Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit (2001)

Eclectic Electronic Noise Pop and more!

The American indie folk singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens’ electronic laden musical style is just about the last thing that listeners would have expected from a former member of a locally popular but largely obscure indie folk quartet Marzuki and  then touring organist, toy pianist and banjo player with wacky indie gospel pop psychedelia group The Danielson Famile. I know, you have to be hardcore indie folk addict or a music historian to know this!

On his second album, Enjoy Your Rabbit, Stevens presents nearly 80 minutes of what he calls “a collection of programmatic songs for the animals of the Chinese zodiac.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, Stevens uses a variety of electronic and acoustic instruments (and though it is hard to believe, no external samples) for a sound that falls somewhere between a cheesy 80s cop-show theme song on crack, creepy circus music, and Mouse on Mars playing the soundtrack to Braveheart

Each song is unique as he extracts fragments of Pop, Rock, and even Celtic music, throws it all together in an electronic mix with synths and glitches, then takes it all apart and puts it back together again. With melodic sections interspersed throughout portions of fragmented, deconstructed musical chaos, listening to the first part of Enjoy Your Rabbit feels like getting a garbled transmission of someone flipping radio stations in outer space. 

One of the album’s highlights is the title track, which sounds like an electronic musician’s take on Math Rock, then ends with an off key James Bond theme reference. “Year of the Monkey” is also fun, with a fuzzy beat and a wah-wah riff combined with warped music-box sounds that collapses into itself and ends in an onslaught of fuzz. 

On the rest of the album, Stevens tones down the glitch and focuses more on multi-layered, orchestral numbers. These give him away as someone who has written music for films – they would serve as a creepy but perfect backdrop to a freaky technological thriller. If anyone ever decides to remake Tron again, they should ditch Daft Punk and call Stevens for the score. 

Note - Enjoy Your Rabbit was Stevens’ second album, and the third release from his independent New Mexico label Asthmatic Kitty. In 2009, the entire album was completely reworked and rearranged by the Osso String Quartet and re-released as Run Rabbit Run. If you like this album, you must check it out too! 


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...