September 13th, 2023 , by John Beeler
“Will Anybody Ever Love Me?” is the second single from Sufjan’s upcoming Javelin (available on October 6th) and it’s now available for listening here.
Accompanying the song is a kaleidoscopic video produced and animated by Stephen Halker, long-time collaborator with Sufjan. Stephen’s video takes us on a journey through various digital landscapes, each one featuring artwork from the album and the 48-page art booklet designed by Sufjan that we are including with each CD and LP.
On making the video, Stephen said, “This piece serves as an exploration into the intricate landscapes of the human psyche, akin to an open invitation to wander through the vast emotional domains of the mind. It illustrates the journey from surface-level facades to the profound yearnings, vulnerabilities, and fixations that reside within the human heart.”
As with each track on Javelin, Sujfan self-produced “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?,” playing nearly every instrument. The song also includes additional vocals from adrienne maree brown, Hannah Cohen, and Megan Lui.
The singers shared thoughts on working with Sufjan on the song:
“The first time I sang the song I started crying, I was so moved by the honesty of the questions. Sufjan is an impossibly brave and gifted writer.” – adrienne maree brown
“Being in the studio with Sufjan is like watching an alchemist at work. He creates a new realm, building our voices from a gentle choir, then morphing us into sirens raging from the sea.” – Hannah Cohen
“Will Anybody Ever Love Me felt like a glimpse into Sufjan’s past records but spins into an epic collage of voices and instruments. His vision of melody and composition are astonishing and working with him and Hannah in the room was pure joy.” – Megan Lui
You can hear the Javelin early at one of the Global Listening Events on September 19th and October 3rd, and, good news, we just added a few more cities to that list including:
September 7th, 2023 , by John Beeler
Hear the album early!Read the Rest...
August 14th, 2023 , by John Beeler
We are proud to announce a new album from Sufjan, Javelin, on October 6th. The first single, “So You Are Tired,” is available for listening now, alongside a lyric video.
Javelin marks Sufjan’s first solo album of songs since The Ascension, and his first in full singer-songwriter mode since Carrie & Lowell. At times, Javelin has the feel of a big team album production — but it is decidedly not: almost every sound here is the result of Sufjan writing and recording at home, building by himself what sometimes feels like a testament to ‘70s Los Angeles studio opulence. The contributions come from a close circle of friends – adrienne maree brown, Hannah Cohen, Pauline Delassus, Megan Lui and Nedelle Torrisi – who provide harmonies on many songs, and Bryce Dessner, who plays acoustic and electric guitar on “Shit Talk.”
To celebrate the release, we’re issuing a special AKR Seaweed Ocean Blast edition. All CD and LP editions include a 48-page book of art and essays all created by Sufjan, including a series of collages, cut-up catalog fantasies, puff-paint word clouds, and color fields.
Pre-orders are up here for Javelin t-shirt, sweatshirt and tote.
July 12th, 2023 , by John Beeler
Also available in black vinyl.Read the Rest...
July 5th, 2023 , by John Beeler
We’re releasing a special Year of the Rabbit Edition of Sufjan’s Enjoy Your Rabbit!
In 2001, we released the album on CD, then released a vinyl pressing in 2014. The album’s fourteen songs (one for each sign of the Chinese Zodiac, plus two for good luck, ie. “Year of the Asthmatic Cat” – that’s us!) are distinctly Sufjan. Sufjan may be better known as a singer-songwriter and folk artist, but Enjoy Your Rabbit demonstrates that Sufjan has never obeyed the laws of genre; many of the electronic riffs on this record tease hooks that appear later on Michigan, Illinois, Age of Adz, and The Ascension.
Enjoy Your Rabbit has lived its own long and prosperous life. The Osso String Quartet’s Run Rabbit Run album recreated the album in arrangements for live, acoustic chamber ensemble. And choreographer Justin Peck has collaborated with Sufjan over half a dozen times, including the recently debuted Illinois production at the Fisher Center at Bard, but Justin’s first collaboration with Sufjan was to choreograph the songs on Enjoy Your Rabbit for Year of the Rabbit, which premiered at the New York City Ballet in 2012.
It’s now 2023, a year of the rabbit, one predicted to be full of harmony, longevity, and prosperity – making it a perfect time for a Year of the Rabbit Special Edition vinyl of this double LP. Since Sufjan was born under the rabbit, we wanted to wait until his birthday to unveil this for his fans.
This 2xLP is pressed in a calming deep blue vinyl, punctuated by a subtle rabbit-fur cloudy white. We hope it brings you harmony and good fortune.You can pre-order the Year of the Rabbit special edition of the 2xLP here (ships August 1st).
June 30th, 2023 , by John Beeler
Today, Angelo shares Toil and Trouble, his first solo effort since 2019’s breakthrough third album, the Thomas Bartlett-produced Tomb, and his follow-up to 2021’s critically acclaimed collaboration with Sufjan, A Beginner’s Mind.
Mojo has already reviewed the new album, saying that Angelo “ups his game . . . Augustine’s fourth is celestially good.” The album also received an 8/10 from Uncut, and NPR’s Bob Boilen said that “Another Universe,” the first track released from the album, was a “breathtaking song.”
