To Scale

Published March 17, 2014

ABOVE: SISYPHUS. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRENDEN BEESY

A couple of months ago, Sufjan Stevens posted to his Tumblr a YouTube video of a rat trying to run down an up escalator with a one-word caption: “Sisyphus!” It was something of an inside joke: Stevens’s collaborative project with producer Son Lux and rapper Serengeti, which dropped an EP under the name s/s/s in 2012, is now called Sisyphus and is releasing a self-titled full-length this month on Asthmatic Kitty and Joyful Noise. Though the three artists don’t have much in common independently, their work as Sisyphus jells nicely, with Son Lux’s spare, intellectual beats as backdrop for Serengeti’s laid-back narrative flow and Stevens’s characteristically eerie, intimate vocals. Sisyphus was commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition “Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take,” on view there through May 11. It’s an appropriate pairing: Hodges, a sculptor and installation artist who works with materials ranging from gold-leafed newspaper pages to doorway-size chain-link spiderwebs, is an expert at reconfiguring the familiar to reveal unexpected beauty.


SISYPHUS’ DEBUT ALBUM COMES OUT TOMORROW, MARCH 18