Leave it to Sufjan Stevens to return with a bang! After being out of the limelight for several months, the Detroit native has announced a two new releases — click here for the first, we’ll tell you about the second in a moment — and two festival appearances — Pop Montreal and ATP New York — in just two weeks!
A couple years ago, Stevens was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway by writing a symphony about it. The result was a “symphonic and cinematic exploration” known as The BQE and was premiered, complete with an original film shot by Stevens, a 36-piece orchestra and hula hoopers, on three consecutive nights from November 13, 2007.
Two years later, Stevens is finally ready to release The BQE for all to enjoy… and be overwhelmed. Included on the album, which will be officially unveiled on October 20th via Asthmatic Kitty, are the following items:
- A self-made home-movie (shot by Reuben Kleiner on a 1960s Bolex), “exhibiting how all the architectural colors of Brooklyn and Queens are fabulously intersected by this ramshackle artery of highway traffic.”
- A “idiosyncratic” musical soundtrack composed by Stevens for band and chamber orchestra.
- A 40-page comic book written by Stevens and longtime friend and collaborator Stephen Halker, “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.” I kid you not.
- A stereoscopic Viewmaster® reel and with seven 3-D images — also created by Stephen Halke — that are meant to accompany the seven movements of The BQE.
There’s probably more, but that’s all I can make out from the lengthy press release…
The BQE will be available as both a double-disc format. A limited edition vinyl will also be sold. And yes, kids, the comic book will be sold separately… just in case you need another!
Now, take a breath.
The BQE Tracklist:
01. Prelude on the Esplanade (2:56)
02. Introductory Fanfare for the Hooper Heroes (1:07)
03. Movement IIn the Countenance of Kings (5:19)
04. Movement IISleeping Invader (4:34)
05. Interlude IDream Sequence in Subi Circumnavigation (3:33)
06. Movement IIILinear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise (4:09)
07. Movement IVTraffic Shock (3:24)
08. Movement VSelf-Organizing Emergent Patterns (3:45)
09. Interlude IISubi Power Waltz (0:28)
10. Interlude IIIInvisible Accidents (0:54)
11. Movement VIIsorhythmic Night Dance with Interchanges (3:17)
12. Movement VII (Finale)The Emperor of Centrifuge (3:51)
13. PostludeCritical Mass (2:59)