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.

Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand Performed Pieces From Beck's Song Reader. 

The 'Devil's Haircut' former leaf blower turned Scientologist Beck gave a live performance of Song Reader at London's Barbican Hall which, for music buffs, was the place to be as the printed musical notes were brought to life by singer/rapper/guitarist Beck and a huge team of predominantly British musicians - each adding their own unique twist - including Franz Ferdinand, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, James Yorkston, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Guillemots. According to the Evening Standard, audience members were also delighted with poetry interludes from Simon Armitage and the funny John Cooper Clarke whilst The Mighty Boosh (Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt) gave their lyrical and musical stamp to Beck's songs in what began to feel more like a three-day festival's worth of music, rather than just one evening's.

Jarvis Cocker
Jarvis Cocker Was Also Present To Add His Unique Musical Stylings To Song Reader Tracks.

Pretentious piffle or not; whatever side of the fence you sit on you can't deny that Beck has reinvigorated the seemingly outdated format of written music and inspired plenty of fans to pick up and instrument and learn. The gig of the year? Probably. We're willing to bet there was one hell of a backstage party.

Beck will give live solo performances at Cambridge's Corn Exchange (6th July) and London's Union Chapel (7th July).