Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine — A Beginners Mind
Just 4 months after release of Convocations — a 49 track instrumental album produced after the passing of his father — Sufjan Stevens has collaborated with Angelo De Augustine to bring us A Beginner’s Mind.
A Beginner’s Mind is the result of what happens when two good friends live together in upstate New York, watch a movie every evening, and write a song reflecting on it the very next morning. The diverse collection of movies that served as inspiration for this album include titles like Mad Max, The Silence of the Lambs, and Bring It On Again.
The album opens with “Reach Out”, one of my favorites from the album, loosely based on the German foreign film titled Wings of Desire. With the lyrics “I would rather be the flower than the ocean,” and shortly after, “I would rather be devoured than be broken” speak to the similar themes of both the song and the film on which it’s based. A song about human isolation and mortality matches up with the movie’s plot of angels that listen in on the lives of Berliners; one angel deciding to become mortal and experience the feelings they spent observing for so long. “Fictional California”, another favorite of mine in regard to the song itself as well as the movie it was based on: Bring It On Again. The lyrics “Our school spirit was defined by drama and dance” is such a direct call out to the movie that it couldn’t have been more obvious.
Even if you don’t get all of the movie references, this LP still makes for a very compelling listener experience.
De Augustine and Stevens’ vocals match each other so perfectly, blending together seamlessly. These vocals combined with the soothing background music makes for a truly unforgettable experience.
When art begets art in this way — with collaborators like Stevens and De Augustine — you simply have to listen in admiration. An album as comforting, heartwarming, and captivating as A Beginners Mind should definitely be on your radar.