Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sufjan Stevens is releasing a 49-track instrumental album in May

Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens
Photo: Photo by Evans Richardson, colorization by Melissa Fuentes

Much like every musical savant in COVID-19 quarantine, Sufjan Stevens has kept busy. Last September, he released an 80-minute-long record, The Ascension. But Stevens hasn’t taken a break since then. On Monday, he teased on Tumblr (his only social media account) that “new holistic music” is coming this week, and today his label Asthmatic Kitty made the formal announcement.

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No, Stevens sadly isn’t continuing his 50-state album project. But he is releasing an instrumental album, Convocations, on May 6, with physical copies being available on August 20 on a 5xLP colored vinyl boxset. Similarly to 2006's Songs For Christmas, Convocations features five volumes: Meditations, Lamentations, Revelations, Celebrations, and Incantations. If you thought 15 tracks was a lot in The Ascension, that’s nothing compared to Convocations, which is composed of 49 tracks.

A press release describes Convocations as a “two-and-a-half-hour requiem mass for our present times of difficulty, its 49 tracks allowing for all these feelings to be felt. The album is divided into five sonic cycles, each replicating a different stage of mourning. Convocations occasionally soothes and sometimes hurts; when it’s done, you’re left with a renewed sense of wonder for being here at all.” It also mentions that the record is an homage to Stevens’ biological father, “who died in September last year, two days following the release of The Ascension.”

With the announcement of Convocations, Stevens also shared “Meditation V” off the Meditations collection. The rest of the nine Meditations tracks will be out on April 8.

Stevens might be one of the most mysterious indie musicians, but he laid out the full schedule of his Convocations releases, so we’ll know when to look out for new music. Take a look at it below.

Convocations schedule:

Tuesday April 6:

“Meditation V” out now.

Thursday April 8:

12PM ET: Livestream of Meditations.

1PM ET: Pre-orders available for 5xLP boxset

Monday April 12:

“Lamentation II”

Thursday April 15:

12PM ET: Livestream of Lamentations

Monday April 19:

“Revelation II”

Thursday April 22:

12PM ET: Livestream of Revelations

Monday April 26:

“Celebration VIII”

Thursday April 29:

12PM ET: Livestream of Celebrations

Monday May 3:

“Incantation VIII”

Thursday May 6:

12PM ET: Livestream of Incantations

1PM ET: full Convocations project available on digital platforms

August 20th:

5xLP boxsets ship.

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