Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
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Like the self-proclaimed "Spiderman" who climbed Chicago's Sears Tower with no harness, Sufjan Stevens scales dusty prairies, steel factories, and two hundred years of history in the second installment of his '50 State Project', Illinois, a 22-track athematic tone poem to The Prairie State.
An engrossing musical road trip, Illinois takes listeners through ghost towns, grain mills, hospital rooms, and the City of Broad Shoulders, with guest appearances by a poet, a president, a serial murderer, UFOs, Superman, the goat that cursed the Cubs, and Decatur's famous Chickenmobile.
Sufjan weaves variegated musical styles (jazz, funk, pop, and folk) and the textures of 25 instruments into a tapestry of persons and places famous, infamous, iconic and anonymous. Invoking the muse of poet Carl Sandburg, Illinois ushers in trumpets on parade, string quartets, female choruses and ambient piano scales arranged around Stevens' emerging falsetto.
Fans of this album should check out 'The Avalanche', which is an album of unreleased music that was intended for Illinois but was left unreleased.
Heavyweight double vinyl produced by Asthmatic Kitty Records in 2005. Gatefold sleeve.