Archive for August, 2008

The Beck Oeuvre: Song(s) #4 “11.6.45 / 8.4.82 / 8.6.82″

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

First of all, I would be an epic fail of a blogger if I didn’t point you to the brilliant videos someone (unofficially) made. Kudos to the creators!

k0matose:

In my case, it was March 26, 1994. I had just picked up the mysterious Stereopathetic Soulmanure at the local record shop in Durham, NC and I was listening to it for the first time in my buddy’s 1976 Camaro that probably still has that same flat gray primer paint job today. My friend Chip had carefully rigged up a Sony Discman using velcro and electrical tape, with my lap providing the anti-skip technology for tunes on the move.

When we got to “8.6.82,” we were both suddenly shocked because we were very familiar with the sped up sounds and the sudden starts and stops. We both owned these microcassette recorders and frequently recorded people saying stupid shit into the mic, and we’d speed them up and slow them down, eventually rerecording onto a normal cassette for distribution to our friends. Beck’s impromptu recordings may very well have been the thing that really got me interested in him… he was goofing around doing the same thing my buddies and I did.

Of course, the hi-tech microcassette was what Beck had used on these date songs, and it was the same thing sitting in my pocket on that day. Chip was the only person I knew that had a car, so I convinced him to drive us to Durham to see Beck. I had brought my microcassette recorder to tape the show at the Duke Coffeehouse that night. Too bad the tape recorder was a piece of junk, as it seized up after a few songs, but not before capturing a few of Beck’s early improv moments along with a snippet of my voice and a frenzied audience. I didn’t find the bootleg on the intarweb until a few years ago… I was shocked and amazed to see that the crappy microcassette recordings were still making the rounds.

I wonder if Beck feels the same about “8.6.82,” “11.6.45,” and “8.4.82.”

“8.4.82″:

AlmostAGhost:

Not to go overboard on this, but I really don’t think Stereopathetic would be as awesome as it is without these clips. They really set the atmosphere of absurd lo-fi-ness which defines the album. I was stunned to learn that voice is Beck’s. I always picture some crazy lady, dressed in tatters, on the side of the road, probably homeless, certainly drunk.

“11.6.45″:

Vitamin.Deb:

These just make me think that if I’d gone to junior high with Beck, I’d probably have professed to hate him while secretly crushing hard.

“8.6.82″

Beck:

I had a microcassette recorder and I was fooling around one day and I started talking into it making up stories and then hit stop by mistake and had to start again but it sounded great the way it just cut off, the way the kid was talking and then it had a high-speed mode and I sort of just discovered this character and I just started telling stories into it like it was a diary. So I started using it [during] my shows, I’d talk about this kid and I’d found this tape and this was his diary, and use little snippets between songs. A couple of them made it onto that record, I had a whole cassette full and I played it at a show in Seattle around that time and someone jumped up on stage after I’d left the stage and grabbed the tape recorder. All those stories are lost, but a couple of them survived on that record.

If you were that kid who stole the tape recorder, we’d like to get in touch with you.

A rare live track, “99,” is up next!

Beck In Toronto, October 5

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Thanks to Kate, one of our commenters, with the info.

Beck has added a show on October 5 in Toronto at the Sound Academy.

It’s not on beck.com/tour yet but it is on the venue’s site:

http://www.sound-academy.com/events/show/185

The Beck Oeuvre: Song #3 “1000BPM”

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Comin’ at you a thousand beats per minute! Not surprisingly, most of our thoughts of this song revolve around bears:

Vitamin.Deb

I do believe I am one of the first people to have heard this song in public. He debuted it as part of the encore of the night on May 24, 2006 at Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, which was the first show of the pre-release tour for The Information. My excitement level for that show was out of control, which had a lot to do with the fact that my first Beck show had been at the same venue nine years prior. (That’s another story that I’m sure I’ll tell in a different blurb.) It was awesome to see the debut of the puppets and the puppet videos without knowing anything at all about those ahead of time, but I admit I was disappointed by the energy level of the overall performance. It had started a bit with the Guero shows, but it was The Info tour when we as fans really had to begin to adjust our expectations of what a stage performance from Beck would be, and I wasn’t ready to do that then. This track left me with a particularly bad taste because as would become the routine, it was played over the speakers as the album track and not performed. Dancing bears, anyone? I remember leaving the show and being a bit ticked that it ended in part with a recorded track. I was very WTF about it at the time.

