Sufjan Takes a Ride on the Reading Railroad


Or the BQE, whatever that is.

If you missed Sufjan Steven’s recent appearance on WNYC, New York’s public radio station, I wouldn’t be surprised. After all, I missed it too, but being a loyal disciple of Sufjan, I was able to find the broadcast available in streaming format for all to hear:

If you don’t feel like listening, let me give you a brief synopsis. Sufjan has a new orchestral work cooked up and ready to be premiered this coming weekend for some lucky kids in Brooklyn. It’s called the BQE, and he, with the help of a small orchestra, performed a few movements from it on this here radio show on Sunday night. The two pieces are quite good, as I would expect nothing less from SS, but I sure wish I could hear the whole thing in like, I dunno, CD form? Anything but awful quality youtube videos please.

I wish the Sufster had a blog or something because he says lots of weird and sometimes profound things.

“And even the BQE, which isn’t a very personal piece of music at all, it sort of feels very personal at times because it’s about wanting to know what kind of car should I drive, or should I even have a car? You know, what business do automobiles have in the city? And then you think about commerce and how the automobile is really important for the economy and things like this. And then you think maybe I should be riding my bike, or maybe I should be walking to work. Or, I dunno, maybe I should just stay home and watch TV, maybe I shouldn’t expend so much energy worrying about these things, or maybe I should be reading more books, or maybe I shouldn’t be writing about the expressway, maybe I should be writing about the natural landscape which is slowly fading away, you know with all the extinct birds and everything. . .

So, yeah, that’s the things I worry about sometimes, the birds and the marshes.”

If I ever write a novel, I think I want the dialogue to sound like that. Sufjan, I worry about those things too, sometimes.


Here is another nugget of Sufjan philosophy from some interview somewhere sometime ago (Just trying to get these all in one place):

SS: I think there’s a reduction in quality and a lowering of standards overall in art and music. I’m not sure what the cause of this is — maybe it’s television, advertising, pop culture — but there’s definitely a decrease in literacy rates and languages and endangered species lists are going up. There’s just, throughout the ages, a process of reduction and simplification. Maybe it’s a decline of civilization, and as there’s a proliferation of computers and technology, that the human mind is in decline.

TB: Are you being serious?

SS: Dude, I have no idea what I’m talking about.


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