One 12 months after melodically grappling with video games, Sufjan Stevens is again with a brand new album knowledgeable by hours spent watching films with fellow indie folks/lo-fi musician Angelo De Augustine. In a brand new interview with GQ, Stevens and De Augustine admit that the cinematic basis of A Newbie’s Thoughts, launched on Sept. 24, was principally an accident, erupting from days spent writing songs and nights spent watching no matter they may stream or torrent — “highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between,” because the duo put it of their album notes. The result’s a file that reverberates with the haunting melancholy of 2015’s Carrie & Lowell, however with lyrics like “Cenobite seized within the throes / To be released from the Pillar of Souls.” It’s fairly nice.
How excessive had been Stevens and De Augustine’s viewing habits? Right here’s a breakdown of the songs and the films that impressed them:
1. “Reach Out” – Wings of Want, (Wim Wenders, 1987)
2. “Lady Macbeth In Chains” – All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)
3. “Back To Oz” – Return to Oz (Walter Murch, 1985)
4. “The Pillar Of Souls” – Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Anthony Hickox, 1992)
5. “You Give Death A Bad Name” – Evening of the Dwelling Lifeless (George A. Romero, 1968)
6. “Beginner’s Mind” – Level Break (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991)
7. “Olympus” – Conflict of the Titans (Desmond Davis, 1981)
8. “Murder And Crime” – Mad Max (George Miller, 1979)
9. “(This Is) The Thing” – The Factor (John Carpenter, 1982)
10. “It’s Your Own Body And Mind” – She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)
11. “Lost In The World” – The Final Wave (Peter Weir, 1977)
12. “Fictional California” – Deliver It On Once more (Damon Santostefano, 2004)
13. “Cimmerian Shade” – The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)
14. “Lacrimae” – Lacrimae rerum (Nikos Nikolaidis, 1962)
Stevens resists the concept A Newbie’s Thoughts is “about” the films; fairly, he and De Augustine seek advice from them within the GQ interview as catalysts for “a new cinematic experience.”
“I think that for us to make critiques of these films and to be dead serious about it, it required that we work these little moments of comic relief into it,” he stated. “I was almost like a tempering of extremes. The songs became these weird mashups. Sometimes we would just stumble upon a phrase in a film that was so ridiculous that we wanted to somehow work it in. I think it’s not so much that we’re winking and being self-conscious about it. I think what we’re doing is almost a descriptive analysis of the language that we receive from all these pop culture sources.”
However there’s true cinéaste fandom on the coronary heart of A Newbie’s Thoughts: Stevens admits to being an enormous horror man, and having horrible style in films. Nonetheless, someplace within the schlock of Hellraiser III, he discovered coronary heart … and what the liner notes describe as “an S&M dirge.” Anybody who doubts Stevens’ reputable enjoyment of one thing as paint-by-numbers because the direct-to-DVD Deliver It On
So we had been watching Deliver It On 2 on the bus final week. And its positively in my prime 10. And you recognize the story — we’ve all seen that film. There’s a faction … just like the cheerleaders cut up off. Theres just like the loser faction, after which the preppy winner faction and the loser faction as a result of the preppy winner faction of cheerleaders is already like rooting for soccer and basketball and all that. The opposite form of deadbeat faction – they determine they’re going to cheer for croquette, desk tennis, what else? Golf.
And its fairly superb as a result of it received me considering you recognize, regardless of the form of oddness of the context, these cheerleaders being at uncommon sporting occasions, it received me considering of the notion of the periphery of encouragement now we have in our life. After we are actually younger, theres like this fixed constructive reinforcement. The place you’re educating a toddler to speak and also you say: “Thats good, this a ball, and you say ball, and I say ball and you say good” after which there are smiles and affirmation. You realize in elementary college your lecturers are all the time providing you with these stickers with the celebrities and in junior varsity sports activities theres all the time that assistant coach on the sidelines whose like, “Keep going! look alive! you’re amazing! teamwork! defense!” And you then get to varsity and you’ve got your mentors your professors, and also you write you dissertation, advisors — nice at giving constructive reinforcement, critiques, feedbacks.
And you then get into the true world. And all these folks depart. They’re now not round. And it’s simply you caught in your personal form of insular, solitary, depressed thoughts. And it will get fairly darkish generally. And the cheerleader inside you is vindictive and self punishing. And theres a voice thats continuously form of batting you over the top with all types of expletives and damaging reinforcement. And thats what I carry round a variety of the instances, its like fixed damaging reinforcement with every part. And so I noticed this film final week and I used to be like, that’s actually superior that there’s this like thought of a cheerleading squad at each nook of each recreation. It doesn’t matter if its desk tennis or croquette — and we want that, you recognize — at our jobs, at our cubicles. We want the deadbeat cheerleading squad to simply come out of nowhere and be like: “look alive.”
A Newbie’s Thoughts is streaming now and accessible on vinyl by way of Bandcamp.