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Sufjan Stevens brings a unique and exciting new feeling to his discography with 'Reflections / The DePaulia

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The album is titled “Reflections” and released on streaming platforms in May 2023.

The DePaulia's Jonah Weber writes…..Composer and songwriter Sufjan Stevens released a new collaborated album with Timo Andres and Conor Hanick. The album is titled “Reflections” and released on streaming platforms in May of 2023. I first listened to “Reflections” while commuting on the blueline home. I picked out an ambient mix made by Spotify, hoping to find something relaxing and calming while I read up on some upcoming assignments. Before I knew it, I was engrossed in the fifth song on the album, “Rodinia,” a song that transported me to a Hayao Miyazaki film. No longer focusing on the assignments I had to do, I opened the album and was surprised to find it was Sufjan Stevens’ latest release.

Originally composed in 2019 for the Houston Ballet, Stevens and his collaborators put listeners in the auditorium of the dance performance. Each piano key hit feels like a joint jerking and a ballet shoe slamming onto the wooden stage. Stevens traditionally writes and performs music that falls in the indie and alternative genres.

The album opens up with “Ekstasis,” which means ecstasy in Greek, and “to stand outside of or transcend oneself,” according to Britannica. The intro to this album sucks you in right away with fast pace and rhythmic piano playing. There are two pianos playing together, and it mirrors the image of a group of ballet dancers working together in choreography.

The seven song album goes by quickly. It has a total runtime of 30 minutes. Originally I was disappointed to find this out after listening through the whole album the first time, but it works when you remember it was composed for a ballet, which tend to run for thirty minutes to two hours. I also found it to be the perfect commuter  and reading album. As far as album interpretation though, I recommend taking your time and listening to it closely.

On my first listen, I found it to be a little repetitive. It felt like all the songs started the same, and I questioned whether I had an ear for classical music. Historically it is not my go-to genre, yet I persevered through the album. I’m thankful I did.

Rather than being repetitive, the songs actually transition incredibly smoothly from one to the next. Each song has a unique, cathartic feeling. The notes are intense and loud but slowly smooth out as the songs go on.

After three intense songs, the fourth track, “Mnemosyne” feels like a breath of fresh air. Rather than banging piano keys, the sounds are soft and fast. You can picture hands running across the ivory keys and ballerinas dancing in synchronization so clearly when this song comes on. “Mnemosyne” means “the goddess of memory” in Greek mythology.

It is always exciting when a musician tackles a different genre of music, in this case going from indie and alternative to classical. Stevens brings a unique and exciting new feeling to his discography with “Reflections.”


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