Sufjan Stevens has done it again. He has re-created an album of those that sneak into the body until it is removed in a kind of magical whirlwind. It is true that this time he is not alone. Stevens has teamed up with Angelo De Augustine, an expert in fragile lo-fi folk environments, to compose A Beginner’s Mind, but it is undoubted that his label marks from start to finish a work called to be one of the great albums of the year.
A Beginner’s Mind sounds so deep that it’s hard to get out of it once you listen to it. There is something powerfully well mapped out in this work that catches getting tangled in the spirit during its idyllic journey. A journey that began with an already special starting point: Stevens and De Augustine decided to take refuge in a cabin in the woods to carry it out. They went to upstate New York and watched movies before writing. Some of these films were cult films, with death and murder as the common thread, such as The Silence of the Lambs, Point Break or Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Under the Zen Buddhist concept shoshin (beginner’s mind), without preconceived ideas and with enthusiasm for the amazement of what their eyes and ears perceived, they composed songs that They sought to be like a redemption towards the contrast of the images.
The result They have been songs of maximum delicacy, linked in a bucolic, slightly psychedelic atmosphere, which at times recalls the best Elliott Smith, but which has the stamp of an excellent alliance. Somehow, the well-balanced ensemble with such a defined soul is reminiscent of Carrie & Lowell , the last great album by Stevens, one of the most interesting composers to have produced. XXI century in American music. Outside of the orchestrations or electronic forays of previous works, highlighting his outstanding Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State, Ilinois or The Age of Adz , he turns to the acoustic instruments and the hypnotic whisper. A conscientious simplicity made with four hands. They blend voices, take turns in choruses, gently strum the strings and ensure that the harmony keeps a timid, suggestive reverberation.
Ethereal beauty, which requires a listener willing to let go. When Sufjan Stevens finds his best inspiration, it is as if the listener could believe in unicorns. The world it transports us to is pure creative imagination.