American indie powerhouse Sufjan Stevens has teamed up with fellow indie-folk singer-songwriter Angelo De Augustine for a new album, A Beginner’s Mind.
The album announcement comes with the release of the pair’s first two collaborative singles, ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Olympus’. Described as a collection of fourteen songs loosely based on popular films, A Beginner’s Mind has also incorporated concepts from The I-Ching and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies in its production, all in service of answering the question “what does it mean to be human in a broken world?”
That’s a lot to take in just in a press release. It sounds weighty and philosophical and ever so slightly pretentious, but more importantly it sounds like two brilliant artists who enjoy working together simply churning out a few ideas and seeing where it goes.
The heavy themes and grand concepts attached are all well and good, but I’m looking forward to judging the album on its musical and collaborative merits outside of what the band’s PR people tell me what to expect.
The pair-up makes sense from a logical perspective: the two artists are both on the roster of Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty record label, and De Augustine has opened a number of concerts for Stevens. Both are from Michigan, and both have a preference for atmospheric folk and tender vocals. It seems like a collaboration was almost inevitable.
Actually, it already happened. De Augustine and Stevens previously released a collaborative single, ‘Time’, back in 2019, which made its way onto De Augustine’s third studio album Tomb. Stevens has spent most of the previous few months recording and releasing his Convocations ambient project. De Augustine has been relatively quiet since the release of Tomb.
Check out both ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Olympus’ down below. A Beginner’s Mind is set for a September 24 release.