Beck Transforms David Bowie With A 170-Piece Orchestra

Beck's soaring rendition of "Sound And Vision" includes full orchestra, a gospel choir, an Alphorn and even a yodeler. (Courtesy of the artist)
Beck’s soaring rendition of “Sound And Vision” includes full orchestra, a gospel choir, an Alphorn and even a yodeler. (Courtesy of the artist)

Beck Hansen certainly is no stranger to ambitious musical concepts — from his genre-defying albums and shapeshifting production work to his Record Club video series, video game music, and his recent Song Reader sheet music album. He’s also reportedly at work on his long-awaited first proper album since 2008’s Modern Guilt.

But now, he’s debuting something far grander: A nine-minute cover of David Bowie’s classic song “Sound and Vision” performed with 170 musicians and recorded with 360-degree microphones and camera equipment that lets viewers feel as though they’re actually there in person.

The fully-immersive interactive project is a collaboration with music video director Chris Milk and all part of the Lincoln car company’s “Hello, Again” campaign, which is setting out to “transform classic works of art, fashion, film, and music into entirely new, fresh, original creations.”Beck’s inventive take on “Sound And Vision” is the first in the series.

Conducted by Beck’s father David Campbell, the expansive orchestra includes the Dap Kings, members of the USC marching band, a Peruvian charango band, a gospel choir, a gamelan ensemble, an arsenal of electric guitars, percussion, mallets and harps, a theremin, a singing saw, an Alphorn, and yes, a yodeler. Wow.

“The idea of being able to assemble a huge number of musicians to play a piece of music,” Beck explains in a video preview (below), “I’ve never had anything like that come my way and I probably won’t again.”

Still, Beck’s soaring, joyful rendition is remarkable for how it puts the entire ensemble to good use as Bowie’s familiar arrangement sprawls, shifts to a more somber tone, and ultimately discovers new melodic peaks. The result is yet another glorious offering from the iconoclast musician who’s always pushing musical boundaries and up to something new. Can’t wait to see and hear what’s next.