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
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
BBC (favourable)[3]
Drowned In Sound 7/10[4]
NME 9/10[5]
Pitchfork Media 7.4/10[6]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[7]

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.[8]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
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.[10][11]


External links[edit]