Antique Tech

Mike Powell

While boutique record labels push against fast, cheap times with high-quality vinyl and luxurious packaging. Beck's new project, Song Reader (McSweeney's), goes a step further: offering up simple a prewar-style book of sheet music. Songs are presented both in notation and tablature form; directions alternate between standard ("moderato") and not so much ("bizzaramente"). The book itself—feauting illustrations by artists such as Marcel Dzama—is canny concept: Few objects are as old-fashioned as books, but no stream rip or digital detrotis could ever be as ephemeral as music that was never recorded in the first place. Always the futurist, Beck's medium remains the past.

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April 2014

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