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NYC Hip-Hop Duo Mash Up Sufjan Stevens

Free album download: Swell and Sentence, aka Metermaids, combine tracks with Stevens' revered Illinois.

By: Peter Gaston // December 18, 2008

From the “If it worked for Danger Mouse, then it should work for me” department comes Nightlife in Illinoise, a mash-up helmed by NYC hip-hop duo Metermaids that combines their recent album, Nightlife, with Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 epic, Illinois.

But will it launch Metermaids out of obscurity like Danger Mouse’s Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up The Black & White Album did for DM? Maybe, although the argument can be made that a lot more people are versed in, you know, the Beatles than in Stevens, the ambitious but bashful auteur of Midwestern chamber pop.

Fans of Stevens will, however, recognize the harmony vocals, wind-instrument flourishes, and other hallmark Sufjan elements among the seven mashed up Illinois tracks on the album: “Come on! Feel the Illinoise!,” “Chicago,” “Jacksonville,” “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” “They Are Night Zombies…,” “The Black Hawk War…,” and “The Avalanche,” which, technically, is from Stevens’ collection of Illinois outtakes.

Also taking a page from Danger Mouse’s book, Metermaids are offering the Nightlife in Illinoise album as a free download via their official site. For a taste of what these dudes sound like when they’re not appropriating someone else’s canon, download one of Metermaids’ original, non-mash-up tracks below.

Listen:
“Nightlife” (DOWNLOAD)