Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine have debuted two new songs from their forthcoming collaborative album titled “Cimmerian Shade,” and “You Give Death a Bad Name.” Their LP A Beginner’s Mind is set to include these songs and twelve others and is being released on September 2 via Asthmatic Kitty Records. The conception of the album came together as Stevens and De Augustine were writing in a friend’s upstate New York cabin where they got into the habit of watching horror films. “Cimmerian Shade” is sung from the perspective of the antagonist of Silence of the Lambs Buffalo Bill, meanwhile “You Give Me a Death Name,” is inspired by Night of the Living Dead.
“Cimmerian Shade” is a deceptively calming song, especially if you know the plot of Silence of the Lambs and its famous Buffalo Bill. Stevens and De Augustine sing to a eerily cheerful guitar “Save me from everything I ask for/ Soil from the sod, Lamb of God,/ rest in peace I’m still just running from the answer/ Safe in the cell, kiss and tell, my Clarise.” In contrast to the gory plot line of Silence of the Lambs, Stevens and De Augustine manage to make you feel safe with their music, a song you would hum along to on your way to work.
Listen to “Cimmerian Shade” here:
“You Give Death a Bad Name” has a very similar calming feel. That is, until you listen to the lyrics. The song starts of strong with “Shot to the skull or a strike to the brain/ As you withdraw, you give death a bad name/ Can you be stopped, or can evil be slain?/ Is there something to be lost to surrender the pain?” This song is more eerily more unsettling than “Cimmerian Shade,” the elements melding together in a muddled sort of way. The individual parts are hard to follow, the artistic choice being made in order to follow more easily the voices singing.
Listen to “You Give Death a Bad Name” here:
Outside of their coming LP, Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine have been busy with their own projects. Sufjan Stevens has recently released his own solo album Convocations, which mxdwn writer Drew Pitt states, “there is beauty and intrigue to be found within the boundaries of this record.” Meanwhile this would be Angelo De Augustine’s first project since 2019, and fans are excited to hear what’s in store.
A Beginners Mind Tracklist:
1- Reach Out
2- Lady Macbeth In Chains
3- Back To Oz
4- The Pillar Of Souls
5- You Give Death A Bad Name
6- Beginner’s Mind
8- Murder And Crime
9- (This Is) The Thing
10- It’s Your Own Body And Mind
11- Lost In The World
12- Fictional California
13- Cimmerian Shade
Photo Credit Sharon Alagna