Back in March of 2010, Vancouver’s Tor wrote a reflective post to commemorate the one year birthday of Illinoize, his re-mix album of indie savant Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise (Asthmatic Kitty; 2005). The original Illinoise is Sufjan’s second concept album that references persons, places, and events, relating to the U.S. state of Illinois, and was originally part of a series of fifty albums based around U.S. states, though Stevens has since declared the series was a gag (or maybe he just got tired of the concept). In either event, the record is stunning, and remains one of my favorites of Sufjan’s now ten album discography, The Age of Adz (2010) being his most recent effort to date.
Since Tor released Illinoize (which layers carefully selected samples of Stevens’ dense orchestrations into beats and rhymes from Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Outkast, and others), Asthmatic Kitty contacted Tor and offered to extend a licence for him to use Sufjan’s samples. Tor rightly notes this is “a really refreshing and awesome move from them, in a time where unfortunatley a lot of record companies are still trying to resist the changes in how fans listen to, distribute, and manipulate music.”
That said, it’s easy to hear why Asthmatic decided to grant him license. Sufjan’s distinctive violin, trumpet, and flute riffs and choruses are immaculately showcased and tastefully set in a golden-hip-hop language that doesn’t sound so far a cousin to indie-rock through Tor’s purview. It sounds like Tor and Sufjan were meant to be.
Stream “The Tallest Man/I Like It” (ft. Grand Puba) below and download here.
[audio:https://thecomeupshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/04-The-Tallest-Man-I-Like-It-f.-Grand-Puba.mp3|titles=04 – The Tallest Man – I Like It (f. Grand Puba)]
1. Star of Wonder/None Shall Pass (ft. Aesop Rock)
2. Dumb I Sound/ATLiens (ft. Outkast)
3. John Wayne Gacy Jr. /Specialize (ft. Pete Rock & CL Smooth
4. The Tallest Man/I Like It (ft. Grand Puba)
5. Kill/Any Type of Way (ft. Big Daddy Kane & DJ Premier)
6. Night Zombies/Talkin’ My Shit (ft. Brother Ali)
7. The Dress Looks Nice On You/Make You Feel That Way (ft. Gift of Gab)