Christmas Infinity Voyage

sufjan-fireworks

I’m surprised I’ve been able to restrain myself and not write more about Sufjan Stevens on this blog. This whole damn thing could be about Sufjan, ask my roommates or family, I never shut up about him! It would probably be a hybrid of Between Hipsters and God There is Sufjan Stevens, an RSS feed of his Tumblr, and Google Maps screenshots of his apartment in Brooklyn.  Kidding! I don’t know what his address is… or else I would have made a shrine to him outside of it (maybe a bust of him made out of bubblegum a la Helga Pataki).

ANYWAY, in November he released Silver & Gold, a five-disc collection of Christmas music recorded from 2007-2011. This release follows Songs for Christmas (recorded 2001-2006), so we have a full decade of Sufjan Christmases, folks! Unlike his first collection of Songs for Christmas, the latter half of the aughts got a  bit, uh, kooky for Mr. Stevens. He veered in the futuristic, chaotic direction featured in 2010’s The Age of Adz. it’s interesting to listen to his work and hear how his sound has dramatically evolved, from banjo and flute to drum machines and auto-tune (seriously).

One of my favorite discs from Silver & Gold was Christmas Infinity Voyage (2008), which shows the experimental, electronic direction he was heading in Adz.  “Do You Hear What I Hear?” exemplifies Stevens’ skills in refurbishing seemingly soul-less Musak tracks, turning the choral bore into an metallic, psychedelic 9 minutes of near-insanity.

One respite from the madness is “Christmas in the Room,” which features that beautiful/sad hybrid that Mr. Stevens has crafted so masterfully (see “Casimir Pulaski Day,” “To Be Alone with You,” “John Wayne Gacy”). The video contrasts with the acoustic sound through a set of vibrant abstract images set against darkness, keeping in line with the spirit of Christmas Infinity Voyage‘s futuristic feel.

I visited my family in Portland for Christmas, and as our tradition of the last few years, we had a Sufjan-themed Xmas, dancing around to Infinity Voyage and his just-released Chopped & Scrooged rap mixtape (yes, that exists). While playing around with lights I noticed the delightful blurring effects against the Portland skyline, and forced my family to go onto the freezing sixteenth floor balcony for a midnight celestial photo shoot. (There was champagne involved, it wasn’t THAT bad.)

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‘You must be a Christmas tree – you light up the room.’

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Swoop!

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Christmas Chaos!

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We had a good time playing around and seeing the unexpected results from the light patterns… hopefully we captured a bit of Sufjan’s seemingly unending exuberance.

If you care to listen to more of Sufjan’s ** HOLIDAY MAGIC ** (even though, uh, it’s January), it’s all available to listen to on his website for free. He released it on the public domain for your listening pleasure because he is just that kind of guy. SUFJ YOU’RE KILLIN’ ME!

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photographic dabblings: look at the street

Objects (and people, and things) found on the streets of San Francisco and Berkeley; spontaneous moments of whimsy and intrigue. A song for each picture to capture the mood.

“Beware.” Woolsey Street, Berkeley, April 2012.  Musical Accompaniment: “What Do You Expect,” El Perro Del Mar. 

“Sprouting.”  Arguello Street, February 2012.  Musical Accompaniment: “Phone Call,” Jon Brion.

“Sorta Like a Dream (Isn’t It?)” Great Highway, January 2012.
Musical Accompaniment: “Collapsing at your Doorstep,” Air France. 


playlist 7.12.11. psychedelic garage

YACHT dystopia (daughter version)- shangri-la

TUNE-YARDS gangsta- whokill

RATATAT neckbrace- lp4

GANG GANG DANCE mindkilla- eye contact

FRIENDLY FIRES live those nights tonight- pala

HORRORS sea within a sea- primary colors

GREENHORNES saying goodbye- s/t

WHITE STRIPES dead leaves and the dirty ground- white blood cells

KAREN ELSON  the ghost who walks- the ghost who walks

THE BLACK BELLES  what can i do?- s/t

THE BLACK KEYS have love will travel- the moan

TY SEGALL my sunshine- melted

THE RACONTEURS steady as she goes

BLACK LIPS bone marrow- arabia mountain

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE plastic fantastic lover- surrealistic pillow

MMJ  victory dance- circuital

THE CHARLATANS we’re not on the same trip

DEERHUNTER revival- halcyon digest

BLACK KEYS howlin for you- brothers

CAPTAIN BEEFHART AND THE MAGIC BAND too much time

DAVID BOWIE five years- ziggy stardust

CAN spoon

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW gold splatter- eating us

BROADCAST AND THE FOCUS GROUP oh you chatterbox- investigate witch cults of the radio age

THE SEA AND THE CAKE four corners- one bedroom

VELVET UNDERGROUND oh! sweet nothin- loaded

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH rock and soul music- together

CONGRATS kiyo and andrea on winnin tickets to david bazan (pedro the lion)/ rocky votolato at the independent!