Anyway, when the record came out I absolutely fell in love with the song. I am a sucker for killer bass tracks. The Info came out during the time when I was driving back and forth way too much between Sacramento and Berkeley, and I blasted this song many a time on that long I-80 stretch. This is one of those songs I listened to on repeat until I had the lyrics down cold and could sing along perfectly. (I would never ever do that in front of anyone else, btw. That’s definitely an alone-in-the-car activity.)

AlmostAGhost:

The word this song brings to mind for me is “inorganic.” The song was never performed live, instead the record was played over the speakers. Beck’s voice sounds processed, with effects and echos placed on it. The beats are unreal, the bass has the precision of a computer. The lyrics are futuristic and sci-fi. A thousand beats per minute? That’s unnatural and extreme idea. Even the bears on stage for this song weren’t real.

Awesome Unofficial 1000BPM Video Of Legos:

Newtron

In my opinion, ’1000 BPM’ is one of the least accessible songs on The Information; this does not mean it’s actually bad. My first taste of Info was when the video compilation of ‘This Girl‘ / ’1000 BPM’ / ‘No Complaints‘ / ‘Movie Theme‘ / ‘New Round‘ was released, and I remember not getting ’1000 BPM’ at all. It was a song that I really wanted to like, but I couldn’t figure it out. The beat and rhythm of the vocals, to my ear, didn’t match at all with the beat of the of the music and it reminded me of a shitty Master P song. The constant clanging was irritating. It bothered me. I probably even lied about liking it so I would seem cool, but really I didn’t and I wasn’t.

When I actually heard the song in full, though, it started to grow on me. I started to get what Beck was going for, and enjoy it more for what it was. It’s still not even close to my favourite Beck rap, but I have a much greater appreciation for it. To me, ’1000 BPM’ will always be a grow-er, not a show-er.

As a side note, at one point I created a track to see what a 1000 BPM beat would actually sound like. It was basically a drone, with individual beats completely indistinguishable.

Also, I like at live shows when this song featured bears humping giant boomboxes.

Also, I like that this is (one of?) the only Beck song(s) with the word “jism” in it.

Yes, Newt, it’s the only one.

And if anyone wasn’t able to make a show in 2005 or 2006, here’s what we’re talking about with the bears:

Got some good stuff up next for the “11.6.45 / 8.4.82 / 8.6.82″ trilogy!

The Beck Oeuvre: Song #2 “10,000 Pesos″

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

“10,000 Pesos” is a short little piece Beck recorded for Nacho Libre. It was released on the soundtrack, and is in the film. (I believe these are two different versions, but have to verify.) Does anyone have any connection to the song beyond thinking of the film? Let’s see:

Vitamin.Deb:

This little ditty is very Beck, you know? Whatever that means. It’s got that self-described jankity guitar strum style of his. If I’d gone to see Nacho Libre not knowing that Beck had done some of the music, I’d have suspected it was him even without that minimal humming vocal he put into this. But of course, being one of the uberfans, one of the reasons I went to see the movie was because I knew he’d done some of the music. The only thing I remember about the movie itself is the scene with the corn cob. Good lord, I haven’t thought of that scene in a while. Terrible and hilarious. I know this song was not in that scene so it’s sort of irrelevant, but oh well.

AlmostAGhost:

I actually think this track is sort of, well, not much to think about. “10,000 Pesos” just doesn’t seem to me to have all that much effort behind it. It seems to be what Beck would come up with if you handed him a guitar and said “go!” He’d strum those chords in that beautiful way, hum a little, and his band would help out behind him. But perhaps I am underestimating what it takes to make such a recording. Or perhaps I am overestimating Beck’s creative genius.

Bebo

This is one of those songs that will always be tied to the movie it was in, for me anyways. I can almost see the scene from Nacho Libre playing in my head as this song plays. I believe it is the part where Nacho is sorta dejected and goes out alone into the desert or whatever. I get a feeling of quiet contemplation and acceptance of a somber situation (maybe this is just from the scene in the movie, but I think the music resonates the mood of the scene well). I love the simplicity of this song. The guitar strumming, and finger picking. Beck doing his signature humming in the background. A few other sparse instruments/sounds to add a little bit of decoration. Isn’t really a full song, but maybe phase or mood or snapshot of a moment.

Newtron:

Man, I have no idea what to say about this one. This project is hard.

I just listened to this on repeat a bunch of times, and all I can think of is that 1) it is pretty, and 2) I like Nacho Libre more than most people I think. There are some really great things about that movie, and I dare say some of it is beautiful. Perhaps I’ll expand on that more if I don’t have anything to say about one of the other Nacho songs.

