Thursday, January 29, 2009

Under Examination: Sufjan Stevens

4AD/Red Hot's Dark Was the Night seems like an incredible compilation. I haven't gotten it yet, but every track that's been released thus far has been absolutely incredible. Ben Gibbard/Feist, Dirty Projectors/David Byrne, Grizzly Bear/Feist, and today the Myspace is streaming Sufjan -- those very well-connected Dessner twins from the National certainly know how to curate a successful charity comp.

Quite simply, "You Are the Blood" is refreshing as well as exhilerating. I've loved Sufjan since I got ...Illinoise in 2005 and delved into his back catalog. With this track, he marks a very radical departure from his typically "pretty" sound, a stylistic shift first hinted at on The Avalanche's "Springfield, or, Bobby got a shadfly caught in his hair". An electronic beat, synthesizer, a noisy guitar breakdown in the middle, a grandiose horn arrangement, and acrobatic backing vocals (presumably from Shara Worden) all converge to make one of Steven's most adventurous tracks yet. After the noise freakout at seven minutes in, a virtuosic piano solo begins. I'm unsure who's playing, but if it is Steven's, I had no idea he could play (or even write) so well.

You need to get this track, now. As noted, it's currently streaming (today only!) on the Dark Was the Night Myspace. Also, an mp3 of the track is incredibly easy to find with a simple google search. If this is indicative of Stevens' current direction, I'm eagerly anticipating more work.


Mike said...

Do you have the The National track off of that one? It references Pavement; I dig it.

Lukas said...

no, I haven't gotten it yet... I think I'll actually buy this comp when it comes out. maybe. It's something that I might actually feel guilty about downloading, ha.