By Scott T. Sterling
This might be the year we get to see and hear both sides of Beck‘s musical duality on record, from his gentle singer-songwriter sound (personified by his watershed Sea Change album) to the beat-crazy art-funk of hits like “Where it’s At” and “Debra.”
With Beck only weeks away from releasing the lush Morning Phase on Feb. 25 (it’s positioned as something of a Sea Change sequel, utilizing many of the same players), a new interview in Billboard reveals hints of another full-length being prepared, likened to be closer to Beck’s popular 1996 collection, Odelay.
One of the most interesting nuggets of information in the interview is the news that among the slew of collaborations on the “other” funkier Beck album is none less than super-producer Pharrell Williams, still riding high on a massive 2013 where he worked with Robin Thicke and Daft Punk on huge records. He also walked away with the GRAMMY award for Producer of the Year at last month’s ceremony.
While a Beck-Pharrell Willams has the earmarks of being a superstar dance-floor jam of epic proportions, given both artists’ chameleon-like abilities to assume countless sounds and musical genres, the results could be anything from a symphonic score to a peppy pop song suitable for kids.
Beck said this mysterious album which captures his wilder side could very well see the light of day before the end of 2014, “time willing.” It could be a tight crunch though, with the artist likely to embark on a tour in support of Morning Phase after it’s been released later this month. It would be his first funk-influenced album since 1999’s Midnite Vultures, which featured songs like the aforementioned “Debra” as well as “Sexx Laws” and “Mixed Bizness.”
Before hitting the road on an official tour, Beck has lined up slots on some upcoming major U.S. festivals, including Coachella in April. He’s also just been announced among the headliners at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Set for the weekend of July 18-20, Beck will appear alongside such acts as Kendrick Lamar, Giorgio Moroder, Grimes and Factory Floor.