“Anna” has her voice mimicked by the sounds of a traditional jazz act, with a trumpet and piano playing with the rhythmic qualities of a repeated sentence. The piece dances away from Anna’s words teasingly, working easily into a fully realized melody from a few interesting notes.
Other pieces find Spearin electing to let the subjects speak for themselves. “Vanessa” builds on the subject’s sweetly musical accent and lets her speak before a well of touching sound springs up. And “Marisa” opens with a few seconds of atmospheric noise before the distant subject whispers through some mistakes and glitches. “Send me home,” she says and Spearin builds on the cyclic rhythms.
While The Happiness Project might not be for everyone, its appeal is actually broader than one might think. Spearin’s exploration of the human voice’s natural inflection and tenor is fascinating, enlightening us as to the splendour and warmth that exists in the most innocent of phrases and sentences. A bold, profound, stunning project, this record represents the purity, minimalism and truth of great art.