Beck will release a new album in December, but it won’t come in the form of MP3s, CD or vinyl – instead, Beck Hansen’s Song Reader will be released by the publishing house McSweeney’s as individual pieces of sheet music.
“The Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012,” reads the post on Beck’s website announcing the project. “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.”
At 108 pages comprising 20 individual song booklets, the Song Reader will feature 20 new tunes by Beck, 18 of them featuring lyrics and two instrumentals. The release will also include a hardcover carrying case, a foreword by Beck himself, and “full-color, heyday-of-home-play-inspired” original art from Marcel Dzama (who designed Beck’s album Guero), Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and others.
And what of hearing the album cuts like “Do We? We Do” or “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard”? Well, “bringing them to life depends on you,” according to the announcement. McSweeney’s plans to feature renditions of the tracks on Song Reader performed by both readers and musicians, but there’s no word on whether Beck himself will be among the performers.
In other not-quite-a-new-Beck-album news, Rework, his remix album collaboration with composer Philip Glass, will see its own release on October 23rd.