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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New Sufjan a simple delight

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    Sufjan Stevens, the musical child prodigy-turned-record label owner, released his new All Delighted People EP in August, and his full-length album, The Age of Adz, is set to release on Oct. 12. Both are wide-ranging, complex works that take creative risks, yet still remain unequivocally characteristic of the indie rocker’s unique musical perspective.

    The Age of Adz remains exceptionally folky, with what has become his typical instrumentation — the chorus, flute, layered bells — yet it contains a new sound: a vampy, complex, futuristic synth.

    A mysterious, robotic synth permeates Stevens’ otherwise calm folk world in The Age of Adz. And tracks like “”I Want to Be Well,”” over a 25-minute journey into this foreboding electronic clash with the conventional instrument panel, demonstrates Stevens’ musical finesse.

    Yet the album wavers between electronic and classic sounds, in a way that is surprisingly smooth — what seems like a disjointed melding of the electronic with traditional orchestral and choir compositions are stitched with the thread of Stevens’ smooth, highly expressive voice.

    All Delighted People, his previous album, is much different. This eight-track EP seems to function as a reminder that Stevens isn’t moving away from his widely instrumented, generally non-synth sound — employing an epic-sounding range of instruments, including chorus, horn, guitar, drums and orchestra. Simplified tracks like “”Enchanting Ghost”” — a driving, acoustic fingerpick track — remind listeners of how complexity doesn’t necessarily mean more instruments and are nice breaks from more complicated tracks like “”Arnika”” and the singular synth-laden track on All Delighted People, “”From the Mouth of Gabriel.””

    Overall, these new releases from Stevens have complicated the artist’s range of sound in a good way. And accompanying a nationwide tour — which hits Phoenix Oct. 22, at the Mesa Arts Center — fans will probably remain satisfied, even perhaps delighted, for a while.

      

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