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Five Beck Production Tips for Stephen Malkmus' Mirror Traffic

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All the way in the second sentence of the press release, Matador scion Gerard Cosloy divulges that the '90s preeminent slacker heroes are together at last. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks will enjoy the multi-faceted production touches of Beck Hansen on Mirror Traffic, S.M.'s fifth since he broke up the Pavement experiment.

Though there was a time when Beck was putting out material on K records ("See Water" sounds like a Pavement song, and "Loser" has the exact same sentiment as "Cut Your Hair"), he eventually took a far more commercial route than Malkmus ever did. Lately, he's been doing whatever the hell he wants: covering Yanni and INXS for his Record Club, teaming up with the Lonely Island, and producing Demolished Thoughts for Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, so perhaps he's becoming Matador's in-house stylist.

Here are a few Beck techniques we'd like to hear added to the Malkmus sound.

5. One of those fake-out endings with a really weird hidden track. A lot of people will buy this album on vinyl, and just imagine the dinner party hi-jinx.

Utilized in: "Ramshackle" from 1996's Odelay. Skip to 6:47 to hear what sounds like Beck is humping a Commodore 64.

4. Some really dramatic strings and drum fills that remind us of Serge Gainsbourg's L'histoire de Melody Nelson. Malkmus' "Freeze the Saints" could've used that orchestral swell, and now it's time to make amends.

Utilized in: "Paper Tiger" from 2002's Sea Change and all sorts of moments on Modern Guilt (2008).

3. A soulful jam in which Malkmus uses his falsetto for real. We're not trying to turn him into Chris Martin, but Pavement's "Starlings of the Slipstream" is just enough of a tease for that upper register.

Utilized in: (Duh) "Debra" from 1998's Midnite Vultures.

2. Malkmus needs the pedal steel.

Utilized in: "Rowboat" (the one Johnny Cash covered) from 1994's Stereopathetic Soulmanure.

1. Rappin' Malkmus will probably never happen, but who better to coach him? Instead of "Hollywood Freaks," how about "Portland Freaks" instead? Actually, that happened.

Utilized in: Any album that Beck isn't feeling really sad or serious. Here's the sublime "Beercan" from 1994's Mellow Gold. Just think of the video possibilities...

Never mind that taking the entirety of Beck's career and combining it in one Malkmus album would sound horribly disjointed. Wait, isn't that Art Brut? We kid. Anyhow, if even one of these ideas steps out into Mirror Traffic, we'll be the crossing guard.

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