After the success of his latest album, Morning Phase, which came out earlier this year, Beck recently released a new project that involved the recording of 20 songs he previously wrote and published as part of the Song Reader book. This book included the sheet music for 20 unrecorded songs. For the project, Beck recorded “Heaven’s Ladder,” one of the 20 songs, while enlisting other major names to bring the others to life. The compilation album includes performances by fun., Norah Jones, Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, Jack Black, and more. Beck co-produced the album, entitled Warby Parker Presents Beck Song Reader, with Randall Poster, who has supervised music for Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese films.
The release of the album coincided with the rerelease of the Song Reader book, complete with two new prints from artist Marcel Dzama, who contributed art to the first production of the book. The project is exciting because it allows many talented artists coming from different backgrounds the opportunity to completely reinterpret a piece of written sheet music. Beck said that he was amazed at the range of sounds and styles that resulted from the project. Each track, he explained, was like opening up an unexpected package in the mail.
Proceeds from the sales of the new album will benefit 826 National, a nonprofit organization that works closely with children between the ages of 6 and 18 to help them explore their creativity and improve their expository and creative writing skills.
Beck is already hard at work on a third project that may see store shelves by the end of the year. While still working on Morning Phase, Beck alluded to a second album that was in the works in collaboration with Pharrell and some other big names in the music industry. Few details have been released about this new project, but Beck alluded to a possible 2014 release in an interview with Billboard.