After the recent announcement that Beck’s latest album would be available only in sheet music form, it was only a matter of time until some brave artists stepped up to the challenge of interpreting the eccentric singer-songwriter’s music on a live stage.

Now a bunch of Sydney’s finest will be performing the collection of sheet music, entitled Song Reader, at The Standard on December 19th, as The Music Network reports.

The show will featuring the likes of troubadour Josh Pyke, multi-instrumentalist maverick Jonathan Boulet, indie leaders Dappled Cities, DIY artist Caitlin Park, the psychelicious Richard In Your Mind, along with performers Aiden Roberts of Belles Will Ring, Thomas Rawle of Papa Vs Pretty, and the two halves of The Rescue Ships: Brian Campeau and Elana Stone.

McSweeney’s, the US publishing house founded by author Dave Eggers, is helping out with publishing the book – a 108 page collection of sheet music, illustrations, and commentary from the musical chameleon – will be providing the group with advanced copies of the sheet music in order for it to be performed in time for its release date in December.

Steph Harmon of Sydney street press The Brag assisted in assembling the collection of talented musicians, and states that it is a “dream lineup” based on “one of those ideas that makes you jump out of your chair and start making phonecalls.”

In an interview with The Music Network, Harmon says that the idea began as the brainchild of Caitlin Welsh:

The idea formed first in Caitlin Welsh’s wonderful brain. As soon as Beck announced in August that his new album would be coming out as sheet music through McSweeney’s, she realised that to hear them live she’d need to enlist some people who could play. She invited a bunch of likeminded and musical people to a Facebook group, to gauge interest in the concept, and it blew up to about 200 people within an hour.

The show will be the first full live performance of Beck’s new album in Australia, although Welsh encourages others to tackle the exciting task.

“We’d absolutely encourage other people to get together and perform the songs, whether it’s in your living room or something bigger like this,” says Welsh. “The whole point of the Song Reader is to encourage people to take off the headphones, gather some people around, and dive into a piece of music.”[do action=”pullquote”]“The whole point of the Song Reader is to encourage people to take off the headphones, gather some people around, and dive into a piece of music.”[/do]

Beck, who is currently in the country for the Harvest Festival and a solitary sideshow, will be Song Reader, his first album in nearly five years as 20 unrecorded and unreleased Beck compositions in the form of sheet music, in order for fans to play the songs and “bring them to life themselves.”

Beck, who recently celebrated the ten year anniversary of his iconic album Sea Change, is making a “radical statement about the value and importance of performed and recorded music at a time when these very things are under threat”, according to Lee Brackstone, the Publishing Director for Faber and Faber, who is publishing Song Reader.

Beck’s Song Reader

The Standard on December 19th 2012
Featuring Josh Pyke, Jonathan Boulet, Dappled Cities, Caitlin Park, Richard In Your Mind, Aiden Roberts (Belles Will Ring), Thomas Rawle (Papa Vs Pretty), and Brian Campeau and Elana Stone (The Rescue Ships)

Write a Letter to the Editor