In a matter of speaking I am dead

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell Live Forever

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Beard Radio listens to Sufjan Stevens’ new album Carrie & Lowell (Released 31 March 2015) and a few classic songs from earlier albums.

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell Live Forever

Performed by: Sufjan Stevens, Casey Foubert, Laura Veirs, Nedelle Torrisi, Sean Carey, Ben Lester, and Thomas Bartlett, this album is both soft and hard. Soft in tone and hard to grasp. Brittle and vulnerable as Stevens’ voice comes across, there is an austere strength in the clarity of his quiescence. The album is balanced by a musical low-key and reserved presentation in contrast to its potentially heavy themes–death, family, mistakes of the past. Yet a deeper listen hears the overwhelming tension which lay in the quiet moments where strings vibrate like whispered voices in the dark. There are many of them. The musicianship is exquisite, Billy Corgan in its perfection, yet not pompous and ego-driven at all, as if the tremolo quaver in the keys refer to, and even invite in, some kind of cosmically shared experience. Perhaps it is the melding of voices adept at delving into and out of the common bond of revealing human emotion through song, and hopefully dance and celebration, if only in some eventual future. While there is progression and a kind of climaxing forward, or perhaps upward like a straining head toward some kind of difference in the light, there is stasis as one turns to reconnoiter the past as well. More bluntly sad and coldly beautiful than wistful and sentimental, this album takes intention on the part of the music makers and requires it from the listener. Which in the end is rewarding enough to push play yet again.

More bluntly sad and coldly beautiful than wistful and sentimental, this album takes intention on the part of the music makers and requires it from the listener. Click To Tweet

When I am dead
Come visit my bed
My fossil is bright in the sun

Recorded variously at:

Flora, Portland, Oregon (engineered by Tucker Martine)
Black Watch, Norman, Oklahoma (engineered by Chad Copelin and Jarod Evans)
April Base, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (engineered by Brian Joseph)
Pat Dillet’s studio somewhere midtown Manhattan
And at Sufjan’s office in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Some tracks were also recorded on an iPhone in a hotel room in Klamath Falls, Oregon

Mixed by Sufjan Stevens, Thomas Bartlett, and Pat Dillet