September 23rd, 2021 , by John Beeler
A Beginner’s Mind, the new collaborative album from Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine, is out now.
You can listen to the album on your preferred digital platform here.
The LP and CD is also available in stores today in most places including the United States, Canada, South America, Japan, and Australia. Independent stores in those regions will be stocking the black LP as well as the “Olympus Perseus Shield Gold” variant.
Due to manufacturing delays and shortages, the CD and LP are delayed in Europe and will be available on October 15th. In addition to the black LP, European stores will be stocking an indie exclusive “Back to Oz Pumpkinhead Orange” variant of the record – just in time for Halloween.
You can also buy the LP from Bandcamp or our store here. We’re selling a “Beginner’s Mind Ocean Blue” colored LP, in homage to the movie that inspired the album’s title and title track, Point Break.
See here for a full list of the movies that inspired each track, and links to stream or rent or buy the movies.
Also available in our store is a 22×22 aqueous-printed poster of Daniel Anum Jasper’s cover artwork, a cap designed by Angelo, and 7-inches of two of the three sets of singles – with slightly extended versions of the songs on those 45’s.
* Please note: due to vinyl manufacturing delays, we are having to delay the 7-inches to mid-November.
September 8th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Sufjan and Angelo are debuting two new songs from their forthcoming album A Beginner’s Mind: “Cimmerian Shade,” inspired by Silence of the Lambs, and “You Give Death A Bad Name,” inspired by Night of the Living Dead.
Hear the songs here, or below.
Of “Cimmerian Shade,” which is sung from the perspective of Silence of the Lambs antagonist Buffalo Bill (a.k.a. Jame Gumb), Angelo says: “Many authors have emotional attachments to the characters they create. But in this instance, I was interested in how a character felt about being created. In my imagination I was giving consciousness to someone else’s creation. The song is essentially a dialogue between creation and creator that seeks to find understanding to some of the same questions that we ask ourselves about existence, free will, fate, purpose, guidance and if anyone or anything out there is listening or cares.”
The full album is out on September 24.
You can pre-order the 12-inch, the Completist Bundle*, and the 7-inch with these two songs here. The 12-inch we’re selling is an exclusive“Beginner’s Mind Ocean Blue,” its color based on the swirling wave crests in Point Break, the Kathryn Bigelow directed 1992 action crime film starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, and the movie that inspired Sufjan and Angelo’s title song.
See below for more corresponding movies with links to streaming sites:
|1||“Reach Out”||Wings of Desire|
|2||“Lady Macbeth In Chains”||All About Eve|
|3||“Back To Oz”||Return to Oz|
|4||“The Pillar Of Souls”||Hellraiser III|
|5||“You Give Death A Bad Name”||Night of the Living Dead|
|6||“Beginner’s Mind”||Point Break|
|7||“Olympus”||Clash of the Titans|
|8||“Murder And Crime”||Mad Max|
|9||“(This Is) The Thing”||The Thing|
|10||“It’s Your Own Body And Mind”||She’s Gotta Have It|
|11||“Lost In The World”||The Last Wave|
|12||“Fictional California”||Bring it On Again|
|13||“Cimmerian Shade”||Silence of the Lambs|
* Please note: due to vinyl manufacturing delays, we are having to delay the 7-inches to after release date. This includes the 7-inches ala carte and in the bundle. 12-inches will ship separately on or slightly before release date. If you’ve already pre-ordered the bundle or 7-inches, please check your email in the next week for more information.
August 10th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine debut two new songs today. “Back To Oz” (inspired by the 1985 film Return To Oz) arrives with a video directed by Alex Horan of Straight To Tell and animated by Clara Murray. Watch it here or below.
“Fictional California” (inspired by the 2004 Bring It On Again) is also out today—listen here or below.
Both tracks are from Sufjan and Angelo’s forthcoming collaborative full-length, A Beginner’s Mind, out September 24 on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Pre-order/pre-save the album here.
