Long-term friends, collaborators and labelmates Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine have announced a collaborative album called A Beginner’s Mind, set for release on September 24 through Asthmatic Kitty. The record is a product of a month-long songwriting sabbatical in upstate New York, during which they would unwind in the evening by watching a movie. They soon found the songs they were writing would reflect the movies they’d seen, and decided to lean into that, creating something truly collaborative as they traded off verses and choruses, then went through a rigorous editing process to whittle it down to the 14 tracks that make up the record.
They’ve leaned into the cinematic theme fully by employing Ghanaian artist Daniel Anum Jasper, who is famed for his ‘alternate’ Hollywood movie posters, created for screenings in ‘mobile cinemas’ in the 80s. You can see the fantastic promo image above, and the album art is here:
The duo have also shared a couple of songs from the project, “Reach Out” and “Olympus”. For Sufjan they are a return to the graceful folk that he started out his career making, while this is comfortable territory for De Augustine. However, working in tandem, their voices and lyrical ideas entwine beautifully, allowing them to reach new terrains – a veritable garden of fantastical folk ideas. These songs don’t just take inspiration from Hollywood, but are wellsprings of bountiful sounds that seem to keep bubbling, creating a cinematic sound all of their own.
Check out the video for “Reach Out” below, which stars their beloved dogs Joku (a Jindo) and Charlie (a Havanese). Or find both on streaming platforms.
Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine’s A Beginner’s Mind comes out on September 24 through Asthmatic Kitty (pre-order/save).