Sufjan Stevens "Silver & Gold"

Sufjan Stevens released his second collection of 5 Xmas EP's, "Silver & Gold" and I cannot recommend this highly enough. Ok, let's get my bias out of the way, he's one of my favorite artists so I was pretty excited to hear it. I have been a total music geek for a long long time, heck maybe 40+ years. I've got a massive collection that spans every genre you could imagine and for me Sufjan Stevens is easily among the greats, no matter the era. I could write volumes on his a writer, composer, ability to express and transcend...there has never been anyone like him.

Silver & Gold is a massive output. There are traditional Christmas songs (presented in nontraditional ways!) and original compositions. There are Choral arrangements, orchestral works, electronica, folk, 30 second songs to epic 20 minute explorations. Because this was recorded over many years and over those years his style has had so many very different faces, the project moves all over the genre map. Some sounds like Seven Swans, some like Michigan, Illinoise, Age of Adz and some like nothing I've heard before. It's a massive volume too so not all is going to be easily digestible, this is going to take several plays.

Another interesting point for me is the subject matter. I don't celebrate Christmas and yet I still find this to be a very soulful, emotional record. I will probably not play some of the more traditional songs as much or the cartoonnish, playful tracks but I am still able to connect with the album.

As an audiophile I can also recommend this as well as all of his work. He has always put out exceptional recordings, many of which I use as reference. There are harmonies, complicated orchestral passages, acoustic instruments, excellent use of space/staging and many listening cues so I've found his music to make for a fine tool when working on my rig or auditioning gear.

Anyway, enough of my ramble. I just wanted to give this epic it's own thread and share my enthusiasm for it.
Forgot to mention, so far Gloria (Volume 6) is my favorite. I think it's more like his acoustic, maybe Seven Swans/Michigan style, some even sounding like A Sun Came.
You can download one of my favorite tracks, Barcarola, here:

I'm not sure it's the same version as the album although both feature the Dessner brothers from The National.
am listening to samples on Amazon right now and must say I am really enjoying it.

good call!
Hello Richard,I love the genre and many other genres,,,I love music! Sufjan has been on my radar for a while,just have not got around to do the listening .Untill i stumbled unto a cover of ,John Wayne Gacy Jr. by a musician that goes by LiarConfess on youtube.Also does some very nice stuff under ,Patchwork Projekt,check out an original called ,Halftime Crowdpleaser,,,,very good Anyway ,,,thanks for the link ,I will be listening to a lot of Sufjan now! Thanks to you and LiarConfess.Ray
hey Ray

I liked Halftime Crowdpleaser very much though it reminds me of The Bad Plus sometimes - which someone in these pages said they had the subtly of a jackhammer and I agree to an extent.

Overall very good

I will remember Patchwork Projekt