Beck Makes the Jump to Hyperspace

With a November 22 release date, Beck’s 14th album Hyperspace is also being touted as his most collaborative. Pharrell Williams’ participation, co-writing and co-producing seven of the album’s 11 tracks, might warrant that claim on its own, but beyond that Chris Martin (Coldplay) sings back-up on one song, Sky Ferreira does likewise on another and Dublin, Georgia songwriter, rapper, drummer and producer Terrell Hines – whose debut EP St. Mark Rd. is just out on Capitol Records – figures prominently on yet another. Additionally, Jason Falkner, Smokey Hormel and Roger Manning, Jr. from Beck’s rock-solid current band are featured on much of the album as well.

But is it any good? Well, like the rest of you, we’ve only been privy to four tracks so far: “Hyperlife” is a brief glimpse of dreamscape, with airily intoned words declaring dedication to ongoing growth. It segues into “Uneventful Days,” a gently percolating soft-soul gem where “everything has changed, nothing here feels right.” “Saw Lightning,” meanwhile, is an insistent flurry of percussive folk-funk, and “Dark Places” is shimmering gauze earwash. If those are an indicator of the strength of the album as a whole, it should be another winner, albeit an especially spacey one, appropriately. In the meantime, longtime fans should get a kick out of the video for “Hyperlife”/“Uneventful Days,” wherein Tessa Thompson and Evan Rachel Wood pay homage to Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut” and “Sexx Laws” clips amid other nods to the artist’s past.

Photo by Peter Hapak.