Beck — Mutations
♦♣♦ Beck promění každou skladbu do něčeho nepochybně jeho vlastního, vytváří soudržnost z různorodých materiálů. • Mutations peaked at #13 in the US, going gold, and achieved #24 in the UK and #23 in Australia. As of July 2008, Mutations has sold 586,000 copies in the United States. One of the most inventive, eclectic figures of the alternative era, the epitome of postmodern chic in an era obsessed with junk culture.
Birth name: Bek David Campbell
Born: July 8, 1970, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, harmonica, percussion, sitar, banjo, slide guitar, twelve–string guitar, glockenspiel, vocoder, kalimba, melodica, beatboxin
Album release: November 3, 1998
Recorded: March 19, 1998 — April 3, 1998
Record Label: Geffen / DGC/Bong Load
01. Cold Brains 3:41
02. Nobody’s Fault 5:02
03. Lazy Files 3:43
04. Canceled Check 3:14
05. We Live Again 3:03
06. Tropicalia 3:20
07. Dead Melodies 2:35
08. Bottle Of Blues 4:55
09. O Maria 4:00
10. Sing It Again 4:19
11. Static 5:18
12. Diamond Bollocks 6:00
℗ 1998 Geffen Records Inc.
♦♦ Beck Composer, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Producer, Vocals
♦♦ Elliot Caine Trumpet
♦♦ David Campbell Arranger, Conductor, Viola
♦♦ Larry Corbett Cello
♦♦ Autumn de Wilde Photography
♦♦ Robert Fisher Art Direction
♦♦ Nigel Godrich Mixing, Producer
♦♦ Charlie Gross Photography
♦♦ Smokey Hormel Guest Artist, Guitar, Percussion, Quica, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Warren Klein Sitar, Tamboura
♦♦ Bob Ludwig Mastering
♦♦ Roger Manning Guest Artist, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Justin Meldal–Johnsen Bass, Percussion, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ David Ralicke Flute, Trombone
♦♦ John Sorenson Assistant Engineer
♦♦ Joey Waronker Drums, Percussion, Synthesizer Drums
♦♦ 1998 Mutations The Billboard 200 #13
♦♦ 1998 Mutations Top Canadian Albums #6
♦♦ 1998 Tropicalia Modern Rock Tracks #21
♦♦ 1999 A Mutations Best Alternative Music Performance WINNER
Neil Lieberman, November 1, 1998; Score: 9
Review by OrbDragon, Score: 4, Excellent
BY NATHAN BRACKETT | November 26, 1998 | ****
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine; Score: ****
♦♦ According to party line, neither Beck nor Geffen ever intended Mutations to be considered as the official follow–up to Odelay, his Grammy–winning breakthrough. It was more like One Foot in the Grave, designed to be an off–kilter, subdued collection of acoustic–based songs pitched halfway between psychedelic country blues and lo–fi folk. The presence of producer Nigel Godrich, the man who helmed Radiohead's acclaimed OK Computer, makes such claims dubious. Godrich is not a slick producer, but he's no Calvin Johnson, either, and Mutations has an appropriately clean, trippy feel. There's little question that with the blues, country, psych, bossa nova, and folk that comprise it, Mutations was never meant to be a commercial endeavor — there's no floor–shaker like "Where It's At," and it doesn't trade in the junk culture that brought Odelay to life. Recording with his touring band — marking the first time he has entered the studio with a live band — does result in a different sound, but it's not so much a departure as it is a side road that is going in the same direction. None of the songs explore new territory, but they're rich, lyrically and musically. There's an off–the–cuff wit to the songwriting, especially on "Canceled Check" and "Bottle of Blues," and the performances are natural, relaxed, and laid–back, without ever sounding complacent. In fact, one of the nifty tricks of Mutations is how it sounds simple upon the first listen, then reveals more psychedelic layers upon each play. Beck is not only a startling songwriter — his best songs are simultaneously modern and timeless — he is a sharp record–maker, crafting albums that sound distinct and original, no matter how much they may borrow. In its own quiet, organic way, Mutations confirms this as much as either Mellow Gold or Odelay.
Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
♣ Initially pegged as the voice of a generation when "Loser" turned into a smash crossover success, Beck wound up crystallizing much of the postmodern ruckus inherent in the '90s alternative explosion, but in unexpected ways. Based in the underground anti-folk and noise–rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manner of modern music, drawing in hip–hop, blues, trash rock, pop, soul, lounge music — pretty much any found sound or vinyl dug up from a dusty crate — blurring boundaries and encapsulating how '90s hipsters looked toward the future by foraging through the past. In another time, Beck may have stayed in the province of the underground, but he surfaced just as alternative rock turned mainstream, with his 1994 debut Mellow Gold launching "Loser," a hit that crossed over with the velocity of a novelty, a notion Beck quickly punctured with a succession of indie LPs delivered in the wake of Mellow Gold, including the lo–fi folk of One Foot In The Grave, delivered on the K imprint. But the album that truly cemented Beck's place in the pantheon was 1996's Odelay, a co–production with the Dust Brothers that touched upon all of his obsessions, providing a cultural keystone for the decade while telegraphing all his future moves, from the soul prankster of Midnite Vultures to the melancholy troubadour of Sea Change.
