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Avalanche Outtakes And Extras Import


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 11 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sonic Unyon Records
  • ASIN: B000FMGWKU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

1. The Avalanche
2. Dear Mr. Supercomputer
3. Adlai Stevenson
4. The Vivian Girls Are Visited In the Night by Saint Dararius and his Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies
5. Chicago (Acoustic Version)
6. The Henney Buggy Band
7. Soul Bellow
8. Carlyle Lake
9. Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in his Hair
10. The Mistress Witch from McClure (or, The Mind That Knows Itself)
11. Kaskadia River
12. Chicago (adult contemporary easy listening version)
13. Inaugural Pop Music for Jane Margaret Byrne
14. No Man's Land
15. The Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake
16. The Pick-up
17. The Perpetual Self, or "What Would Saul Alinsky Do?"
18. For Clyde Tombaugh
19. Chicago (Multiple Personality Disorder version)
20. Pittsfield
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Description

These are tracks not used on the "Illinois" album; some songs were finished, others weren't, requiring substantial editing, arrangements and/or vocals. The centerpiece of course, is the title track, "The Avalanche", a song intended for the leading role on "Illinois", but eventually cut and placed as a bonus track on the vinyl release. Almost every song on "Illinois" has a counterpart on this outtakes release. "In his own modest way, Stevens has quietly become the master of micro over six years and five albums; his ornately detailed compositions hold a magnifying glass to the dusty ephemera in his curious scope - and, intermittently, the center creases of his US atlas" - Entertainment Weekly

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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens has reached a new level in his musical career -- the point where every shred of his art is of interest.

That's where "The Avalanche" comes from -- it's all the worthy leftovers from Sufjan's opus "Illinoise." While there are some that were cut for a good reason, most of them are delicate, original and well-written. Even the worst of Sufjan's scraps are better than whatever is playing on the radio.

It opens with the title track, a folky little number that blossoms out with the inclusion of tense piano and a woodsy flute. It's a basic little song about homesickness and travel, which becomes something slightly odder by the end. "Come on, Snow!/Come on, Car!/Come on, Hands!/Come on, Feet!" Sufjan exhorts happily.

Then we get some new twists and turns -- he dabbles in electronica-edged pop in the peppy "Super Computer" and the shimmery "Inaugural Music," effervescent folkpop, quirky indiepop to dance to, bluesy balladry, and some concept tunes such as the eerie, spacey expanses of "Pluto." They ought to use that in a sci-fi movie.

The most amazing song on here is the delightful horn dance tune of "Henney Buggy Band," where you can only imagine people frolicking in the streets. It just overflows with fun. "Let the bugles play the sermon on the raid/I kissed you on the face/I kissed you on the playground!"

Sadly, not every song on here is a masterpiece. Most of them are excellent pieces of work, sweet and musically adept. But there are some that just noodle around, like the ambient "Kaskaskia River." It starts, never goes anywhere, and just fades out. And it's not the only one that just sort of rambles.

With a few songs trimmed off, however, this would be a glorious collection of oddments.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Not so much an Outtakes Collection as it is a Sequel to Illinois! July 11 2006
By Cale E. Reneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Objectivity. Oftentimes it is an easy ideal to attain. Jean Piaget would claim that objectivity is something that is acquired by age and is an indicator of formal operational thought, and as such it is not possessed by all people. I, for one, have the ability to be objective from time to time. However, despite by conquest of objective thought, I find it increasingly difficult to remain objective when reviewing Sufjan Stevens. Why? Because he is my absolute favorite musician; possibly ever, but definitely currently.

For those unfamiliar with the "legend" of "The Avalanche," I will explain. Sufjan's 2005 release "Illinois" was a brilliant, moving piece of artistry that made dozens of top 10 lists across the globe (including my own). According to the Asthmatic Kitty website, the album was originally planned to be a double album, but was scrapped well into the production of the album. "The Avalanche" are the songs that did not make it to the final cut of "Illinois" plus a few extras. However, do not dismiss this album as a B-Sides album (Even though Sufjan humbly labels it a "Outtakes and Extras" collection). "The Avalanche" is an album that can stand entirely on its own.

The title track, "The Avalanche," is also the lead-off song on the album. For those fortunate enough to have obtained a copy of "Illinois" on vinyl, this song should sound extremely familiar, mostly because it's the same song that was featured on that release. For those of us who are without a vinyl-player, however, "The Avalanche" is a brand new song filled with precise instrumentation and beautiful lyrics. As a lead-off track, it serves its purpose in enticing the listener to hear more. What comes next only makes the listener happy that they did. "Dear Mr. Supercomputer" is another fantastic song that makes use of Sufjan's brilliant compositional skills, featuring exlaimatory trumpets and whimsical flute flutters that set the tone for what is undoubtedly the most up-tempo and musically exciting song on the album.

