Released by McSweeney's in December, Beck's Song Reader is not an album. Rather, it's a book with sheet music for original songs, which have not been recorded by Beck. (The dream of the 1890's is indeed still alive, and not just in Portland.)
His fans have had a field day playing them, and not long ago we critiqued a bunch of versions of his track “Old Shanghai.”
But starting next week, this whole 'interpreting Beck's sheet music phenomenon' is going to a whole new level.
West Coast Sound can exclusively announce that, from February 21 to March 24 Sonos Studio will host the “Beck Song Reader Exhibition,” where you can hear some interpretations and make your own. There will also be a bunch of videos and art. Oh, and Beck himself. More information is below.
It all kicks off with an opening party on Thursday, February 21, from 7-10 pm, and Beck will be there. Unfortunately, it's not open to the public, but folks on Beck's and McSweeney's social media mailing lists should keep their eyes peeled.
The exhibition will, however, be open to the public starting February 22 — the hours will be Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 6 pm. (The last day is March 24.) It will feature “an interactive, listening experience through original Song Reader visual art, sound, recording facilities, education and online fan videos,” according to the press release.
In English, that means they'll be playing versions recorded by fans through fancy Sonos speakers. They'll also provide instruments (guitar, mic, drum synthesizer, bass) for folks to create their own versions, which will be uploaded to, get this, the internet.
On the walls will be a giant mural by Kelsey Dake, whose artwork is included in the Song Reader. According to the release, the mural:
represents the idea of different musical interpretations being forged through musicians, instruments, voices, etc. These elements appear as instruments, hands clapping, mouths and other musical imagery which is strung together via a flowing bar of music that changes colors as it snakes past each giant song reader.