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The Portland Cello Project (Courtesy of the artist)

Hear All Of Beck's 'Song Reader' Album, Performed By The Portland Cello Project

by Jacob Ganz
Dec 29, 2012

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A few weeks ago, Beck released Song Reader, which contains 20 songs — not recorded, but printed as sheet music and collected within a handsome blue binder. The goal wasn't just to mimic an antiquated art form, but to see what would happen when the people who bought the music had to perform it themselves in order to hear how it sounded. It worked: Already, you can find a huge number of videos online of musicians, mostly amateurs, performing the songs. (A bunch of them are collected here).

Now, the Portland Cello Project has recorded all 20 of the Song Reader tunes for an album, appropriately titled Portland Cello Project Play Beck Hansen's Song Reader, and we have that entire album for you here.

The Portland Cello Project is a group of cellists; it's been performing original tunes along with covers of indie-rock and pop songs for the past five years — the group has more than 800 songs in its repertoire, according to its website. Along with a handful of guest vocalists, PCP managed to perform all of the songs within three days of receiving the sheet music from McSweeney's, the music book's publisher. We also have this video of the group performing "Title of This Song" with Lizzy Ellison from the Portland band Radiation City. The recent performance was captured at the Aladdin Theatre in Portland.

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