When Beck shared the news that his latest album, Song Reader, would be released only as sheet music, the music industry got creative. The only way to hear Beck’s new material was to take the sheet music, read it (or find someone who knows how to read it), and learn how to perform your own interpretation of the song. Musicians have been releasing their own covers of some of the songs, and we thought it’d be fun to get in on the action as well.
So we gathered a mix of nine well-known local Orlando bands plus two of student bands and had them each perform their own different rendition of one of the songs. And when we say different, we mean different: there was a vocal percussionist, a bluegrass group, a classical cellist, and more. The complete collection – which was all shot here in Full Sail’s flagship recording studio, the Audio Temple – is a diverse look at Song Reader with a local Orlando spin on it.
“I respect Beck so much as an artist that there was this overwhelming feeling that we didn’t want to let him down,” says Andy Brooks, the singer of Transmit Now, one of the local bands involved in the project. “But in the end we came to realize that there were no preconceptions when it came to Song Reader; there was no right or wrong interpretation. There was only your own and that’s exactly what Beck wanted.”
Each band was given the sheet music with about one-to-two weeks to prepare their own arrangement. Over the course of three days during the week of December 18, the bands took over the Audio Temple to record their versions. Artists included local bands The New Lows, Franchise, Andy Matchett & the Minks, and more. The two student groups were Theories of Everything (made up of four Recording Arts students) and The Keith Hall Project, led by online Music Production student Keith Hall. Keith and his bandmates drove through the night from Illinois to take part in the project. All of the live recording sessions were shot by our YouTube team along with faculty and students from the Film program. Recording Arts Session Recording Course Director Darren Schneider engineered the entire project.
We posted videos of each performance on our YouTube channel throughout the week. If you missed those, see them all here.
Also, check out a photo gallery from the Song Reader Project below.