Emotion & Commotion


beck“In lieu of trying to outgroove groove … (I thought I’d) try to go the other way (to classical),” says Beck in a promotional video for his new CD. His inner child, however, wanted to “blow down buildings with loud noise.”

So the guitarist planned a double CD — one orchestral, the other shred/techno — but couldn’t come up with enough material, instead whittling it down to one wildly eclectic disc ultimately containing classical elements to some degree in every number.

More emotion than commotion and eminently listenable, the album ended up containing only real rock track: “Hammerhead,” spun off from a Jan Hammer-inspired tweak to Beck’s 1967 single “Hi Ho Silver Lining” dreamed up for a live performance by David Gilmour last summer.

“Corpus Christi Carol” and “Lilac Wine” were inspired by versions on Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” (the former a 16th-century English hymn, the latter a 1950 torch song). Both were recorded for “Emotion” as instrumentals, before Beck decided “Lilac Wine” would sound better with vocals by rockabilly/blues chanteuse Imelda May.

Soul singer Joss Stone also was recruited, for Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and “There’s No Other Me,” one of four tunes written/co-written by jazz pianist Jason Rebello.

The last of the album’s guest vocalists, classical soprano Olivia Safe, contributes wordless vocals to two cuts: “Serene,” on which Beck uses the TimeBlender computer plug-in to create a surreal double-lead effect vaguely reminiscent of a late-’70s Allman Brothers Band instrumental; and “Elegy for Dunkirk,” from the 2007 film “Atonement.” But Safe’s contribution to both is so subtle, they’re basically instrumentals.

In fact, it’s “Emotion’s” instrumentals that shine brightest, especially the 64-piece-orchestra pieces “Corpus,” “Elegy,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and quintessential tenor aria “Nessun Dorma.”gnm_end_bug

1. Corpus Christi Carol
2. Hammerhead
3. Never Alone
4. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
5. I Put A Spell On You (featuring Joss Stone)
6. Serene (featuring Olivia Safe)
7. Lilac Wine (featuring Imelda May)
8. Nessun Dorma
9. There’s No Other Me (featuring Joss Stone)
10. Elegy For Dunkirk (featuring Olivia Safe)

Total time: 40:19

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