Michael Jackson will join the ranks of artists who have released music posthumously when a new album of his hits the shops on May 13th. 'XSCAPE', as the record has been called, will feature eight brand new unreleased songs reworked by producers including Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome 'Jroc' Harmon and John McClain.
The collection was overseen by executive producer and CEO of Epic Records (through which the album will be released) L.A. Reid, who was granted access to a glut of Jackson's vocal recordings from the past four decades and retooled them, or "contemporised" them, as Reid prefers.
Timbaland, who serves as XSCAPE's lead producer, was seen by Reid as one of only a few producers who possessed the necessary "gravitas, depth and range" to "creatively engage" with Jackson's work.
“Modern music and artistry would look and sound completely different if not for the groundbreaking contributions Michael Jackson gifted to the world,” remarked L.A. Reid. “Michael left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with. We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world.”
And why the title XSCAPE? Well, as per the presser, MJ was apparently fond of always choosing a song from the album to name his projects and, beginning with 'Thriller', used only one word titles. 'XSCAPE' is also the one track on the record which was reworked by the producer who originally worked on it with Jackson, Rodney Jerkins.
Michael Jackson died on June 25th 2009 of cardiac arrest. XSCAPE will be his first posthumous release and his first collection of studio recordings since 2001's Invincible.