Beck blamed a spinal injury on his reduced musical output in recent years, telling the Argentine newspaper Página/12 that the condition prevented him from performing. “I had severe damage to my spine, but now it’s improving, so I’m back in the music,” he said. “It was a long, long recovery. Lately, I concentrated on playing guitar. Do not think I can move again as before, although I can give a lot onstage.” The newspaper published the interview in Spanish, and website The Future Heart translated it into English.
The singer acknowledged the injury when the interviewer asked whether “health problems” had prompted Beck’s focus on production in recent years, when he has worked on albums by Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus and a collection of Philip Glass remixes. Beck also mentioned that he recorded an album of his own in late 2008 but did not release it because it “stopped ringing fresh for me.” He tried again in 2010, but “now I’m posting songs on my own label, slowly, yet I’m working on other albums.”
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Beck is planning a February release for Morning Phase, his first recorded album since 2008’s Modern Guilt. The new LP is said to hark back to his 2002 release Sea Change and will feature some of the same musicians as that album, as well as his longtime collaborator Smokey Hormel. In recent years, Beck has avoided recording a full album, instead releasing a collection titled Song Reader, which contained 20 songs as sheet music. He also recreated David Bowie’s “Sound + Vision” and, earlier this year, released three folky singles, “Defriended,” “I Won’t Be Long” and “Gimme.”
In June, a source close to Beck said the musician was working on two new albums, an acoustic release and what was described as a proper follow-up to Modern Guilt. It’s not clear whether one of those albums is Morning Phase. Late last year, Beck told Rolling Stone that he had plenty of unrecorded material. “I have a bunch of songs I recorded about four years ago that I’m hopefully going to try to finish. I’m not sure if it’s relevant anymore,” he said.