This Friday, March 27, Sufjan Stevens and collaborator/stepfather Lowell Brams were to release Aporia, an experimental new album/project the pair had been working on for a while — but it’s here now, today, on Tuesday.
Released three days early, 50 percent of proceeds of sales of the album will benefit food-focused charities benefitting those impacted by COVID-19 (No Kid Hungry) as well as to Partners In Health, an admirable decision by Stevens and his team during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As previewed in recent months, Aporia is a bit of a trippy, mind-bending listen — exactly the sort of thing we might need during these confusing, uncertain times when society has more or less ground to a halt.
Soothing sounds, far-off melodies and an overall calming effect make Aporia one of the more intriguing listens you’ll have all year — and ranks it among one of the most interesting releases from Sufjan Stevens and his unpredictable career.
More insight on the record, via a news release:
Aporia signals a pivotal moment in Stevens and Brams’ relationship, which began in the early 1980s when Brams married Stevens’ late mother Carrie. Stevens and Brams maintained a strong relationship throughout Stevens’ adolescence and into adulthood, eventually founding Asthmatic Kitty Records together in 1999.
Stevens and Brams recorded Aporia over the course of the last several years during Brams’ visits to Stevens’ home in New York. After tracking hours upon hours of music, the pair began isolating the best moments and piecing them together into songs. “You know how it is with jamming: ninety percent of it is absolutely horrible, but if you’re just lucky enough, ten percent is magic. I just kept pulling out these little magical moments”, Stevens says. With dozens of takes to sort through, Brams’ announcement of his retirement from Asthmatic Kitty provided the impetus for Stevens and Brams to create a finished product. With the help of several frequent Asthmatic Kitty collaborators, including Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), D.M. Stith, Nick Berry (Dots Will Echo), John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud) drummer and longtime collaborator James McAlister, keyboardist and trombonist Steve Moore (Sunn O)))), guitarist Yuuki Matthews (The Shins) and vocalist Cat Martino (Stranger Cat), Stevens and Brams put the finishing touches on Aporia.