Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams – “The Runaround” Video
Five years after he released the devastating Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens is still in side-project city. Next month, he’lll release a new album, but it won’t be a regular Sufjan Stevens album. Instead, he’s teamed up with his stepfather Lowell Brams — the co-head of his Asthmatic Kitty label, and one of the inspirations of Carrie & Lowell — to record a new instrumental new-age album called Aporia. It’s their second full-length collab, after 2009’s Music For Insomnia, and Stevens says that it “definitely marks Lowell’s retirement.” They’ve already shared a short track called “The Unlimited,” and now they’ve followed it with a new one called “The Runaround.”
“The Runaround” is lovely soft-focus ambient music with at least a few echoes of Tangerine Dream in there. You might not think ambient music would be part of Sufjan Stevens’ skillset, but there are some real melodies in there, and there’s the same sense of warmth and grandeur that you can hear in some of Stevens’ more conventional music. Stevens’ voice creeps in there, too, though it’s heavily treated. And then there’s the video, which is stunning.
The video for “The Runaround” comes from director abutta492, who has previously made clips for rappers like A$AP Nast and Moneymal. But abutta492 mostly documents the black street-dirtbike culture that’s existed for decades in East Coast cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, the kind of thing that police are constantly clamping down on. (See the 2013 documentary 12 O’Clock Boys for more.) The clip for “The Runaround” comes from that world. It’s full of gorgeous slo-mo golden-hour shots of people doing shit on bikes that should be physically impossible. Almost every frame of it could hang in a museum. As far as I can tell, the clip was mostly filmed in and around Miami, and it’s one of the best music videos I’ve seen in a long time. Watch it below.
Aporia is out 3/27 via Asthmatic Kitty. Pre-order it here.