Beck Hansen is a pretty darn innovative guy. During his "break" from music (read: not releasing his own proper albums), he's produced LPs from Stephen Malkmus, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Thurston Moore and contributed music to movies including Twilight, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. He even started a Record Club to nerd out on classic albums by Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen and INXS by covering them with his pals like MGMT, Feist, Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Wilco and more. Dude is busy, even when he's not, and did I mention innovative? Key word.
Now Beck has a new album ready to go, but you won't hear it any time soon. Not from him, at least. Why not? Because the album is actually a book of sheet music. That's right: Instead of recording the music himself, he's writing the songs and transposing them onto sheet music for you to play. "Bringing them to life depends on you," Beck said in a statement on his website. Cue the YouTube covers.
Beck Hansen's Song Reader will be released by the publishing house McSweeney's in December. It will feature 20 new Beck songs (18 with lyrics; two instrumentals) over 108 pages. It'll arrive in a hardcover carrying case with a foreword by Beck himself and "full-color, heyday-of-home-play-inspired" original art by Marcel Dzama (the designer of Beck's Guero), among work from other artists.
"The Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012," Beck said in the post. "An alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that's as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together."
Agreed. This is one of the more innovative endeavors in music today. But did we expect less of Beck? I didn't. And remember: a good song is a good song, no matter who's performing it, and Beck has written scores of classics. Case in point: "The Golden Age," a personal favorite from his heartbroken 2002 Sea Change album. Listen below... just because.