Triangle musicians breathe life into Beck's 'Song Reader' - WNCT

Triangle musicians breathe life into Beck's 'Song Reader'

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Musicians with New Music Raleigh perform at King's Barcade. (New Music Raleigh) Musicians with New Music Raleigh perform at King's Barcade. (New Music Raleigh)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

When Beck announced his plan for a new album, his rabid fanbase salivated. But eyebrows quickly rose when it was revealed that new album would come in the form of sheet music.

Made available through indie publishing house McSweeney's in December, "Beck Hansen's Song Reader" is a collection of 20 new tunes from the four-time platinum musicians. But hearing those tunes takes a bit of elbow grease from the listener.

That's where New Music Raleigh steps in. Formed in 2009, NMR is a collective of musicians that has quickly become one of the Southeast's leading voices for the presentation of contemporary classical music.

On May 7, NMR will bring together seven local artists to breathe life into "Beck Hansen's Song Reader" at King's Barcade in downtown Raleigh. Leading the musicians is Louisiana-based composer Brett William Dietz, who has recently worked with the Detroit Symphony and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

"It was Brett's background as a drummer and his compositional style, which bears traces of Leonard Bernstein, Morton Feldman, and Nine Inch Nails, that make him a perfect candidate to prepare these tunes for NMR," New Music Raleigh explains in a press release.

Much like the music that is sprinkled across Beck's diverse catalog, NMR explains that Dietz' compositions cover styles from "acoustic folk to electronic dance music."

Providing a voice for Beck's songs will be The Old Ceremony's Django Haskins. He will be accompanied by Eric Hirsh (piano) and Peter Kimosh (bass) of The Beast, as well as NMR regulars Karen Strittmatter Galvin (violin), Jake Wenger (cello), Shawn Galvin (percussion) and Dennis Hoffmann (percussion).

Haskins, of course, is no stranger to large, live set pieces. In December 2010, Haskins joined Big Star's Jody Stephens, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, The dB's Chris Stamey, Let's Active's Mitch Easter, and a collection of incredible local musicians for a gorgeous, two-night presentation of Big Star's "Third" at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro.

Tickets to the May 7 show are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

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