The BQE (soundtrack)

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Soundtrack album by Sufjan Stevens
Released October 20, 2009
Length 40:16
Label Asthmatic Kitty
Producer Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens chronology
Songs for Christmas
(2006)Songs for Christmas2006
All Delighted People EP
(2010)All Delighted People EP2010
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Drowned In Sound7/10[5]
Pitchfork Media7.4/10[7]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[8]

The BQE is a mixed-medium artistic exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway by Sufjan Stevens. The project originally manifested in the form of a live show, performed on November 1–3, 2007. The show consisted of an original film, directed and written by Stevens, accompanied by an orchestra performing a live soundtrack.

The album recording was made after the rehearsals for the show. It was recorded live during a one-day session in Legacy Studios' A509 orchestral suite (since closed and demolished) with most of the group in the same large room together.

A multimedia package of The BQE was released on October 20, 2009. The set consists of a CD of the show's soundtrack, a DVD of Brooklyn-Queen Expressway footage that accompanied the original performance (not a film of the performance itself), a 40-page booklet with liner notes and photos, and a stereoscopic 3D View-Master reel. There is also a limited edition version that features the soundtrack on 180-gram vinyl and a 40-page BQE-themed comic book starring the show's hula-hooping wonder women, The Hooper Heroes.

Regarding The BQE, Stevens said:

I intended to create a non-personal, non-narrative piece. I tried to reduce my own personal investment as much as possible, and I refused to incorporate one of my strengths, which is the song. I was relinquishing my greatest weapon.[9]

Track listing[edit]

1."Prelude on the Esplanade"2:56
2."Introductory Fanfare for the Hooper Heroes"1:07
3."Movement I: In the Countenance of Kings"5:19
4."Movement II: Sleeping Invader"4:34
5."Interlude I: Dream Sequence in Subi Circumnavigation"3:33
6."Movement III: Linear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise"4:09
7."Movement IV: Traffic Shock"3:24
8."Movement V: Self-Organizing Emergent Patterns"3:45
9."Interlude II: Subi Power Waltz"0:28
10."Interlude III: Invisible Accidents"0:54
11."Movement VI: Isorhythmic Night Dance with Interchanges"3:17
12."Movement VII (Finale): The Emperor of Centrifuge"3:51
13."Postlude: Critical Mass"2:59
Total length:40:16


  • Alejandro Venguer, assisted by Jeff Kirby and Tyler Van Dalen – recording, legacy studios, New York City
  • Casey Foubert, James McAlister, and Sufjan Stevens – additional recording, Sufjan's office in Brooklyn
  • Sufjan Stevens – mixing
  • Lisa Moran – production management
  • Michael Atkinson – music editing, copyist
Performing Artists
"Hooper Heroes" Comic Book/Stereoscopic Reel
  • Sufjan Stevens – story, writing
  • Stephen Halker – story, penciling, inking, lettering, coloring
  • Heidi Cho – coloring
  • David Min – coloring
  • Matt Loux – cover watercolour
  • Christian Ackler – cover masthead


BQE is the basis of the San Francisco Ballet's In the Countenance of Kings choreographed by Justin Peck which premiered April 12, 2016.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Sufjan Stevens All Delighted People". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Sufjan Stevens: the BQE". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ AllMusic review
  4. ^ BBC review
  5. ^ Drowned in Sound review
  6. ^ NME review
  7. ^ Pitchfork review
  8. ^ Slant review
  9. ^ Bell, Sean (2009-10-19). "Sufjan Stevens: American 21st-century Renaissance man". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Justin Peck world premiere rounds out SF Ballet Program 7" by Leslie Katz, San Francisco Examiner. April 11, 2016. Accessed April 13, 2016.

External links[edit]