With more projects and feelings than time itself, Sufjan Stevens strikes as a relatable figure.
He’s tried, in vain, to write fifty records for fifty states (striking out at two), made song suites for American turnpikes, performed his movie songs at the Oscars, written countless solo records, sung odes to the planets and also he can play the banjo. Phew. His baroque pop symphonies and heartfelt synth-pop has made him a canonical figure in the indie rock world, and his recent, solitary record Carrie & Lowell rivalled even Elliott Smith as an emo folk classic. He runs Asthmatic Kitty, too, a label dedicated to a new strand of rock whimsy. A legend, to be honest.
Stevens started out making bedroom pop formed out of in-jokes with his brother; 'A Sun Came' sounded like a record of dares, his softer, more ornate sound hidden in the rubble of whimsy. He dabbled in electronics for Enjoy Your Rabbit, a record that still beguiles now -- if he could have an odd one out, it'd be that one. Since then his records have ranged from deeply conceptual folk words and free, intutiive freakouts; this man has written "Casimir Pulaski Day", a tragically strummed ode to a friend, and "Djohariah", a seventeen minute guitar solo made in tribute to his sister. At the core of his music, then, is an ever beating heart.