Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beck's Latest Album, er Book?

Beck has always been a bit of an iconoclast and never seemed satisfied to do the same thing twice.  So it isn't terribly surprising to see him launching a far out concept for his next album.  You may have heard that it's being released as the sheet music for all of the songs that make up the album with the notion that other folks will play and record it and share the music.  It's a fascinating idea but I've been a bit skeptical; I figure part of what I like about Beck's albums is hearing him play the music that he's written and this will be missing that crucial aspect and will probably suffer for it.

This morning I caught my first listen off of the album (The album is titled Song Reader by the by) as some of the NY'er staff dropped a pretty high production value recording / video of Old Shanghai.  And, well, it's great...

Beck also wrote a preface for the album for the NY'er (it goes a bit long but is worth the time)...

But actual, playable songs were still a necessity. I started to think about what kind of songs have a quality that allows others to inhabit them and to make them their own. What is it about a song that lets you sing it around a campfire, or play it at a wedding? Is it the simplicity of the sentiment? A memorable melody? What makes certain songs able to persist through any era, and adapt themselves?
The album website already has plenty of uploads for you to peruse, and it seems as though this may well be an interesting project to follow if nothing else.  I really hope that Pomplamoose gets in on the action.

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