One of my favorite things to do is listen to music and drink wine. I’ve always found there to be a really amazing artistic similarity between people who make wine and those who create music, which is why I spent two years producing the music series Vivo in Vino — a series that explored the relationship between these two art forms. Experiencing wine and music at the same time enhances each one in a way that’s hard to explain, but I know you know what I am talking about. Now, fast forward to today and the recent release of Beck’s newest album.
I’ve been a Beck fan for a very long time: Modern Guilt, Guero, Sea Change, all great albums. So I couldn’t wait to finally listen to Morning Phase.
Listening to Beck talk about the album in various places, it’s clear that he considers this be an introspective album. It took him over 6 years to write this record, working on the songs while travelling across the country and bouncing from studio to studio, starting in Nashville and then finally returning to LA to complete it.
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Before turning on the stereo, I was also aware that it’s the slowest album Beck has ever recorded. In his interview with NPR, Beck commented on how slow the album actually is, saying the average dance song is 120BPM (Beats Per Minute) and the fastest song on his record is 60BPM. I knew this was going to be a thinking man’s record, one to sit with quietly.
Pinot Noir has always been considered a thinking man’s wine. It’s a complex and unique wine that makes you really search inward as you contemplate the awesomeness of this wine.
I knew I wanted to drink a Pinot Noir while listening to Beck, but I wanted something a bit different than just a really amazing Pinot Noir, as for me, Beck has always been a slightly different and unique songwriter. I wanted to drink winemaker Anthony Nappa’s Anomaly.
What makes Anomaly so special is that it isn’t just a Pinot Noir, it’s a WHITE Pinot Noir. As we’ve explained before in our Wine 101 section, wine takes its color from the skins of the fruit. So, when a grape initially gives up its juice, the juices run clear. It’s only when that juice is allowed to soak with the skins of the fruit that the color bleeds in. By never allowing the juice and skins to soak together, Anthony Nappa is able to create a beautiful, interesting white wine from one of the world’s most famous red grapes.
I opened the bottle, poured a glass and turned on Morning Phase. As the strings opened the record, I took a sip of the wine and was overcome by the aromas of strawberries and cherries followed by a smooth and rich finish that was dry and had a really nice amount of acidity. It was oddly like drinking a red Pinot Noir, just in white form. As Anthony Nappa has said, he made Anomaly to challenge our perceptions of what a white wine can be, which I believe is exactly what Beck is also doing with music.
With Morning Phase, Beck’s challenging what a “slow” record can be. As I listened to the string arrangements and slowly rocked to the music while sipping my wine, I was blown away yet again by his epic songwriting ability. Another fantastic record, and an incredible wine to go with it.