Released by Asmathic Kitty
A 22-track anthematic tone poem to the Prairie State, emphatically answering the question, "Can a songwriter express the spirit of a state he's never called home?" Sufjan weaves various musical styles (jazz, funk, pop) and instrumental textures into a tapestry of persons famous, infamous, and anonymous, and places iconic, obscure, and ghostly. Myths, memories, and incidental anecdotes are swept up with symphonic flourishes. Implementing 25 instruments, played mostly by Sufjan himself, a two-handed horn section, string quartet and small choir, Illinois conjures up images of Danny Elfman conducting a Gilbert and Sullivan company, a minimalist ensemble, and the Marion Catholic Marching Band on a windswept prairie football field.