John Cooper Clarke - Welshman and former drug smuggler Howard Marks and Friends including actor Rhys Ifans who played Marks in a film, perform in concert at The Forum in London, United Kingdom - Saturday 28th February 2015
Beck's Song Reader might be a stroke of genius.
It is perhaps Beck's strangest album. Song Reader - the record made up entirely of sheet music - was played in full at London's Barbican Theatre on Sunday (July 7, 2013), with a huge cast of musicians including Jarvis Cocker, Franz Ferdinand and Beth Orton. This potentially had disaster written all over it, though reviews suggest the album was perfectly realised in the historic setting.
Song Reader contains twenty new songs, all publishing on song sheets. The tracks are scored for keys, guitar and voice though Beck's intention was for fans to elaborate and change the songs to their liking. As noted by the Financial Times' Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in his review, songwriter Ed Harcourt was given that job on the piano. He was accompanied by flugelhorns, ukuleles, drums and guitars. The veteran punk poet John Cooper Clarke read prose between songs while female vocal trio The Staves helped out on vocals.
David Smyth of the Evening Standard suggested the concert will have encouraged fans to have a go themselves, writing, "The songs Beck performed himself sounded the most predictable, with acoustic guitar to the fore, though a jazzy, catchy Do We, We Do would have stood out regardless of the singer. For those buying the book in the lobby, it was a case of do try this at home."
Continue reading: Song Reader: Beck Plays Album of Sheet Music At London's Barbican
A little help from my friends: Beck performs his latest 'Song Reader' album during an evening that saw performances from Franz Ferdinand, Jarvis Cocker, The Mighty Boosh, Beth Orton and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Depending on the way you look at it, Beck's decision to release his last album in the form of sheet music was either incredibly innovative or unforgivably pretentious. Released in December 2012, Song Reader comprised of twenty songs in sheet music form as well as over one hundred pages of art. The idea behind the unusual decision was to let the fan become the composer, with many interpretations quickly surfacing online showing the versatility of the pieces.
Prolific Experimentalist Beck Invited A Host Of Artists To Help Him Perform Song Reader live.
This was all very well if you're a Beck fan with some degree of musical talent but for those hungering for the white rap of Odelay, the pop experimentation of Midnite Vultures or the sweet melancholy of Sea Change were left feeling a little bemused and perhaps even cheated.
Continue reading: Beck Summons An Army To Help Him Turn 'Song Reader' Into Music