eMusic Review 1
Ah, the electronic record. Noted refuge for artists itching to reinvent, everyone from Neil Young to Radiohead to Glenn Danzig have, to varying degrees of success, utilized technology as a means for advancement when the traditional way of doing things was seeming either limiting or familiar or just plain dull. Whether or not the experiment works is often beside the point: A radical aesthetic shift allows for a kind of artistic "ground zero," a chance to start over without undertaking a whole new career in a new town.
That Sufjan Stevens would pursue this course is, well, surprising. Stevens has been called many things, but his music has always been relatively organic, dressed up in violins and woodwinds and oboes, politely obeying the etiquette of traditional orchestration. Hearing the digital splurt and splatter that kicks off "Too Much," after the relatively straightforward opening ballad "Futile Devices," is alarming. The electronic elements — prevalent, pronounced — are mostly used to muddy up the canvas; they clog the empty space — strange, multicolored, laser-like streaks and big, smoggy patches of static. In a way, it's admirable: The prince of prettiness choosing to haunt his intricate constructions by letting loose the ghosts… read more »