Beck continues to create unique sounds and quality music with his latest album Morning Phase.
Beck, the stage name for vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Beck Hansen, has a long and diverse musical history.
From folk music to anti-folk music, alternative music to latin rock to indie music, Beck has played it all and created unique landscapes of sound that drew the attention of labels and standard listeners alike.
Throughout his career, Beck has collaborated with artists like The Velvet Underground and The Lonely Island, as well as writing songs for movies such as creating all of Sex Bob-omb’s songs in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Morning Phase is Beck’s 11th studio release and his first new album since 2008’s Modern Guilt.
Something that is immediately striking about Morning Phase is how easy it is to listen to. The music flows incredibly well, melding the distinct songs into a single experience that just works every time.
Morning Phase is a continuation of Beck’s tradition of implementing many instruments to create a deep soundscape that always has more to be enjoyed, without feeling busy or aggressive.
The album opens up with the song “Cycle,” a short string piece that serves as an establishing note for the album and a peaceful build into the album’s first real song, “Morning.”
“Morning” is a quiet and slow acoustic song that feels like it should be listened to, appropriately, in the morning.
The instrumentation is varied for a primarily acoustic song, carrying the strings from the intro, while adding a simple piano part and drum rhythm that works with the guitar to give the song a relaxing feel.
The album’s fourth song, “Say Goodbye,” is a slight turning point in the album. Like its predecessors, it is a song that focuses on acoustic rhythms; however, the tone of the guitar, and the song as a whole, is different from the tones of the album’s first three songs. The acoustic rhythm is faster, involving some picking and quick movements that give the song a folk feel.
The song also features some banjo, which really fills out the tone of the song and completes its folk-like feel.
The lyrics are delivered in a lower tone than those in “Morning,” giving the song a rich, weary feeling that melds with the brighter sounds of the first three tracks on the album, providing the album’s first example of the breadth of sounds that are to be experienced.
The last song of the album, “Waking Light,” carries some elements from all of the album’s songs.
The instrumentation is incredibly varied, including electric guitar, synth, piano, strings, kit and some percussion instruments, just to name a few.
The song actually has a similar feel to “Romona,” one of the songs that Beck recorded for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack.
The song features prominent builds to some beautiful instrumental features, giving Morning Phase a strong ending without sounding out of place when compared to the mellow songs that came before it.
Beck Hansen has spent a lot of time making music, and it shows in every one of his works. Morning Phase is an incredibly well-put-together album that carries a consistent tone without repeating a single thing.
It is Beck, so the music does not quite fit into a neat box that can easily be labeled.
However, people who have grown tired of music that is readily available or are feeling mildly adventurous should definitely check out Beck and Morning Phase.