Sufjan Stevens: Silver & Gold
Who can save us from the infidels of Christmas commodity? Look no further, tired shopper, for your hero arrives as the diligent songwriter Sufjan Stevens, army of one, banjo in one hand, drum machine in the other, holed up in his room, surrounded by hymnals, oratorios, music charts, sacred harp books, paper-clipped-photo-copied Readers Digest Christmas catalogs—singing his barbaric yawp above the snow-capped rooftops.
His song is love; his song is hope; his song is peace, conjuring the fruitcake world of his own imagination with steadfast affection for the unattainable bliss of Christmas Promises -- summoning the company of angels, the helper elves, the shepherds keeping flock, the coupon-clippers, the marathon runners, the grocery store baggers, the bridge and tunnel drivers, the construction workers,the street sweepers, the single mothers, the rich and the poor, the walking dead, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit, the Prince of Persia, and all the invisible hosts of heaven to participate in this absurd cosmic adventure, pursuing holly-jolly songs of hope and redemption with a sacred heart for the enduring love for the holiness of Christmas, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Sufjan Stevens: All Delighted People EP
The EP, All Delighted People, is built around two different versions of Sufjan’s long-form epic ballad "All Delighted People," a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s "Sounds of Silence." The song was originally workshopped on Sufjan’s previous tour in the fall of 2009. Other songs on the EP include the 17-minute guitar jam-for-single-mothers "Djohariah," and the gothic piano ballad "The Owl and the Tanager," a live-show mainstay.
Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz
The Age of Adz (pronounced Odds) is Sufjan Stevens’ first full-length collection of original songs since 2005’s conceptual pop opus Illinois. This new album is probably his most unusual, first, for its lack of conceptual underpinnings, and second, for its extensive use of electronics. The album almost entirely eschews the songwriter’s former tools of the trade: namely, acoustic instruments that accompany an expansive narrative scope. While the sounds on this record are distinctly “artificial” (drums machines and analog synthesizers reign supreme), the proclamations of the songs are unabashedly visceral, sung loudly, with a backdrop of insistent orchestration. The result is an album that is perhaps more vibrant, more primary, and more explicit than anything Sufjan has done before, incorporating themes that are neither historical nor civic, but rather personal and primal (if even a little juvenile). Love, sex, death, disease, illness, anxiety, and suicide make appearances in an aggressive (and sometimes danceable) tapestry of electronic pop, conveyed with the urgency, immediacy, and anxiety of primary colors.
Sufjan Stevens and Stephen Halker: Super Teenage Hooper Heroes
Sufjan Stevens' The BQE further extends its mythology by anthropomorphizing the expressway and its theoretical conceits into a 40-page comic book (cover by Matt Loux, masthead by Christian Acker), in which three extra-terrestrial superhero sisters (Botanica, Quantus, and Electress) use hula-hoops to combat the "the Messiah of Civic Projects," Captain Moses, and his totalitarian social architecture. The comic book., written by Stevens and gorgeously drawn, colored, and inked by longtime friend and collaborator Stephen Halker, visualizes in graphic form many of the political motifs of the movie and soundtrack: mid-century urban theory, modernism, post-modernism hoop dynamics, and the spiritual practice of Subud
Sufjan Stevens: The BQE
Sufjan Stevens is proud to present The BQE, a cinematic suite inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Hula-Hoop. Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The BQE was originally performed in the Howard Gilman Opera House in celebration of the 25th anniversary Next Wave Festival in October of 2007. The BQE is available as a double-disc format (CD/DVD), which includes the original 16mm/8mm film (in widescreen "triptych" display), the original motion picture soundtrack, a 40-page booklet (with extensive liner notes and photographs), and the stereoscopic image reel (playable in all View-Master® viewers). The limited edition vinyl is available as a double gatefold and includes the soundtrack on 180-gram vinyl, a large-scale 32-page booklet with liner notes and photographs, and a black-and-white version of the 40-page Hooper Heroes comic book.
Sufjan Stevens / Osso: Run Rabbit Run
In 2001, Sufjan Stevens followed up his debut album, A Sun Came, with Enjoy Your Rabbit, a series of fourteen instrumentals programmatically inspired by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Much later, in 2006, Bryce Dessner (The National, Dark Was the Night compilation, Clogs) suggested that Sufjan re-arrange the entirety of Enjoy Your Rabbit for Osso, a string quartet that had previously contributed strings to Sufjan’s Illinois and My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse. The result is Run Rabbit Run.
Sufjan Stevens: Songs For Christmas
In December 2001, Sufjan Stevens set out to create a Christmas gift for his friends and family. The result was a 7-song recording that he called, Noel, Vol. 1. Over each of the next few Christmas seasons Sufjan would create a new EP to add to the collection. As he was recording Peace : Volume V (in the summer of 2006), he considered how best to ?officially’ release this music. He said he was, “determined to present the EPs in their original form ? flaws, blemishes, mistakes and all. A compilation would have been a cumbersome compromise. A “Greatest Hits” would have been heartbreaking (How to choose?).” In addition to the music he wanted to add a ?lavish display of ornamentation’ to coincide with the spirit of excess and overindulgence that is the hallmark of Christmas. Enclosed in the box you will find essays, a short story, song chords & lyrics, photos, stickers, a family portrait, and wishes for a Happy Christmas.
