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Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:20:30 minutes | 876 GM | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Asthmatic Kitty

The Ascension is the eighth studio album from singer, songwriter and composer Sufjan Stevens and is the long awaited follow-up to Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell. One of the most acclaimed albums of 2015, The New York Times praised Carrie & Lowell as “restrained and meticulous” while Pitchfork declared it “a masterpiece.” In the time between Carrie & Lowell and the forthcoming The Ascension, Stevens also released Oscar-nominated music for the Luca Guadagnino film Call Me By Your Name; a collaborative album entitled Planetarium with Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner (The National) and James McAlister; The Decalogue, a solo piano work performed by Timo Andres; and scored several works for ballet: Reflections (Houston Ballet) and Principia (NYCB). The Ascension is musically expansive and sweeping in thematic scope.

Is the album title The Ascension a reference to mountaineering or the Christian festival which celebrates Jesus’s ascension to heaven on the 40th day of Easter? Judging from the album cover which looks like a stain-glass window, you’d probably go for the latter. Though the first option seems equally valid; Sufjan Stevens’ eighth album takes you on an expedition. Be careful, it’s a long journey (15 tracks in 80 minutes) but the summits are worth it. On his moving previous album Carrie & Lowell (2015) the American musician chronicled the story of his sick mother on an acoustic guitar. Here, it’s a sick world he’s talking about: America in 2020, disillusionment, anxiety and dehumanisation. And desperate times call for desperate measures! The measures that Sufjan Stevens took are paradoxical: he made this album alone but orchestrated his songs like liturgical music. The main theme running through the album is his intimate voice. He sounds like a fallen angel, multiplying his voice into a choir of 150 Sufjan Stevens in white togas, layered over an electronic backdrop that goes from retro Vangelis-style ambient music to R’n’B, while exploring sounds that remind us of what Björk did in the 90s. The Ascension is a heavenly album of contemporary pop that’s been liberated by boundless technology. It’s not easy to take everything in at first, but after listening to this record a few times it might become difficult to stop. – Stéphane Deschamps


1. Make Me An Offer I Cannot Refuse
2. Run Away With Me
3. Video Game
4. Lamentations
5. Tell Me You Love Me
6. Die Happy
7. Ativan
8. Ursa Major
9. Landslide
10. Gilgamesh
11. Death Star
12. Goodbye To All That
13. Sugar
14. The Ascension
15. America


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