Beck Hansen continued the process of introducing his new work "Song Reader" on Tuesday night with an essay in the New Yorker magazine. The collection, which Beck hasn't recorded but composed as sheet music to be played by others, arrives through the lauded McSweeney's publishing imprint on Dec. 7.
In thoughtful and elegant prose, the Los Angeles native explained that the project began after his song publisher sent him the sheet music of one of his records -- the existence of which he hadn't really considered until then.
"Seeing the record’s sonic ideas distilled down to notation made it obvious that most of the songs weren’t intended to work that way," writes Beck, who is best known for his collage-rock masterpieces "Mellow Gold" and "Odelay." "Reversing the process and putting together a collection of songs in book form seemed more natural — it would be an album that could only be heard by playing the songs."
From there, the singer-songwriter whose collected output over nearly 20 years ranks him as one of Los Angeles' most accomplished musicians went to work.