Asthmatic Kitty

In 2017 Sufjan Stevens released his much beloved very personal seventh studio album, Carrie & Lowell, a vulnerable meditation on Sufjan’s relationship to his late mother Carrie and, by extension, his stepfather Lowell Brams. 

Longtime collaborators, Stevens and Brams co-founded their label Asthmatic Kitty together back in 1999 and in 2008 made Music for Insomnia (created together with The National’s Bryce Dessner). Now the pair have made New Age inspired album, Aporia, recorded over a number of years during Brams’ visits to New York.

Aporia is a state of puzzlement, an expression of deliberation when in doubt. Fitting for the current state of the world, the album is being released a few days earlier than originally intended with a live listening party on the Asthmatic Kitty website. The label is also donating 50 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of Aporia to food-focused COVID-19 charities No Kid Hungry as well as to Partners In Health

Full of layered sci-fi synths and filled to the brim with feeling, Aporia plays well as a soundtrack to the often dystopian times we find ourselves in, creating space for moments of breath and reflection within. With 21 tracks spanning from 30 seconds to just over three minutes in length, it’s a sonically sweeping album that ranges from uptempo electronic heart fluttering highs to more quiet and soft ambient moments. 

Aporia is almost entirely instrumental, save for a smattering of vocals by Stevens and featured vocalist Cat Martino, but don’t expect lots of lyrics on this experimental endeavour. Fans of Enya and Boards of Canada are sure to enjoy sinking in to this richly textured and contemplative collaboration.    

Best Track: “The Runaround”