eyes
Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project - Anna
Lucky Dragons - Dream Island Laughing Language - Givers
High Places - s/t - The Storm
Growing - The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light - Onement
Growing - The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light - Anaheim II
Growing - The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light - Epochal Reminiscence
Liars - Drum's Not Dead - Be Quiet Mt Heart Attack!
Liars - Drum's Not Dead - Let's Not Wrestle Mt Heart Attack
Jerkward - All Your Ears Can Hear Compilation - Millions of Dead BMXers
Jerkward - All Your Ears Can Hear Compilation - Flesh and Bones
Jerkward - All Your Ears Can Hear Compilation - UFO
Deerhunter - Weird Era Cont. - Backspace Century
Railcars - Cities vs Submarines - There is Ice; It is Blue
Hank - The Land of the Singers - Never Have Another Boy in my Life
Bach Cottage - The Homestead - Been a Long Damned Time


Anonymous said...

ryan, can you start podcasting already? it's 09 for god's sake. your show plays when i'm at work and i always miss it. the playlists are looking good, though.


nas said...

"Mr Gowrie" is super neat and so are you!