Pioneering indie-rock icon Beck is once again marching to the beat of his own funky drummer.
This December, he’ll release The Beck Hansen Song Reader, a collection of new songs presented in sheet music format, via the website McSweeney’s. There will be no music to listen to per se, but those who read music can play the songs themselves.
According to a press release, “The 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 Song Reader will feature 20 new songs that have never before been released or recorded — which means that his Third Man Records single “I Just Started Hating Some People Today” is out. Ukulele notation will be provided for certain songs. Titles include “Do We? We Do,” or “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard.” 18 of the songs feature original lyrics, and there are two instrumentals.
Each song will have its own accompanying art, provided by Marcel Dzama (who created the imagery for Beck’s 2005 album Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, and Jessica Hische. Music critic Jody Rosen will pen the intro, and Beck will provide a forward. The Beck Hansen Reader measures 9.5″ x 12.5″ with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets.
Fans’ and select musicians’ versions of the songs will be uploaded to McSweeney’s website. Visit www.mcsweeneys.net/pages/song-reader and Beck.com for further information and updates as they are available.
And if you’re in the San Francisco area, Beck will be performing a rare show at Bimbo’s on August 9, before his scheduled weekend slot at the Outside Lands festival. Tickets are on sale now.