Beck Goes 'Clean' And Acoustic For 'Sea Change'

Beck has taken a left turn away from the ironic funk and soul leanings of 1999's "Midnite Vultures" on his new, acoustic-tinged Geffen set, "Sea Change," released earlier this week.

Beck has taken a left turn away from the ironic funk and soul leanings of 1999's "Midnite Vultures" on his new, acoustic-tinged Geffen set, "Sea Change," released earlier this week. The set was produced by Nigel Godrich, who was also at the helm for Beck's similarly sparse 1998 set "Mutations." A North American tour, which will find Beck backed by the Flaming Lips, kicks off Oct. 17 in Minneapolis.

"It's a pleasure making a record with him," Beck tells Billboard.com of Godrich. "He is tremendously involved in what he records, more than anyone I've worked with. Usually I'm pretty dominant when I'm working on something and very particular, but his taste is impeccable, so there is a lot of trust there. I can really release the reins so he will create something incredible and I can focus on my performance."

Asked whether other artists had inspired the downtrodden mood of "Sea Change," Beck answers, "Obviously there are going to be touchstones, because I am a contemporary artist working in a contemporary medium and I'm not making music with lampshades or tuna fish tins. There is a vocabulary I am working within. So while Stevie Wonder is known for the clavinet and Bob Dylan is known for the harmonica you are always gonna be in part of someone's shadow, but hopefully I've carved my own feeling out of it. The basic vocabulary here is a clean acoustic sound that harks back to some of the '70s Californian music and some British folk."

For now, the artist's touring focus will be on North America, but Beck says he does plan to visit Europe at some point. "Over the past few years we have solely been in Europe and haven't toured in America in almost three years," he says. "We are just trying to balance everything out."
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