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January 3, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
As Times pop music critic Randall Roberts wrote earlier this week , much of the fun of Beck's new "Song Reader" project -- 20 songs released not as recordings, but as old-fashioned sheet music -- is beholding the variety of interpretations it's inspired. Hundreds of renditions of tunes from the set have been collected at songreader.net , where you can download the music for Beck's "Old Shanghai" for the price of your email address; countless more are available across SoundCloud and YouTube.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Beck made his name as a recycler, a smart, savvy searcher known for finding new value in old things. So it makes sense that the artist responsible for "Mellow Gold" and "Odelay," both high points of mid-'90s cut-and-paste pop, would eventually get around to recycling himself. That's more or less what Beck does on his latest album, "Morning Phase. " With the same downbeat acoustic vibe and many of the same players, the new record serves as a kind of spiritual sequel - a "companion piece," his camp calls it - to 2002's "Sea Change," on which the singer broke from his established collage aesthetic to offer up a dozen slow-and-low folk songs about the pain of heartache.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
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...
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
On Sunday night in Los Angeles, two competing entertainments occupied downtown concert spaces to offer musical variety. At the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live before a few thousand people and a few million TV viewers, the American Music Awards beamed high-tech pop to the masses, wide-open digital glitz packaged for those invested in the ephemeral. A dozen blocks north at Walt Disney Concert Hall in a stately space with strict rules against smartphone usage, Beck Hansen's "Song Reader" celebration offered similar star power in a more enclosed setting, one that honored both the permanence of printed matter and the open-sourced bliss of on-the-fly musical interpretation.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
On Sunday night in Los Angeles, two competing entertainments occupied downtown concert spaces to offer musical variety. At the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live before a few thousand people and a few million TV viewers, the American Music Awards beamed high-tech pop to the masses, wide-open digital glitz packaged for those invested in the ephemeral. A dozen blocks north at Walt Disney Concert Hall in a stately space with strict rules against smartphone usage, Beck Hansen's "Song Reader" celebration offered similar star power in a more enclosed setting, one that honored both the permanence of printed matter and the open-sourced bliss of on-the-fly musical interpretation.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 1, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Some ideas that seem so simple unleash waves of creativity that expand in exquisitely complex ways. One such musical brainstorm is to offer a new body of work as notated sheet music, as Los Angeles songwriter Beck Hansen has done. His new work, "Song Reader," consists of 20 new pieces that the artist hasn't recorded. Rather, he teamed with the book publisher McSweeney's to unveil the songs in notated form. It is designed as a folio, and the hope is that the individually illustrated songbooks included within will inspire other musicians to interpret the written music and then share it. It was, describes writer Jody Rosen in the liner notes, "an experiment in ventriloquism": Provide the melodic and lyrical dialogue, but leave the aesthetic voice to strangers, who would head to parlors both real and virtual to perform the results.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 2, 2013 | Mikael Wood
After sparking widespread comeback chatter last year with his album "The Bravest Man in the Universe," soul singer Bobby Womack has announced that he's experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. "The doctor says, 'You have signs of Alzheimer's,' " Womack told the BBC's Gilles Peterson in an interview on the latter's Radio 6 program. "It's not bad yet, but it's gonna get worse. " Womack, 68, admitted that he's having trouble remembering things, including the name of Damon Albarn, who co-produced "The Bravest Man in the Universe" with XL Recordings chief Richard Russell.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 2, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
Last month Beck released " Defriended ," the first of what he said were two non-album singles he planned to put out this summer. Now, following a performance Tuesday at the Days Off festival in Paris, the L.A.-based artist has revealed the second, "I Won't Be Long," which you can hear below. Like "Defriended," the new tune -- to be issued next week on 12-inch vinyl with a nearly 15-minute-long remix on the B-side -- finds Beck in the trippy psych-folk mode we know from records like 1998's "Mutations" and 2006's "The Information"; it's full of swirling guitars and rides a heavy, head-nodding beat.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Beck's vision recently got an infusion of luxury money, and he's used it in service of a good cause: creating a jumbo helping of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision. " Over the last few years, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter and producer has been equally focused on honoring others' work as showcasing his own. Though he recently released a series of new songs via sheet music called “ Song Reader ,” the musician has also offered a series of tributes, including full-album renditions of work by, among others, Alexander “Skip” Spence, the Velvet Underground and New Age superstar Yanni.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Beck made his name as a recycler, a smart, savvy searcher known for finding new value in old things. So it makes sense that the artist responsible for "Mellow Gold" and "Odelay," both high points of mid-'90s cut-and-paste pop, would eventually get around to recycling himself. That's more or less what Beck does on his latest album, "Morning Phase. " With the same downbeat acoustic vibe and many of the same players, the new record serves as a kind of spiritual sequel - a "companion piece," his camp calls it - to 2002's "Sea Change," on which the singer broke from his established collage aesthetic to offer up a dozen slow-and-low folk songs about the pain of heartache.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 2, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
