I'll be grazing by your window, Please come pat me on the head
Tweet The local young lads are playing football in the pitch outside, and my window is open. If I let my hearing 'blur', the same way you might let your eyes if you relaxed them, their voices melt into curious repeating patterns. One fella, in the mid register, barks something like "Badjur Badjur Badjur Badjurrr" as the game ebbs and flows. Another rasps out a big skwawky "COME HEEEYURRR" intermittently, and a rarer voice sometimes breaks into an ascending "ho hO HOH!". If this miniature avant garde opera has a chorus line, it's the one that urgently burbles "HandballandballHandBALLallHANDBALL" in overlapping pubescent tones. They handball a lot out there. Underneath all this is the dead whack of ball against foot, which I guess I've heard through that window since early childhood. It's deep inside me, that sound. Speaking of Musique concrète type things, I was given an intriguing album to review a while ago. It's by Charles Spearin from Broken Social Scene and it's called The Happiness Project. MP3: Charles Spearin-Mrs Morris (Reprise) Spearin based the album's arrangements around recordings he made of his neighbours talking about what the word 'happiness' means to them. The voices' rhythms and cadences became the jumping-off points for little jazzy patterns that often lead into more expansive instrumental passages. Twee, I know. And it doesn't always work. There's a touch of well-intentioned community arts project about the endeavour. But one or two of the tracks are super and remind me of the Books' Lemon of Pink. There is an unquestionable musicality in human speech, especially in those early soupy moments before we attach definitions to sounds. At times when I am deeply absorbed in instrumental music, the passages which grab me most often sound like vocal utterances. Arresting fragments of vocal sound from my past, reeled from just outside the rim of meaning - my granny's sonorous Mayo accent floats up a chilly bungalow corridor as I lie tucked in bed and it's two nights after Christmas 1985. Except it's June 2009 and I am listening to Stars of the Lid on my sitting room stereo.