As we await the release of Beck’s repeatedly delayed new album (that Beck says is coming “very soon” and is “in the final stages of the mixing” according to co-producer Greg Kurstin), new old Beck aplenty is surfacing online. The latest recording from Beck’s past to surface is the song “Curfew” from the 2011 movie I Am Number Four. Though snippets of “Curfew” have circulated via the film (it plays during the scene “at the house party as John goes to find Sarah and say goodbye” according to what-song.com), the full song has never been publicly heard… until now. The film’s director D. J. Caruso leaked it on twitter at the request of Beck fan Pierrick Falmon. Thanks Caruso and Falmon! Watch the scene the song appeared in courtesy of Beck fan Danny Goulter (protip: Beck fans are the best), followed by the full track. What’s more, Caruso also leaked an instrumental (title unknown) presumably created by Beck for the film. That’s also below.
I Am Number Four’s leaks come just a few days after never-before-seen 1992 footage of Beck surfaced on YouTube, and a month after an entire 1993 cassette. The recently surfaced super 8 film shows Beck and his director friend Steve Hanft 25 years ago goofing around in California. Hanft is best known for directing Beck’s early videos – “Loser,” “Pay No Mind (Snoozer),” “Beercan,” “Where It’s At” – though he’s also behind videos for Primal Scream, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Zakk Wylde, Spoon and Chuck Prophet, among others, and both directed and stars in “Sunglass Catch,” one of YouTube’s first viral ads. Beck and Steve became friends around the time the newly surfaced super 8 footage was shot, after Hanft requested Beck write music for his first feature film Kill the Moonlight. They apparently got along well and formed a band called Loser. In turn, Beck’s breakout hit “Loser” was inspired by Kill the Moonlight. “Loser” also samples Kill the Moonlight (“I’m a driver, I’m a winner…”), and yes, Spoon’s 2002 album was named after the film. Sympathy for the Record Industry originally released the film’s soundtrack – including rare early Beck tunes (“Leave Me On The Moon,” “Last Night I Traded My Souls Innermost For Some Pickled Fish” and “Underwater Music”) – and Kill the Moonlight’s Plexifilm DVD re-release added tracks by Beck and Steve’s band Loser (“Born Of Whiskey,” “Dad Came Home” and “Fish Bait”). The super 8 footage of Beck and Steve concludes with Steve shooting Kill the Moonlight.
Coincidentally this newly surfaced footage comes just weeks after Steve himself uploaded an unreleased cassette “album” of early Beck songs called Bogus Flow (not to be confused with the Beck song of the same name – not on this tape – originally released on the classic 1994 VA comp DGC Rarities Vol. 1). Labeled “dec 93,” the tape features Beck and Steve’s duets and recordings made by another of their bands, Liquor Cabinet (“from the Sasquatch Sessions,” Steve notes in the upload’s description, “with Lisa Dembling on drums and backup vox, Clare Crespo on bass, Martha Atwell on bass and back up vox on the last track, Leo Le Blanc on pedal steel”). Recorded with a 4 track cassette recorder, these songs were all previously unheard by the public with three exceptions: the title track from Steve’s movie short Feel The Bunny, and Liquor Cabinet’s “Mile High” and “Razario” (both released on a single in 1994 with slightly different mixes than heard on the recently surfaced tape, though those are the two tracks on the Bogus Flow tape that Beck himself is not on according to whiskeyclone.net) (protip: whiskeyclone.net is the ultimate Beck resource).
For fun I’ve made mock music videos by editing the silent super 8 footage with songs from Bogus Flow (watch “United Whiskey Man” and “Bologna” above). Listen to Bogus Flow in full and watch the complete, unedited super 8 footage below. Protip: Bogus Flow may be a bit hard to get through if you’re accustomed to Beck’s more polished stylings, but at the very least check out purty pedal steel-graced closing track “Bringin it Back” (linked directed here).
Protip: enough with the protips already….