Beck and the musical scores experiment

In a move that echoes the days of the pre-vinyl era, singer Beck has announced his decision to release his new album Song Reader entirely in the form of musical scores.

The eccentric star has stated that he wishes to place the responsibility for the creation of audible versions of his new 20-song album solely on those who have bought the sheet music.

Song Reader, which reportedly includes the songs “Do We? We Do” and “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard” among its 18 songs replete with lyrics, and two instrumentals.

Audio versions of this album will be streamed exclusively via publisher McSweeney’s website, and will be the only versions available on the World Wide Web. However, these songs will not be performed by Beck himself, but by Beck-trained “select musicians.”

According to Beck’s website, the sheet music will come in lavish “full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art” and will be stored in an equal lavish hardcover carrying case in a manner that is as “visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together,” and measures in at 9.5 inches x 12.5 inches.

Artwork comes courtesy of Marcel Dzama (who previously worked on the artwork for Beck’s 2005 long-player, Guero), as well as Leanne Shapton, Jessica Hische, Josh Cochran and several others.

The package will consist of “full-color song booklets” for each of Beck’s new songs, and will include lyric sheets, as well as an introduction by Jody Rosen of the New York Times, and a foreword by Beck himself.

The post on Beck’s website states that the reason for his decision to take this novel approach is that he considers “Song Reader [to be] an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012 — an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track.”

The Song Reader musical scores will be released in December this year through McSweeney’s Publishing.


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