Last year, instead of releasing a new album, Beck released a collection of sheet music.
Thanks to Portland Cello Project, the music from Beck’s “Song Reader” can be heard (and purchased) in its entirety by Portland Cello Project, an ensemble with a goal of showing the music world that cellos need not be relegated to the background at classical concerts but can be impressive sonic devices on their own — especially when performing witty, inventive tunes that cellists normally avoid.
Actually, “the main goal is to confuse the audience,” joked the project’s general manager, artistic director and cellist Douglas Jenkins.
While the six cellists and three additional musicians (including a singer) will perform some classical and jazz, the project is known for setting contemporary music to cellos. For example, the group’s 2012 album, “Homage,” consists of re-imaginings of hip-hop pieces from the likes of OutKast and Lil’ Wayne, and one song is even called “Fugue on a Monstrous Theme of Kanye West.”
The group typically tours with rock acts such as all-star guitarist Buckethead, who would never take the KFC bucket off his head but would ask, through his tour manager, if the cellists were enjoying themselves.
Yes, they were, Jenkins said.
Alialujah Choir opens.
When • Friday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m.
Where • The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City
Tickets • $17 at thestateroom.com