Sufjan’s latest experiment

Sufjan Stevens
Ever since releasing his masterpiece Illinois in 2005, Sufjan Stevens has been attempting to distance himself from his signature baroque folk sound. From the robotic electro ballads of Songs for Christmas Vol. VIII to the mangled, glitchy epic “You Are the Blood” (released on the charity compilation Dark Was the Night), the singer-songwriter refuses to cave to popular demand and record new material along the lines of “Chicago” or “Casimir Pulaski Day.”

This October, Sufjan will be continuing the trend with two new symphonic instrumental albums: The BQE is a orchestral ode to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, while Run Rabbit Run is a reworking of his 2001 disc Enjoy Your Rabbit, arranged by a collection of New York composers.

The most recent in Stevens’s outlandish stylistic forays is “There’s Too Much Love,” an electro-epic performed at a recent gig in Ithaca, New York. With a bouncy hip-hop beat, tricky rhythmic hiccups and glorious bubblegum chorus, it bears a vague similarity to Dirty Projectors‘ latest, Bitte Orca. Halfway through, it descends into a tuneless noise rock cacophony that gradually transforms into squiggly free jazz with dueling trombone and trumpet solos. The weirdness feels a little forced, but the radio-friendly dance pop of the first half is perhaps the most natural-sounding of any of Stevens’s recent endeavors.

The only recording currently available is a fan-shot video, although it’s a surprisingly high quality clip: the sound is clear, and the camera is steady.

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