Last month Beck released " Defriended ," the first of what he said were two non-album singles he planned to put out this summer. Now, following a performance Tuesday at the Days Off festival in Paris, the L.A.-based artist has revealed the second, "I Won't Be Long," which you can hear below. Like "Defriended," the new tune -- to be issued next week on 12-inch vinyl with a nearly 15-minute-long remix on the B-side -- finds Beck in the trippy psych-folk mode we know from records like 1998's "Mutations" and 2006's "The Information"; it's full of swirling guitars and rides a heavy, head-nodding beat.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Beck's vision recently got an infusion of luxury money, and he's used it in service of a good cause: creating a jumbo helping of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision. " Over the last few years, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter and producer has been equally focused on honoring others' work as showcasing his own. Though he recently released a series of new songs via sheet music called “ Song Reader ,” the musician has also offered a series of tributes, including full-album renditions of work by, among others, Alexander “Skip” Spence, the Velvet Underground and New Age superstar Yanni.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 3, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
As Times pop music critic Randall Roberts wrote earlier this week , much of the fun of Beck's new "Song Reader" project -- 20 songs released not as recordings, but as old-fashioned sheet music -- is beholding the variety of interpretations it's inspired. Hundreds of renditions of tunes from the set have been collected at songreader.net , where you can download the music for Beck's "Old Shanghai" for the price of your email address; countless more are available across SoundCloud and YouTube.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 2, 2013 | Mikael Wood
After sparking widespread comeback chatter last year with his album "The Bravest Man in the Universe," soul singer Bobby Womack has announced that he's experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. "The doctor says, 'You have signs of Alzheimer's,' " Womack told the BBC's Gilles Peterson in an interview on the latter's Radio 6 program. "It's not bad yet, but it's gonna get worse. " Womack, 68, admitted that he's having trouble remembering things, including the name of Damon Albarn, who co-produced "The Bravest Man in the Universe" with XL Recordings chief Richard Russell.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 1, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Some ideas that seem so simple unleash waves of creativity that expand in exquisitely complex ways. One such musical brainstorm is to offer a new body of work as notated sheet music, as Los Angeles songwriter Beck Hansen has done. His new work, "Song Reader," consists of 20 new pieces that the artist hasn't recorded. Rather, he teamed with the book publisher McSweeney's to unveil the songs in notated form. It is designed as a folio, and the hope is that the individually illustrated songbooks included within will inspire other musicians to interpret the written music and then share it. It was, describes writer Jody Rosen in the liner notes, "an experiment in ventriloquism": Provide the melodic and lyrical dialogue, but leave the aesthetic voice to strangers, who would head to parlors both real and virtual to perform the results.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2012 | By Marcia Adair
"Not so long ago," writes Beck Hansen in the introduction to his new collection of tunes, "Song Reader," "a song was only a piece of paper until it was played by someone. " Indeed, as far back as "Pride and Prejudice," all card-carrying members of the middle class had a piano in the parlor and a daughter or five with skills to play it. (Poor Mary. She did try.) It's been generations since gathering around the piano to sing the latest hits was a popular way to pass an evening, so why then are Beck's latest available only as sheet music?
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2012 | By Marcia Adair
"Not so long ago," writes Beck Hansen in the introduction to his new collection of tunes, "Song Reader," "a song was only a piece of paper until it was played by someone. " Indeed, as far back as "Pride and Prejudice," all card-carrying members of the middle class had a piano in the parlor and a daughter or five with skills to play it. (Poor Mary. She did try.) It's been generations since gathering around the piano to sing the latest hits was a popular way to pass an evening, so why then are Beck's latest available only as sheet music?
ENTERTAINMENT
August 24, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Times Pop Music Critic
Los Angeles singer and songwriter Beck has begun offering his new group of compositions, "Song Reader," for pre-order, his publisher announced on Friday. The 20 new songs might be called an album, except that Beck himself won't be performing them; rather, his new work will only be available via sheet music. That's right: As he announced last month, to hear "Song Reader," you'll either have to learn how to play the songs yourself or lower your standards and start hanging out with musicians.  Beck's new work will be released by San Francisco publisher McSweeney's in the format that drove the music industry before the arrival of recorded sound in the early 1900s.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
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...
ENTERTAINMENT
August 24, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Times Pop Music Critic
Los Angeles singer and songwriter Beck has begun offering his new group of compositions, "Song Reader," for pre-order, his publisher announced on Friday. The 20 new songs might be called an album, except that Beck himself won't be performing them; rather, his new work will only be available via sheet music. That's right: As he announced last month, to hear "Song Reader," you'll either have to learn how to play the songs yourself or lower your standards and start hanging out with musicians.  Beck's new work will be released by San Francisco publisher McSweeney's in the format that drove the music industry before the arrival of recorded sound in the early 1900s.
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