In case you’re wondering:
10,000 Pesos = 1,013.82 U.S. dollars
10,000 Pesos = 1,042 Canadian dollars
10,000 Pesos = 42,725 Rupees
10,000 Pesos = 109,324 Yen
10,000 Pesos = 80,567 Icelandic Krona
10,000 Pesos = 3,586 Shekel
10,000 Pesos = 1,577 Brazilian Real

The madness that is “1000BPM” is next!

The Beck Oeuvre: Song #1 “.000.000″

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

This is a new blog series, where a select bunch of Beckfrx will share their reminiscences, thoughts, inspirations, interpretations of EVERY Beck song! How’s that for ambitious? The Beckfrx have all been fans for a long while, we’ve lived with these songs as long as possible, and hopefully have interesting things to say. Please add your thoughts in the comments!

We’re going alphabetically, and yes, we know this will probably take five years to finish.

Today’s first song: the always mysterious “.000.000“!

Newtron:

This has always been one of my favorite Beck songs. In my mind I group this in with ‘Lemonade‘. They were both among the first Beck b-sides I heard (Odelay was my first Beck album, and its singles were my first Beck singles). Both these songs were so different from what was on Odelay — so weird and non-commercial — and listening to them I started to realize that Beck was working on a lot more layers and levels than I had originally assumed. 16-year-old Dave loved it because it was fucked up and different, and 26-year-old Dave loves it because it rocks my ass (gently).

BTW, I pronounce this “zero hundred thousand”. What does everyone else say?

Breathmint:

listening to this song over and over makes it difficult for me to breathe. kind of scary.

Vitamin.Deb:

Funny, and probably somehow appropriate, that we begin with a track that evokes for me the horrors of backwardsness. (Is that even a word? Check the Becktionary.) Looking backwards, trying to live backwards. I’m not someone who knows much at all about the technical aspects of music, but it feels to me like there are one or more elements in this song that were recorded and then inverted, a la the little man in Twin Peaks. Anyway, yeah, so I’ve got someone close to me who can’t get over the past, who is hopelessly mired in it, and this song makes me think about that. Disquieting, cautionary.

Beck:

There were definitely lyrics and they were very meaningful. I think.

AlmostAGhost:

This song will always just be, to me, those nights I’ve spent, sitting in the dark, headphones on, listening to the song in tiny fragments, played over and over, *PAUSE* *REWIND* *PLAY* *REWIND* *PLAY*, trying to figure out what those lyrics are. And never succeeding.

And finally here is an unofficial “inverted mix” of the song, which (ever so slightly) emphasizes the vocals, and has a cool drum sound.

Up next: “10,000 Pesos”!

Beck North American Guilt Tour Update (Update UPDATED!)

Friday, August 1st, 2008

UPDATE: Beck.com lists a second NYC show now, and I’ve added it to the list

UPDATE 2: Beck added a show in Tulsa!

Beck added a couple new shows (New York City and Montreal) at the end of his tour… still some free dates in there, so hopefully he’ll fill it in. (Three days to get from Chicago to Montreal = stop in Toronto?) (Boston show between Montreal and NYC?) (Will it continue on south from NYC?)

Here’s the current list, beck.com/tour for links for tix. If you’re going, let us know, record it, take pictures, write down the setlists… :)

2008-08-21 Grand Sierra Theatre, Reno, NV, United States (w/ Devendra Banhart)
2008-08-22 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, United States (Outside Lands Festival)
2008-08-24 Les Schwab Ampitheater, Bend, OR, United States (w/ Cold War Kids)
2008-08-27 Royal Theatre, Victoria, BC, Canada (w/ Band Of Horses)
2008-08-28 Orpheum, Vancouver, BC, Canada (w/ Band Of Horses)
2008-08-30 Seattle Center, Seattle, WA, United States (Bumbershoot Festival)

2008-09-19 San Diego, CA, United States (Street Scene Festival)
2008-09-20 Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA, United States (w/ Spoon & MGMT)
2008-09-22 Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-09-23 Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-09-25 Abraham Chavez Theatre, El Paso, TX, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-09-27 Zilker Park, Austin, TX, United States (Austin City Limits Festival)
2008-09-28 Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, OK, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-09-29 Uptown Theater, Kansas City, MO, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-09-30 Wilkins Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-10-02 Aragon, Chicago, IL, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-10-03 Aragon, Chicago, IL, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-10-06 St. Denis, Montreal, QC, Canada (w/ MGMT)
2008-10-09 United Palace Theater, New York, NY, United States (w/ MGMT)
2008-10-10 United Palace Theater, New York, NY, United States (w/ MGMT)