The next song, "Adlai Stevenson," gives a brief history of the former Illinois governor and twice-failed presidential candidate of the same name. Though brief in minutes, the soothing guitar riff and Stevens' haunting vocals manage to make this song a standout on the album, though, musically, it would perhaps be more fitting on "Michigan."

The next notable track is the acoustic version of "Illinois" favorite, "Chicago." In all honesty, I was never much of a fan of the original version of the song, though I know many people who have clamored over it on occasion. This acoustic version, however, harkens back to Sufjan's softer, "Michigan" side and, to me, outdoes the original in almost every aspect. For those who are fans of the original, the sheer fact that there are three new versions on "The Avalanche" should be enough to entice you to purchase this album. They are all equally as beautiful and entertaining. "The Henney Buggy Band" is the next song on the album, and it just so happens to be my favorite. The song is incredibly upbeat and uplifting, once again utilizing Sufjan's brilliant compositional skills and putting the full instrumentation to good use.

From here, the album seems to get much more somber as it goes along. Notable songs along the way include "Springfield," "The Mistress Witch From McClure," "No Man's Land," and "Pittsfield," all of which capture the soul of the state just as "Illinois" did. It's appropriate to note that this album is, at its core, very similar to the album that preceded it. The spirit and dedication that went into the creation of "Illinois" is just as prevelent in "The Avalanche." As such, "The Avalanche" isn't so much an outtakes collection or an entirely different album, as it is a sequel to the original. Like almost all sequels, there are things that it lacks in comparison to the original. Despite this fact, "The Avalanche" is still a must-own for any dedicated Sufjan fan and is sure to deliver weeks, perhaps months of gratifacation and Illinois-based nostalgia.

Make no mistake about it, "The Avalanche" is a fantastic album with songs that could undoubtedly be added to Sufjan's already-long list of greatest hits! With the release of "Illinois," and now "The Avalanche," one thing is for sure; I love this state!

Recommended for fans of Sufjan Stevens and Illinois enthusiasts alike.

Key Tracks:
1. "The Avalanche"
2. "Dear Mr. Supercomputer"
3. "Adlai Stevenson"
4. "The Henney Buggy Band"
5. "Springfield"

4 out of 5 Stars
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
just buy it Jan. 15 2007
By Carol C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm a little unhip to the zeitgeist, being a mostly stay-at-home mom, infrequent (lapsed) family physician, and perpetual community nuisance. Until today, I was blissfully unaware of the critical acclaim for "Illinoise." However, I listened to it incessantly after my husband brought it home, and wound up with a copy of "The Avalanche" for Christmas.

That being said, I put on the title track of "The Avalanche," on Christmas Day, and was blown away by the beauty and complexity of its opening. This album has entered the pantheon of those I listened to daily for weeks or even months after their discovery, which puts it in the league of Emmylou Harris's "Angel Band," the first "Trio" album (featuring Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton), the Dixie Chicks' "Home," Billy Bragg's and Wilco's "Mermaid Avenue," Bob Dylan's "Good As I Been to You," and the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, which is pretty serious company.

Moreover, I cannot say enough about "Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair." This tune, with its rich harmonies, stands up against the greatest CSNY songs.

I enjoy the three alternate takes of "Chicago;" as a jazz fan, I'm accustomed to hearing different versions of the same song back-to-back on archival recordings. But I'm aware that the casual listener may find this sort of thing perplexing.

I take exception to the notion that Sufjan Stevens revels in the sameness of his sound: I think that criticism could be directed against Lennon and McCartney, Brian Eno, k.d. lang, Lyle Lovett, Elvis (Costello or Presley), Ray Charles, or any of the above mentioned artists. I would not have it any other way.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Interesting "Leftovers" July 17 2006
By B. Niedt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens' "Illinois" seemed to come out of nowhere and capture the fancies of critics and listeners alike last year, even though the artist had been churning out albums from his tiny label for some time. It ended up on many "best-of-the-year" lists, including #1 on the Pitchfork Media list. And the accolades were well-deserved, as "Illinois" was a big-sounding, musical tour-de-force that can be mentioned in the same breath with Brian Wilson's "SMiLE". Now, a year later, comes a collection of "shamelessly compiled" (in the artist's own words) leftover tracks from the "Illinois" sessions, which seem to be released for the benefit of avid fans who can't get enough of the guy and are eagerly awaiting the next full-blown album. There are at least half a dozen songs here that would have been worthy of inclusion on "Illinois" (though this would have pushed it into 2-CD territory). The standouts are the title track, "Dear Mr. Supercomputer", "Adlai Stevenson", "The Henney Buggy Band", "The Mistress Witch from McClure", and "No Man's Land". There are also three alternate versions of "Chicago", the centerpiece song from "Illinois", all of which are interesting takes. After that, most of the tunes sound and feel like filler: some of them seem half-finished, demo-like, and often devolving into semi-inspired noodling, dissonance, and in one case, what sounds like radio static. But that shouldn't be surprising in a CD that's advertised as a collection of "outtakes and extras." It is still worthwhile, at least for fans, but for those who haven't become familiar with Stevens' work yet, I suggest you start with "Illinois".
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
He's an avalanche Aug. 27 2006
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens has reached a new level in his musical career -- the point where every shred of his art is of interest.