Fittingly, Beck came from a distinctly artistic background, the son of string arranger/conductor David Campbell and Bibbe Hansen, a regular at Andy Warhol's Factory whose father was a pivotal contributor to the Fluxus art movement. Adopting the Hansen surname after his father left, Beck grew up in Los Angeles, dropping out of school in the tenth grade to play as a street busker and attend poetry slams. Bashing out blues and folk, Beck wound up assembling a home tape called The Banjo Story before departing for New York, where he operated on the margins of the anti–folk scene without ever breaking into it.
♣ He returned to Los Angeles, where he continued to play clubs, eventually gaining the attention of Bong Load Records, an independent operated by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf. All parties agreed to pair Beck's fledgling folk with hip–hop beats assembled by producer Karl Stephenson, whose kitchen provided the studio for their first efforts, including "Loser." These tapes remained unreleased as Beck recorded an album's worth of material with Calvin Johnson for the latter's K label, but the first release Beck had was the Flipside single "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack" and Sonic Enemy's cassette release of Golden Feelings. But what really broke the doors open was Bong Load's 12" single of "Loser," which garnered considerable play in L.A., coinciding with increased underground attention. Soon, Beck signed with Geffen, striking a deal that allowed him to release on independent labels. One of these immediately followed — Fingerpaint released a 10" record A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight in January 1994 — before the Geffen debut Mellow Gold appeared in March of 1994.
♣ Naturally, "Loser" was the lead single from Mellow Gold and it turned into an instant smash, boasting a hook that worked as an ironic underground rallying cry and a novelty crossover. Despite many positive reviews, Beck worked overtime to dispel the notion he was a novelty, quickly releasing two indie albums in succession: the noise–skronk Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot In The Grave. Stereopathetic made few waves, but the stripped–back, folky One Foot In The Grave acted as a counterbalance to the gonzo Mellow Gold, illustrating the depths of his talents.
♣ After a furious 1994, Beck laid relatively low in 1995, touring with the fifth Lollapalooza in between working on a new album with the production team the Dust Brothers, who had collaborated with the Beastie Boys on their landmark 1989 Paul's Boutique. The resulting album, Odelay, appeared in June 1996, preceded by the lanky, funky single "Where It's At," which would go on to win the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal. Odelay piled up acclaim and hits — "Devil's Haircut," "Jack–Ass," and "The New Pollution" all charted around the world — and the record went double platinum, becoming a touchstone of '90s alternative rock. An outtake from the album, "Deadweight," appeared on the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's 1997 film A Life Less Ordinary, then Beck set to work on his next album with producer Nigel Godrich, who had just worked with Radiohead on OK Computer. Their collaboration, originally slated for an indie release but moved to Geffen, thereby setting a precedent where no future Beck LP would be released on an indie (something worked out in the courts the following year), traded futuristic rock — either the joyous collage of Odelay or the dystopia of OK Computer — for a quiet, pulsating, psychedelic folk–rock album called Mutations. Riding high on Odelay, the album charted well without turning out any major hits, although it did garner a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.
♣ Beck took another abrupt change in musical direction in 1999 with Midnite Vultures, a garish party record that was part satire and part salute to soul and funk, particularly Prince. Reviews were divided between ecstatic and skeptical, but the album had some real hits with "Sexx Laws" and "Deborah," and in some ways it was the apex of Beck's hipster prankster phase, a persona he shed with his next album, 2002's Sea Change. Recorded in the wake of a romantic breakup, Sea Change was another Godrich production, but it was gentle and mournful, lacking some of the gritty underpinnings of Mutations yet retaining the psychedelia — and that psychedelic edge was brought out in the supporting tour when Beck hired the Flaming Lips as his supporting band. The tour was well–eceived but there were some tensions, as reported by Lips leader Wayne Coyne later.
♣ After an extended break — the longest he had taken between albums to date — Beck returned in 2005 with Guero, an album that reunited him with the Dust Brothers and consciously evoked Odelay. Guero launched a few hits, including "E–Pro" and "Hell Yes," and was followed within months by Guerolito, a remixed version of the entire album. Beck continued in this direction the following year with The Information, but its Nigel Godrich production kept the album streamlined and emphasized the darker undercurrents in the songs. Some of that darkness could be heard on his eighth album, Modern Guilt, a 2008 release produced by Danger Mouse, marking his first time in 14 years that he worked with a producer who wasn't the Dust Brothers or Godrich.
♣ Modern Guilt performed respectably — it debuted at eight on the U.S. Billboard charts and received strong reviews — but he spent the next several years relatively quiet.
♣ In 2009, Beck began actively pursuing a career as a producer, collaborating with Charlotte Gainsbourg on her acclaimed IRM album; two years later, he produced Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts and Mirror Traffic by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. He also dipped his toe back into solo recording on the soundtrack to the 2010 Edgar Wright film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Still, between 2009 and 2010 much of his studio energy was devoted to his Record Club, where he and a loose collective of friends covered classic albums in their entirety; the albums covered included The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, and INXS' Kick.
Beck returned to original material in 2012 via Song Reader, a collection of sheet music featuring 20 new, unrecorded songs; although he didn't record versions of these songs, he did appear at Song Reader concerts featuring other musicians (and a collection of those live performances was eventually released under his name). Early in 2014, Beck released Morning Phase, his first new album in nearly six years and first album for Capitol Records. Described by the singer/songwriter as a "companion piece" to 2002's Sea Change, it was released in February 2014, preceded by the singles "Blue Moon" and "Waking Light." Critical reception was largely positive, and the album peaked at number two on the Billboard charts.