Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine are releasing their collaborative album A Beginner’s Mind in a few weeks. The record was inspired by several nights the pair spent watching classic films and then writing songs loosely based on them. Today they share two more tracks from it, “Cimmerian Shade”, which was inspired by Silence Of The Lambs, and “You Give Death A Bad Name”, which takes its origin from Night Of The Living Dead.
On “Cimmerian Shade”, which is particularly inspired by Silence Of The Lambs‘ fearsome murderer Buffalo Bill, De Augustine 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.”
Without knowing that they’re inspired by horror films in advance, it is completely understandable that you would think these are just a couple of extremely pretty folk songs. “Cimmerian Shade” does make reference to Lambs director Jonathan Demme, with the Buffalo Bill narrator begging to be “saved” by him, and there is a mention of Clarice, but with the delightful chorus of “I just want you to love me”, it’s easy to overlook those.
“You Give Death A Bad Name” seems like a pithier retort to Night Of The Living Dead, but is once again an extremely pretty folk song – although there’s no doubt the pair are smirking a little in this one; “what was once dead is now coming for you,” they sing in placid tones.
Listen to both tracks below or 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).