Michael Jackson Xscape Album Due Out In May

A new Michael Jackson album is to be released in May featuring eight original tracks which have never been heard before.

Xscape was executive-produced by Epic Records' chief executive LA Reid, who was granted access to the King of Pop's archives and estate which contained four decades' worth of material.

He used tracks where the vocals had been completed and set about what he calls "contemporising" them with lead producer Timbaland.

Sky News Arts and Entertainment Correspondent Richard Suchet was invited to hear the first play of the album anywhere in the world.

He said: "These eight tracks seem to post-date Michael Jackson - they sound more like modern day remixes.

"These recordings had been kept back for a reason. They're not as good as the stuff we already have, but they're a wonderful reminder of Michael Jackson's incredible voice and unique talent.

"Demos and sketches of some of these songs have been doing the rounds on the internet for years, but the versions on Xscape are polished and have a modern twist."

Suchet said as many as 200 recorded or partly-recorded songs by Jackson are thought to exist and could surface in the coming years.

In a statement, executive producer LA Reid said: "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 honoured to present this music to the world."

Additional work on the album was carried out by Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome "Jroc" Harmon and John McClain.

The title track was written by Jackson and Jerkins.

A deluxe edition of the album will be available which will include all the sourced recordings in their original form.

Xscape will be released on May 13, with iTunes pre-orders available from April 1.

Jackson, 50, died on June 25, 2009, from a cardiac arrest.