Listen to the full album on streaming platforms here.
Check with your local record store to pick up an indie gold exclusive color, or you can buy a cauldron-fire colored vinyl, and a bundle including a Toil and Trouble themed T-shirt, Angelo’s 2019 Tomb on vinyl that includes a randomized set of three Toil and Trouble themed collector cards here (sample of the cards below).
June 13th, 2023 , by John Beeler
On the single, Angelo says “As we all know, we are living in a world within another. A place of specific curation and design where the mind is the chief architect in command. I often wonder who the mind is working for? Who is behind the curtain pulling the strings and transmitting the messages?”
Accompanying the song is a stop-motion animated video by Clara Murray that incorporates Daniel’s cauldron. “’Toil and Trouble’ takes place in a dusty room alight with magic, tucked away but teeming with magic. Flying pop-up books and a singing cauldron give birth to mystical creatures, tapped into a sorcery seemingly both wicked and holy,” says Clara. You can hear the song and watch the video here.
Check with your local record store to pre-order an indie gold exclusive color, or you can buy a cauldron-fire colored vinyl, and a bundle including a Toil and Trouble themed T-shirt, Angelo’s 2019 Tomb on vinyl. Both the bundle and LP include a randomized set of three Toil and Trouble themed collector cards. The bundle is available here.
Special 20th anniversary vinyl editions of Sufjan’s Michigan album out now: second pressing arriving in fall
June 9th, 2023 , by John Beeler
AKR has partnered with Third Man Pressing in Detroit to release three special editions.Read the Rest...
May 24th, 2023 , by John Beeler
Today Angelo De Augustine released “The Ballad of Betty and Barney Hill,” the second single from his upcoming new album, Toil and Trouble. The song is based on the Betty and Barney Hill incident, a UFO sighting in New Hampshire that occurred in 1961 in which the Hills, with their dog, Delsey, claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials.
Accompanying the song is a stop-animated video by Clara Murray.
You can hear the song and watch the video here. Check with your local record store to pre-order an indie gold exclusive color, or you can buy a cauldron-fire colored vinyl, and a bundle including a Toil and Trouble themed T-shirt, Angelo’s 2019 Tomb on vinyl. Both the bundle and LP include a randomized set of three Toil and Trouble themed collector cards. The bundle is available here.
In reference to “The Ballad of Betty and Barney Hill,” Angelo says that “while making the album I endured an experience so horrendous, torturous, and inexplicable that words fail me and explanation seems impossible. Within this period, I felt a close connection to Betty and Barney Hill and their story. I even started to believe that perhaps I had been abducted by some kind intergalactic being as they claimed occurred to them fifty-four years ago. When we experience something that doesn’t make logical sense, the mind looks to conjure any explanation no matter how outlandish it appears. We appear to crave understanding. Perhaps it makes us feel safe. The looming presence of the unknown is daunting and sometimes frightening. However, there is much we do not yet understand, some of which we will never comprehend.”
Clara Murray, who animated the video, talked about the abduction itself, “As with any alien abduction story, the case of Betty and Barney Hill left me unsettled, curious, doubtful. I wanted to capture that faltering feeling through repetitive, abstract events—as if the car is moving through time and space until time and space itself degrades around them—the characters, stuck in a loop, ultimately ending up in the same place they began. The setting is eerie, shifting, dreamlike and yet the invasion is corporeal—a haunting within flesh—as described by Barney Hill, ‘Oh those eyes. They’re there in my brain.’”
May 19th, 2023 , by John Beeler
Today we are proud to release Reflections, the studio recording of Sufjan’s’ score for the ballet of the same name by choreographer Justin Peck, performed by pianists Conor Hanick and Timo Andres. To celebrate this release, we commissioned long-time Sufjan collaborator Stephen Halker to create a series of audio visualizations that animate the artwork from the album by Jessica Slaven, timed to the music.
Talking about the visualizations, Stephen said, “The motion design was dictated by the forms of Slaven’s artwork and the sonic characteristics of each piece. The visuals and compositions are so dynamic that the motion design was just an act of introducing the two forms to each other and watching them interact and mirror themselves.”
Timo and Conor, who performed the pieces, have also commented on the motion present on Reflections. Says Timo: “The music has an innate theatricality, drama, and variety that seems to suggest movement—not in a toe-tapping, groove-oriented way, but instead something both grander and quirkier. It was a pleasure to work with Sufjan to find the right interpretive balance of showmanship and intimacy in this music, and I was lucky to be joined in the process by the great Conor Hanick, whose playing I’ve known and admired for years.”
Hanick agreed: “Reflections – for all its kaleidoscopic virtuosity and stylistic variety – is a piece about movement. You can practically see its shapes and vectors form in real-time, gliding, tumbling, floating. Even in a body of work defined by boldness and contrast, Sufjan’s music in Reflections feels daring.”
Orders for the album on aquamarine-colored 45RPM LP, CD, are available now wherever you buy records, or via AKR here and on Bandcamp. The AKR Store and Bandcamp also include a bundle for sale that includes the expanded edition of The Decalogue with a photo-booklet.