Beck / Various Artists
As a follow-up to last year’s Guero, Beck and cohorts could hardly have done better. All the tracks on Guero are taken apart, soaked in various musical solutions, then distilled and reassembled into an entirely new beast. Although it would have been dead easy to produce another set of danceable techno mutations, the mad scientists on here have taken some fairly inventive approaches. Standing out (for me, at least) is Islands’ take on “Que Onda Guero,” where Beck’s waffling between English and Spanish is smoothly spread on top of some thrumming organ and bass clarinet, with a slow-motion breakdown tossed in the middle to truly warp things but good. Also worth noting is Air’s ominous dissection of “Heaven Hammer” and Boards of Canada’s Air-like (!) “Broken Drum.”
Fans of Beck will undoubtedly already have this, but anyone interested in way-out-there reinterpretations would do well to pick this up.