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Not so much a product of the modern rock era, more a cornerstone in its development the artist known as Beck has been active since 1993 when his independently released Golden Feelings became a byword for quality and swept like a bushfire through the Californian underground. His major label breakthrough disc Mellow Gold revisited an early cut called “Loser” whose bittersweet bleakness coupled to a joyously willful refrain made Beck an instant star for the so-called Gen X tribes, although knowing this man it’s likely he was standing outside looking in rather than firing off an autobiographical missive, even though he insists the gleeful pay-off line “So why don’t you kill me” references his own naïve attempts at rapping while fusing a hip hop beat to a folk blues strum. Whatever he has captured the zeitgeist ever since with the albums One Foot in the Grave and Odelay acting as a blood rush of novel pop, side glancing rock and multi-instrumental prowess that have seen him team up with everyone from Willie Nelson to Cat Power, Dave Eggers and Danger Mouse. The Flaming Lips have been his backing band, that’s how cool he is. He’s a one-man catalyst.

Another of Beck’s traits is the ability to maintain a certain mystique so that his fans find it easy to believe he performs only for them. He isn’t quite part of the mainstream and releases when it’s appropriate, rather than to fulfil the obligations of time and marketplace. Even so he’s recognised as an important maverick that has sold over 16 million albums worldwide and generated extraordinarily positive press with each new offering a genuinely exciting event. The perfect example of this is his latest album Morning Phase where Beck is reunited with many of the players who figured on his acclaimed 2002 disc Sea Change.

One of the contemporary masters of sampling and mixing, Beck is renowned for his wicked studio skills and has worked his magic on Björk, David Bowie, Seu Jorge, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. His impromptu Record Club ensemble has covered whole albums by Skip Spence, Yanni, The Velvet Underground & Nico and Leonard Cohen. Lucky for him he’s in the position to entertain such wonderful idealism: lucky for us we are here to listen to the results.

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Mellow Gold
Beck - Mellow Gold
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Odelay
Beck - Odelay
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Mutations
Beck - Mutations
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Midnite Vultures
Beck - Midnite Vultures
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Sea Change
Beck - Sea Change
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Guero
Beck - Guero
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Guerolito
Beck - Guerolito
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Modern Guilt
Beck - Modern Guilt
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Morning Phase
Beck - Morning Phase
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Song Reader
Beck - Song Reader
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