That's where "The Avalanche" comes from -- it's all the worthy leftovers from Sufjan's opus "Illinoise." While there are some that were cut for a good reason, most of them are delicate, original and well-written. Even the worst of Sufjan's scraps are better than whatever is playing on the radio.

It opens with the title track, a folky little number that blossoms out with the inclusion of tense piano and a woodsy flute. It's a basic little song about homesickness and travel, which becomes something slightly odder by the end. "Come on, Snow!/Come on, Car!/Come on, Hands!/Come on, Feet!" Sufjan exhorts happily.

Then we get some new twists and turns -- he dabbles in electronica-edged pop in the peppy "Super Computer" and the shimmery "Inaugural Music," effervescent folkpop, quirky indiepop to dance to, bluesy balladry, and some concept tunes such as the eerie, spacey expanses of "Pluto." They ought to use that in a sci-fi movie.

The most amazing song on here is the delightful horn dance tune of "Henney Buggy Band," where you can only imagine people frolicking in the streets. It just overflows with fun. "Let the bugles play the sermon on the raid/I kissed you on the face/I kissed you on the playground!"

Sadly, not every song on here is a masterpiece. Most of them are excellent pieces of work, sweet and musically adept. But there are some that just noodle around, like the ambient "Kaskaskia River." It starts, never goes anywhere, and just fades out. And it's not the only one that just sort of rambles.

With a few songs trimmed off, however, this would be a glorious collection of oddments. And for stuff that didn't make the cut, these songs are very polished musically and lyrically -- we get ripples of blippy synth, little acoustic songs, and all of it is trimmed with horns, banjo, tambourine, deep piano, flutes and other instruments. Who knows what else is in the mix?

Stevens himself sounds like he's having fun in many of these songs, especially "Adlai" and "Henney Buggy Band." His soothing voice croons, "Oh life, with your colorful surprises/Eleanor, how you put one on disguises/Oh Father John, you cannot tell me/What's right and wrong/You cannot tell me!" And he's backed by some very pretty backing vocals.

"Avalanche" is not on the level of the album it springs from, but it comes close enough to be worth treasuring. A little gem, with some flaws.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A slightly inferior version of the best album of the decade July 11 2006
By Matthew Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It is a sad reflection on the quality of contemporary music when a musician's B-sides legitimately compete for the best album of the year. Songs such as "The Henney Buggy Band", "Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadlfly caught in his hair", "The Mistress Witch From McClure", and "Adlai Stevenson" compare favorably with the best on Illinois or Michigan. I do have two problems though with the cd as a whole. First, all of the songs I mentioned are in the first half of the cd. There's no mistaking that the second half has good songs as well, with the "Perpetual Self..." being a standout, but overall it's markedly inferior to the first half. It contains two of the 3 versions of Chicago and 5 instrumentals. The disparity is so striking, I feel that through song 10, "The Avalanche" is actually a superior cd to Illinois at the same juncture. It feels almost as if Sufjan ran out of tracks and insisted on making another 75 minute opus, so threw in, dare I say it, "filler". The second problem refers to the overall flow of the album. While both Illinois and Michigan melded harmonies, themes, and structure so seamlessly that it was almost impossible to skip a track, The Avalanche at times feels disjointed. This is less noticeable in the first half because the material is so breathtaking, but it eventually becomes quite evident. This material wasn't meant for the album format in the same way Illinois was. Now, on to the positives. While Illinois had a song or two that I simply didn't care for and would never listen to outside the context of a full listen, The Avalanche has no such problem. Even Chicago, a song that I've never been particularly fond of (yes, I'm one of the few) sounds significantly better in it's new incarnations. In short, while Illinois had probably 14-15 great tracks (I'll leave out the instrumentals ) and 1-3 ok tracks, The Avalanche has 10 great tracks and 5 good tracks. Another positive I'd note is the strength of the instrumentals on The Avalanche. While Illinois' instrumentals often felt essential simply because of the atmospheric bridge they provided, few if any were of interest as standalone tracks. The Avalanche actually has instrumentals that deserve to be appreciated and absorbed in their own right. This is especially needed in album that lacks the sonic cohesiveness Illinois possessed. Otherwise they'd feel like entirely dispensable tracks. Overall, despite the minor problems, this is one of the best albums I've heard all year. And listening to these "B-sides", one begins to suspect that Stevens is incapable of recording anything that doesn't fit squarely in that category.


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