Singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens has culled 21 pieces of music originally recorded during sessions for his 2005 album, “Illinois,” for the new release “The Avalanche.”
Among the material here is demos, musical interludes, instrumentals and complete songs, many of which required “substantial editing, new arrangements or vocals,” according to the label. Backing is provided by many of the same musicians who performed on “Illinois,” including vocalists Rosie Thomas, Shara Worden and Katrina Kerns, drummer James McAlister and trumpet player Craig Montoro.
“Almost every song” on “The Avalanche” is rooted in an earlier “Illinois” track, including three different versions of “Chicago.” The new title track was intended to appear on “Illinois” but ultimately wound up as a bonus track on the vinyl edition of the album.
“Illinois” recently won the first New Pantheon Award, which recognizes significant albums that have sold less than 500,000 copies in the United States.