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Listening to My Life: 17 Listens for 2017

By Joel Heng HartseDecember 29, 2017

First, a note: I think this might be the last time I do this. If you’ve followed my writing about music for the last twenty years (in which case you are my mother, so thanks) you’ve heard me say things like this off and on for at least the last ten, so I don’t mean…

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Sufjan Stevens’ Planetarium in Paradise

By Adam Tyler HornJune 9, 2017

When Dante finally sees Beatrice near the end of the Purgatorio, he quotes Virgil’s Aeneid in the presence of his guide, Virgil himself. “I know the signs of that ancient flame,” he exclaims, transforming Dido’s doomed hailing of Aeneas into a renewed celebration of Beatrice as Beatitude, as icon of God instead of fetishized lost…

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Impossible Soul

By Joel HartseNovember 4, 2010

The recorded version of “Seven Swans” on Sufjan Stevens’ album of the same name always seemed a bit too subdued for the apocalyptic revelation it presents. Stevens opened his recent show at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, BC (and all the shows on his recent tour) with that song, alone, spotlighted, scraping timidly at…

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