Sufjan Stevens: The Avalanche
The little secret behind Sufjan Steven’s acclaimed Illinois is that it was originally conceived as a double album, culminating in a musical collage of nearly 50 songs. But as the project began to develop into an unwieldy epic, common sense weighed in—as did the opinions of others—and the project was cut in half. But as 2005 came to a close, Sufjan returned to the remaining songs on his 8-track. What he uncovered went beyond the merits of nostalgia. Sufjan gleaned 21 tracks from remaining material; some songs were in finished form, while others were merely outlines. Most of the material required substantial editing, new arrangements or vocals, and much of the work was done at the end of 2005 or in January the following year. As the title song “The Avalanche” bemuses, "I call you once my friends,” Sufjan took in the odd musical misfits and gathered them together like a party of good friends.
Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
Asthmatic Kitty announces the second installment of Sufjan Stevens' 50 State Project, llinois, a 22-track anthematic tone poem to The Prairie State. Following the 2003 collection of songs for his home state, "Michigan," Stevens presents an emphatic answer to the question: Can a songwriter express the spirit of a state he's never called home? With his most enterprising project to date - the result of extensive research, travel, meditation, and countless days and nights in the studio - admirers of his previous work and first time listeners will agree that the answer is yes.
On this second state tour, Sufjan weaves variegated musical styles (jazz, funk, pop) and instrumental textures (from oboe to church organ) into a tapestry of persons famous, infamous, and anonymous, and places iconic, obscure, and ghostly.The musical road trip takes you through ghost towns, grain mills, hospital rooms, and the City of Broad Shoulders, with guest appearances by a poet, a president, and a serial murderer, to name a few.
Sufjan Stevens: Michigan
Asthmatic Kitty and Sounds Familyre announce the vinyl edition of Sufjan Stevens’ “Michigan.” On two disks, this special edition includes alternate versions of “Vito’s Ordination song,” “Romulus,” and five out-takes not included on the original CD release. Also new to this edition is an essay on the songs by Sufjan Stevens.
Composed as a geographical tone poem, MICHIGAN follows a Metaphysical expedition through the idiosyncrasies of middle America. Drawing from personal anecdote, regional history, and state heritage, Stevens mixes social and political grievances with songs about snowmobiles, Henry Ford, the Detroit riots, and love.
Sufjan Stevens: A Sun Came (reissue)
Asthmatic Kitty announces a new edition of "A Sun Came," the 1999 debut album by Sufjan Stevens. Widely acclaimed for "Michigan" (2003), and "Seven Swans" (2004), singer/songwriter Sufjan Steven's first solo collection has been skillfully remastered, with two previously unreleased tracks and new art by Stephen Halker. Recorded on 4-track while still in college, "A Sun Came" first demonstrated Sufjan's eclectic instrumentalism- he plays over a dozen instruments here- noted production skills, and heartfelt songwriting. Though little known until listeners and reviewers discovered "Michigan" last year, "A Sun Came" foreshadows Sufjan's later work, and stands on it's own as an expression of his unique talents. A stunning blend of 60's psychedelic pop influences with middle-eastern and east Indian musical touches and a trace of experimental noise, "A Sun Came" grips the listener from the very first notes and doesn't let go until you've reached the end of Stevens' 72 minute opus.? -Opuszine
Sufjan Stevens: Enjoy Your Rabbit
Sufjan Stevens departs from the singer-songwriter persona of ?A Sun Came,?º ?Michigan,?º and ?Seven Swans,?º with fourteen instrumental compositions based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Combining his widely acclaimed gift for melody with electronic sounds, ?Enjoy Your Rabbit,?º deftly demonstrates Sufjan?s versatility with an unusually playful and engagingly human electronic experience. XLR8R enjoyed their Rabbit, calling it ??a transgressive, majestic album conjuring an academic jam session of Stereolab and Luke Vibert conducted by Steve Reich.?º
"Enjoy Your Rabbit sounds like it could be released on Mego or Soniginstead...tracks like "Year of the Ox" and "Year of the Tiger" suggest aMouse on Mars influence with their noisy squeals rubbing againstlighthearted melodies." -Grooves
Sufjan Stevens: Seven Swans
At times Sufjan stands alone on the stage singing and playing quietly with a banjo, and what you hear and see and feel is pure power. Minds and hearts are changed.
Sufjan Stevens writes songs. He also writes fiction, is a record producer, plays every instrument known to modern man, is a graphic designer, and has knitted for Martha Stewart. But Seven Swans, a brilliant follow-up to the critically acclaimed Michigan (July 2003), is a testament to Sufjan’s songwriting, first and foremost. The songs are the foundation, and Sufjan’s voice, the instruments, and his friends all dance around the songs to celebrate where they come from. Where do they come from?