Friday, 18 November 2011

Live at the Acropolis

I fancy myself a polymath but this Beck bloke takes the biscuit. A hip-hop artist, rapper, multi-instrumentalist who plays country-blues, tropicalia, pop, rock, and is a writer, performer and producer. As well as making his own records, he found time to write and produce Charlotte Gainsbourg's most recent record and has been remaking classic rock lps and putting them on his website. His latest effort in this strain is a remaking of "Live at the Acropolis" by Yanni, who is a Greek composer of new age music, all long hair and flouncy white shirts.

I was thinking that no-one makes really good avant-garde records anymore. Not like they did in the 60s and 70s. It seems too easy now to have some electronic equipment make a funny noise and to drop some sound effects over it and give it a metaphysical title. But this whole album is fantastic. Others in this series sound a bit like people just having a bash at songs they are familiar with but they prepared real arrangements for this recording and employed some proper musicians to play them. The arrangements reconfigure Yanni's original score into something more interesting, not so polite. Keener to engage than entertain.

There are some great tonalities across the whole album. There is a piano being played in a big empty room but recorded from next door, a funky bass, drums that are not so much played as thrown around the studio and lashings of feedback poured over the whole thing like custard over a slice of apple pie. It is Beck's masterpiece.

I absolutely love this and have had it on in the car constantly for the past couple of days. The wife and kids really dig it too.

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