I find it amazing how listening to a piece of music can take you back to a specific time and place. I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard ‘Let the Happiness In’. It was my first year in work after university, which involved taking a number of one week courses in Birmingham (UK), staying away from home. September 1987, Sylvian’s new single was coming out and I would be in Birmingham. I had to get my hands on a copy so, when the classes had finished on the day of release, I headed straight for one of the large record stores in town. As I climbed to the first floor, that introduction came over the powerful sound system.. ..it caught my attention although I didn’t know what it was until the vocal started. Realising this was the new song I stood and listened to it for the first time, then grabbed my copy of the 12″ single (still an absolute favourite with the ‘Buoy’ remix and gem ‘Blue of Noon’ on the b-side) and headed out, prize in hand.
The deep resounding brass and its restrained power captivate me every time I hear this song start. It demands to be listened to, and the musical setting is quite unlike anything else I can think of – certainly a departure from the prominent guitars and resounding drums of the previous year’s Gone to Earth. Sylvian had said early in 1987 that he wanted to use ‘real instruments’ for his forthcoming project, and later explained that it was the strength of the compositions that lent themselves to this approach: ‘I knew that the arrangements of the pieces could be quite sparse, and that I could get away with that. So I basically orchestrated each track from the original starting point which was either me sitting at a piano or with an acoustic guitar, which is why the material is acoustically based.’ (DS, 1987) Continue reading “Let the Happiness In”