Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine are releasing a collaborative album loosely based on movies they watched

Sufjan Stevens loves a good concept album, but a film-inspired album is a new take for him

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine
Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine
Illustration: Daniel Anum Jasper

Sufjan Stevens has been having a very busy year. Back in May, he released instrumental album Convocations, that’s over two hours long. It was emotionally charged, with Stevens processing his father’s death by making five records in one—each representing one of the five stages of grief. But it looks like Stevens’ next release of the year will be a bit more lighthearted. Stevens and Angelo De Augustine are releasing a collaborative album, A Beginner’s Mind, on September 24 via Asthmatic Kitty.

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Stevens loves a good theme, so yes, this is also a concept album of sorts. According to the press release, De Augustine and Stevens stayed at a friend’s cabin for a month in upstate New York to write, and they would unwind every day by watching a movie together. They realized that there was a connection between their songwriting and the movies they were watching, so they embraced that. They created a record that’s loosely based on the films they watched. There’s no mention of the exact movies they were inspired by, but there’s something funny about Stevens and De Augustine crafting these deep, philosophical songs about movies that could be blockbusters. And while the tracklist hints at what movies they wrote about, most of the song titles are extremely vague. “Fictional California”? “Murder And Crime”? “Lost In The World”? We’re hoping at least one of these is about the Fast And The Furious franchise.

The Asthmatic Kitty labelmates also took an unorthodox approach to writing this record. According to a press release, they “wrote in tandem—one person writing a verse, the other a chorus, churning out chord progressions and lyrics willy-nilly, often finishing each other’s sentences in the process.” Stevens and De Augustine shared two songs off their upcoming record to accompany the news: “Reach Out” (inspired by Wings Of Desire) and “Olympus” (based on Clash Of The Titans). The former has an official music video featuring Stevens and De Augustine’s very cute dogs, even though Wings Of Desire has nothing to do with furry companions, so they’re taking inspiration from these movies very loosely.

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine, A Beginner’s Mind Tracklist:

1. Reach Out

2. Lady Macbeth In Chains

3. Back To Oz

4. The Pillar Of Souls

5. You Give Death A Bad Name

6. Beginner’s Mind

7. Olympus

8. Murder And Crime

9. (This Is) The Thing

10. It’s Your Own Body And Mind

11. Lost In The World

12. Fictional California

13. Cimmerian Shade

14. Lacrimae