Featuring 20 songs “existing only as individual pieces of sheet music,” Beck Hansen’s Song Reader is due out in December through San Francisco-based publishing company McSweeney’s.
An announcement about the release proudly proclaims that “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.”
Beck promises that the tunes are just as “unfailingly exciting as you’d expect” from the singer/songwriter/producer. The only difference is that you’re going to have play all the instruments yourself. Hopefully you already know how to read sheet music.
The sheet music comes packaged in a hardcover carrying case measuring 9.5 inches by 12.5 inches. You’ll get a total of 108 pages made up of 18 songs with original lyrics and two instrumentals. One thing you won’t have to do yourself is the album artwork. The package features original art from a number of artists including Marcel Dzama, who created the images for 2005’s Guero. There is also a forward by Beck and an introduction from journalist/author Jody Rosen.
The McSweeney’s website will later feature tunes from Song Reader performed by fans and select musicians.
So, what do you think of this plan? Is it a brilliant commentary on the state of the music industry? Or a waste of paper that nobody is going to buy?
Maybe the whole thing is a big joke and Beck is going to throw in a “complimentary” CD or MP3 of the recorded tunes with the package.
Whatever you think of the scheme, it sounds like Beck is having fun since he fulfilled his major label contract with the release of his most recent studio album, 2008’s Modern Guilt.
For more information visit Beck.com or click here for the McSweeney’s website.