The Greatest Gift is a mixtape of outtakes, remixes and demos from Sufjan's 2015 album Carrie & Lowell. Already on vinyl and digital, the mixtape arrives on CD format on November 16.
This collection serves as a companion piece to the Carrie & Lowell Live album released earlier this year (and as an expansion to the original album). In the same way the live show featured re-interpretations of the songs from Carrie & Lowell, the mixtape unveils new remixes by several longstanding collaborators including Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), and James McAlister (aka 900X). The album also features Sufjan's own remix of "Drawn to the Blood." The mixtape includes a few alternate and/or demo versions of songs from the original album. The digital release also contains an iPhone demo of the song "Carrie & Lowell." The mixtape features four previously unreleased new songs, "official" outtakes from Carrie & Lowell (they were recorded at the same time as the album). These include "Wallowa Lake Monster," "The Hidden River of My Life," "City of Roses," and "The Greatest Gift." This new material, in its investigation of love, life, death, God, and the beautiful state of Oregon, serves as a contemplative companion to the original album. We hope you enjoy.
For over a decade, and almost every Christmas, Sufjan Stevens recorded a Christmas album that he gifted to friends and family. The recording process took place every December, for one week, usually at home, provoking collaborations with friends, roommates, and musical peers. In 2006, Stevens' label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, released Songs for Christmas, a CD boxset compiling the first five of these albums, Volumes I-V. And in 2012, the label released Silver & Gold, a CD and vinyl boxset compiling of Volumes VI-X. But the first five volumes have never been released to vinyl.
This holiday season, Asthmatic Kitty Records is finally releasing Songs for Christmas: Volumes I-V as a 5xLP vinyl boxset. The boxset arrives November 2, 2018 and includes fan favorites like "Sister Winter," "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever," "Only At Christmas Time," and "Put The Lights on the Tree."
This 10th anniversary edition of Sufjan Stevens 2005 Illinois replaces balloons (which themselves replaced Superman in 2005) with rising comic book Chicago-born superhero Blue Marvel. The special colored edition includes "Antimatter Blue" and "Cape White" colored vinyl. Pressing is limited to 10,000 worldwide.
Carrie & Lowell sounds like memory: it spans decades yet does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Stevens's gauzy double-tracked vocals wash across the dashboard of long-finned, drop-top Americana, yet as we race towards the coast we are reminded that sunshine leads to shadow, for this is a landscape of terminal roads, unsteady bridges, traumatic video stores, and unhappy beds that provide the scenery for tales of jackknifed cars, funerals, and forgiveness for the dead. Each track in this collection of eleven songs begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. Sufjan recounts the indignities of our world, of technological distraction and sad sex, of an age without neither myths nor miracle - and this time around, his voice carries the burden of wisdom. Carrie & Lowell accomplishes the rare thing that any art should achieve, particularly in these noisy and fragmented days: By seeking to understand, Sufjan makes us feel less alone.
Originally released in 2001 before Michigan and Illinois, Sufjan Steven's Enjoy Your Rabbit foretells his 2010 electronic Age of Adz. Though overlooked by many, there are fans who regard Enjoy Your Rabbit as Sufjan's greatest work.
Departing from the singer-songwriter format of his debut Asthmatic Kitty Records album, A Sun Came, Rabbit is a collection of fourteen colorful instrumental compositions combining Sufjan's noted gift for melody with electronic sounds to create an unusually playful and human - not to mention humane - electronic experience. Great for dancing, driving, writing, cooking, painting, running, walking, and of course, eating Chinese food, Rabbit features nearly eighty minutes of music that will truly soothe the savage breast, whatever that means.
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.
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.
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 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-MasterÂ® 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.
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.
When I met Sufjan some time back, he was co-organizing an arts event that we were performing at in New York called “Christ A Go-Go.” The picture I have in my mind from that time is of Sufjan always being somewhere else in the room. “There’s Sufjan over there, you have to meet him and hear his music—he’s great,” his proud friend Melissa boasted. When I finally met Sufjan, he seemed reserved and he didn’t really want to talk about his music.I don’t remember what happened after that, but now Sufjan is a very good friend to my family and me. For about a year my two-year-old daughter wanted to marry “uncle Suf.” Some people leave New York City for the weekend and go to the Hamptons; Sufjan takes a bus down to Clarksboro, NJ and we love to have him every time. Sufjan and I have been playing shows together. I have asked him to dress up in silly outfits and fill various roles in Danielson Famile shows, and he has been so gracious and helpful. But even more importantly, many times Sufjan has opened up the eveningsharing his own songs on borrowed banjos and guitars. I love to watch people hear and see Sufjan perform his songs. 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” 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? I am honored to know Sufjan and to be presenting his new album “Seven Swans.” Enjoy.
Daniel Smith, Clarksboro 2004
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.
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.
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