“This was a song that I had written mostly at home in California,” says Angelo. “We finished its lyrics after watching Return to Oz. The words reference an erosion of a central character’s internal reality. A loss of innocence is the impetus for a journey to find inner truth. In the film, Dorothy returns to the world of Oz to find its landscape in ruins and its citizens frozen in stone. Only she can find the ruby slippers and return peace to Oz. Only we can save ourselves, but we first have to remember who we truly are.”
“Angelo is mostly known for his intimate home recordings; his music is quiet and confessional. So for “Back To Oz” we decided to go for something flashier,” adds Sufjan. “The song has a fun guitar groove, so we gave it some bass and drums, and Angelo even recorded his first electric guitar solo. It’s a sad song—being mostly about disillusionment—but it has a great party vibe too. Which sort of runs parallel to the narrative in the film: Return to Oz is a psychedelic fantasy ride through the unknown, but the main characters are mostly driven by fear and loneliness.”
“We love the dreamlike quality of ‘Back To Oz’ and how the chorus transports the listener to another world,” says video director Alex Horan. “We wanted to evoke those same feelings through the visuals.”
“I love to make anything and everything come alive—the clouds, a fork—everything has a soul and can become a living, breathing thing. So the idea of creating a whole world engrossed me,” says Murray, animator for the video.
The new tracks follow “Reach Out” and “Olympus,” released last month. Listen and watch the video for “Reach Out” here.
July 7th, 2021 , by John Beeler
AKR is proud to announce A Beginner’s Mind, the new album from Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine. The album is set for release on September 24 on CD, LP, cassette, and digital. You can pre-order the AKR exclusive in “Beginner’s Mind Ocean Blue” colored 12-inch LP and all other physical formats, from our store here. Read more about the record here.
Artist Daniel Anum Jasper illustrated the cover and artwork throughout the packaging.
Two songs from the album, “Reach Out, inspired by Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, and “Olympus,” inspired by the 1981 Clash of the Titans, debut today along with a video for “Reach Out” shot by Sufjan and Angelo (and starring their respective dogs Joku [a Jindo] and Charlie [a Havanese]) and edited and directed by Jess Calleiro. Watch the video on YouTube here and Vimeo here, and hear both songs by clicking here.
“Reach Out” and “Olympus” are available on 7-inch in “Olympus Metallic Owl Silver,” with artwork illustrated by Daniel Anum Jasper. The 7-inch ships August 11th and is available for pre-order here.
Also available for pre-order is a “Completist Bundle,” which includes the full LP in “Beginner’s Mind Ocean Blue,” the 7-inch of “Reach Out” and “Olympus,” and two future 7-inches. That pre-order is available here. View all the available pre-order options, including a hat designed by Angelo De Augustine, here.
May 12th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Sufjan’s five-volume instrumental album Convocations is out today on most digital platforms (and available tomorrow, Friday, on all digital platforms). Click here to listen. And you can watch the accompanying, full-length generative video work by Mexican artist Melissa Fuentes here, or below.
The physical 5-LP boxset will be available on August 20th. Check your local record store for pre-order availability.
Sufjan has also released a special, hand-made, tie-dyed Convocations themed t-shirt, which you can pre-order for $35 plus shipping here.
April 2nd, 2021 , by John Beeler
Convocations, a new instrumental album by Sufjan Stevens, will be released on May 6 digitally, and on August 20th, 2021 via 5xLP colored vinyl boxset .
Convocations is comprised of five volumes—Meditations, Lamentations, Revelations, Celebrations and Incantations—the project is a two-and-a-half-hour, 49-track reflection on a year of anxiety, uncertainty, isolation, and loss. Read more about the project here.
You can hear the first song from the project, “Meditation V,” right now by clicking here.
The full volume of Meditations will be out this Thursday, April 8. We’ll be releasing the other four volumes each week for the next four weeks. See schedule below for details.
