Back in April, Beck released “Saw Lightning,” a new track that he’d recorded with super-producer Pharrell Williams, and he announced that it would be the first track from a new album called Hyperspace, which was set to arrive “at an as yet undetermined point in the space time continuum.” Well, we can now determine that point. Beck will release Hyperspace next month, and he’s just shared two new tracks from the LP.
Beck recorded and co-wrote “Uneventful Days” and “Hyperlife” with Pharrell Williams, a fascinating collaborator for the man. (Pharrell co-produced them with Beck and the mostly-unknown David Greenbaum.) The two new tracks are both hugely promising. “Hyperlife” is a short intro, all spacey synth sounds, and it works as an effective buildup. And “Uneventful Days” is a lovely new-romantic ballad, quite possibly the best song Beck has made since Morning Phase. Check out both new tracks below.
Beck and Pharrell have been talking about working together forever, and after Beck made Morning Phase, his Grammy-winning album of bucolic reveries, he said he’d release a more pop-flavored album with producers like Pharrell shortly thereafter. He did release a more pop-flavored album, but that album, Colors, was relatively unimaginative, and he made it with Greg Kurstin. Beck and Pharrell finally got together after Pharrell asked Beck to help contribute to a new N.E.R.D. album.
Talking to NME recently, Beck said this of working with Pharrell:
I’d always wanted to make a record with him. We had been friendly over the years and had got together and talked about making some music back in 2012, but around that time he ended up putting out a song with Daft Punk, then “Blurred Lines” and “Happy.”…
I was not expecting the songs to come out how they did. I was going in thinking of songs like “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” you know? He felt very strongly that spending a little time with me, that “You need to be doing singer-songwriter type of songs.” So that was more of the direction we went in…
I really tried to be less ambitious on the production on these songs, like to let them be simple and let them breathe. Pharrell is a master minimalist. On production I’m a bit of a maximalist — I’m known to have 140 tracks of things trying to coexist and fight to be heard at the same time. I’ve really tried to reform myself to let it be more simple.
The album will also feature contributions from people like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who recently sang onstage with Beck and who adds vocals to “Stratosphere,” and Sky Ferreira, who sings backup on “Die Waiting.” Pharrell didn’t produce the whole album; Beck also worked on tracks with people like Kurstin and Paul Epworth. Here’s the Hyperlife tracklist.
02 “Uneventful Days”
03 “Saw Lightning”
04 “Die Waiting”
06 “See Through”
09 “Dark Places”
11 “Everlasting Nothing”
Hyperspace is out 11/22 on Capitol.