Sufjan Stevens Comes Out of Hiding With Run Rabbit Run


Videos by American Songwriter

Long-waiting Sufjan Stevens fans frustrated by the artists’ lack of new material and live performances are getting some payoff for their patience, as Stevens announces both a remix album entitled Run Rabbit Run and an appearance at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York, America’s version of the perennial British music festival.

Run Rabbit Run is due out October 6 on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Stereogum reports that Stevens was approached by the National’s Bryce Dessner, about remixing 2001’s Enjoy Your Rabbit, Stevens’ electro gem composed of songs about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This new effort features rearrangements by various New York-based composers for the string quartet Osso, who previously appeared on Stevens’ Illinois album. Run Rabbit Run also offers cover art by Dessner’s sister Jessica, who talks about Steven’s aesthetic vision for the album: “Now Sufjan had brought this ornate list of what needs to be done in the drawings and we tried our best to get through it: ‘Of course, a tiger and a tortoise and a butterfly.’ ‘Yes, sure the snake could use a scorpion and some pomegranate.’ ‘Definitely water dragons would enjoy grapes.’”

Stevens’ ATP New York appearance comes as a relief to hardcore Sufjan fans, many of whom are left questioning his whereabouts thanks to his reluctance to tour and his aversion to the media. The festival, now in it’s second year in Monticello, NY, takes place September 11-13. Other acts performing at ATP NY, which will be curated by the Flaming Lips, include Animal Collective, and Iron and Wine, and Deerhoof.

Stevens is known for his unique songwriting style, his proclivity for orchestration, and his musical ambition; his stated mission is to create an album for and themed around each of the 50 states. That project began with a bang, as 2003’s Michigan and 2005’s Illinois pleased fans and critics alike. However, not much has been heard from Stevens since he released Songs for Christmas in 2006, and his states-project seems to be at a standstill for the moment.

With a new remix album and what is sure to be a thrilling live show, hopefully Sufjan will remind fans of his unique talent for innovative pop experimentation this fall.

Track list for Run Rabbit Run:
01 “Year of the Ox” (Arranged by Michael Atkinson)
02 “Enjoy Your Rabbit” (Arranged by Michael Atkinson)
03 “Year of the Monkey” (Arranged by Michael Atkinson)
04 “Year of the Tiger” (Arranged by Rob Moose)
05 “Year of the Dragon” (Arranged by Nico Muhly)
06 “Year of the Snake” (Arranged by Olivier Manchon)
07 “Year of the Horse” (Arranged by Rob Moose)
08 “Year of the Sheep” (Arranged by Maxim Moston)
09 “Year of the Rat” (Arranged by Olivier Manchon)
10 “Year of the Rooster” (Arranged by Gabriel Kahane)
11 “Year of the Dog” (Arranged by Rob Moose)
12 “Year of the Boar” (Arranged by Michael Atkinson)
13 “Year of Our Lord” (Arranged by Michael Atkinson)

– Will Bryant

One Comment

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  1. The Fifty States project is ongoing, but morphing. Unfortunately its latest installment wasn’t accessible to indie fans on the internet, but there has been work since Illinois: an orchestra piece on the BQE, New York’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, premiered in November of 2007.

    I know, that’s almost two years ago now, but still.

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