Each of the volumes and tracks of Convocations are accompanied by a generative video art piece created by artist Melissa Fuentes.
Also: please save the date and join us on Thursday at 12pm ET, when we’ll be premiering Meditations in full, alongside with Fuentes’ visuals, via YouTube livestream here. The livestream will remain active during that week to come, and we encourage you to join in the stream’s chat throughout to reflect, respond, meditate, lament, revel, celebrate, and incant what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost over the last year, and what we see on the horizon.
“Meditation V” out now.
Thursday April 8
12PM ET: Livestream of Meditations.
1PM ET: Pre-orders available for 5xLP boxset
Monday April 12
Thursday April 15
12PM ET: Livestream of Lamentations
Monday April 19:
Thursday April 22
12PM ET: Livestream of Revelations
Monday April 26
Thursday April 29
12PM ET: Livestream of Celebrations
Monday May 3:
Thursday May 6
12PM ET: Livestream of Incantations,
1PM ET: full Convocations project available on digital platforms
5xLP boxsets ship (first pressing).
Click here to follow the schedule on our Sufjan calendar.
February 11th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Sufjan has released a music video directed by Luca Guadagnino for “Tell Me You Love Me,” from The Ascension. Sufjan previously collaborated with Guadagnino director for the 2018 film Call Me By Your Name.
The music video features work by Alessio Bolzoni and Celia Hempton.
Regarding the video, Guadagnino says:
“The aching feeling of loving and wanting to be loved, the mystery of bodies that clash, the uncanny aspects of nature, the sublime music poetry and voice of Sufjan—all this went into this video that I am proud to have made with the collaboration of two more great artists, Alessio Bolzoni and Celia Hempton.”
You can purchase The Ascension at your local record store, or from our store here, or stream it here.
Sufjan has also released a new “Tell Me You Love Me” themed t-shirt.” You can pre-order the shirt at our store here.
January 10th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Denison Witmer follows up last year’s release of his album American Foursquare with a reframed look at four songs from that LP: “Birds of Virginia” (featuring Karen and Don Peris of Innocence Mission), “Simple and True,” “River of Music” (the first single from American Foursquare), and “Roseanne” (featuring Rosie Thomas).
To hear the Simplified EP, check your preferred digital streaming platform or click here.
The CD and vinyl for American Foursquare, delayed due to COVID-related supply chain issues, is tentatively set for release before the spring of this year. You can pre-order those formats here.
November 10th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Today, Denison Witmer returns with word of a first physical release for his twelfth album – and first in seven years – American Foursquare landing on Jan 8th. Released digitally during lockdown earlier this year, the album sees an expanded edition in January accompanied by brand new tracks, outtakes, stripped back versions and more.
Stream or share the song by clicking here.
To celebrate the announcement, Witmer is today sharing the new cut ‘Lancaster County‘, a soaring, country rock-tinged homage to Denison’s home county, directed by Reverie.
Of the track, he offers:
“The recording of ‘Lancaster County’ started out as something of an afterthought. When we were making American Foursquare, we ended up finishing drum tracking ahead of schedule on the final day of recording. Since I still had another 4 hours of studio time, I called my friend Jessica Dobson (Deep Sea Diver) and asked if she wanted to come to the studio. Jessica is the best guitarist I know – she can play anything really well – and I thought it would be fun to experiment with a live recording of this song. I usually write and record in isolation, so the opportunity to play in a band setting is always exciting. I love feeling/hearing the songs become something new in other people’s talents and headspace. This song unfolded exactly as it needed to: It’s a folk inspired country rock anthem. It’s the only song from the American Foursquare sessions that feels this way, and it’s the only one that was recorded live. In the end, it didn’t quite fit the overall vibe of American Foursquare, so I decided to release it as a stand-alone track.”
You can pre-order the CD and LP at our store here.
October 28th, 2020 , by John Beeler
“This is a song we wrote for people who have to cross great seas and bear great burdens.”Read the Rest...