Thursday, December 13, 2012

Song Reader. Genius.

What an awesome idea!

There are many great musicians in the world -- some I know, but unfortunately, many I've yet to discover.

One, however, I do know - and you do too, I think - has done something positively unique. Yet you're likely to ever hear of it. Especially on the radio.

The artist? The incomparable Beck.

The project? "Song Reader." A sheet music book of Beck's songs, only he isn't giving us, the listeners ... er, readers ... the opportunity to hear his version of these songs. Nope. He is leaving the audible portion of his work up to interpretation by other musicians - professional and amateur alike.

Genius. And a visit to the website for the album -- -- is where one can go to hear others' versions of Beck's written work.

It's reminds me of the Irish pub sessions I take part in: amateur musicians sitting is a circle and taking turns playing their interpretation of songs, Irish or otherwise. is a little like a virtual campfire sing-along.

How cool will it be for us (me, a self-proclaimed "hack") musicians  to record these songs at the tempo, tone, and style that we think sound best? Piano? Guitar? Cello? Will we match the sound that Beck had in his mind? Or will we bring a completely new twist to the melody he dreamt?

I don't know. But I do think his idea to release an album without sound is one of the purest, fresh musical ideas I've heard of in long while. I'd like to get my hands on that book, my guitar, a recorder and let my creative juices flow. After recording a song, I'd love to heat others' interpretations of the same.

Updated (Jan 3. 2013): I see the Portland Cello Project recorded all 20 songs from Song Reader and posted them to their Soundcloud site.

The following videos are a great example of the project. Numerous artists perform and upload Beck's Old Shanghai. I particularly enjoy the Seattle Rock Orchestra's interpretation!

1 comment:

  1. "Song Reader." A sheet music book of Beck's songs, only he isn't giving us, the listeners ...