Beck's New Do-It-Yourself Album, Song Reader
Beck Hansen's musical career has always been marked by a willingness to experiment, to combine new and old forms, and otherwise zig when the rest of the world zags. But his latest move might surprise even longtime fans. His next album, Song Reader, will only be released by publisher McSweeney's as a printed book of sheet music and accompanying art.
Here's the announcement of Song Reader from McSweeney's:
In the wake of Modern Guilt and The Information, Beck’s latest album comes in an almost-forgotten form—twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded. Complete with full-color, heyday-of-home-play-inspired art for each song and a lavishly produced hardcover carrying case (and, when necessary, ukelele notation), Song Reader is 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, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together. The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author, but if you want to hear “Do We? We Do,” or “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard,” bringing them to life depends on you.
And here are some of the first looks at Song Reader:
In some ways, Song Reader is easy to see as an extension of the do-it-yourself move Beck made in 2006, when he released The Information with a blank cover and stickers, so that fans could make their own unique album covers. Only now, he's providing the artwork, and the fans have to supply the sounds.
A few more points about Song Reader:
- The package measures 9.5” x 12.5” with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets—18 featuring original lyrics, and 2 instrumentals—with covers from more than a dozen different artists.
- It will featuring original art from Marcel Dzama (who created the imagery for Beck’s acclaimed Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and others.
- Readers’ (and select musicians’) renditions of the songs will be featured on the McSweeney’s website.