Published Mar 27, 2017The age of indie supergroups continues, as Sufjan Stevens, the National's Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister (a regular touring member of Stevens's band) have joined forces for a new collaborative album. Dubbed Planetarium, the record is due out on June 9 through 4AD.
Featuring Stevens's vocals, Dessner's guitar, Muhly's instrumental compositions and McAlister's beats, the resulting album is described in a press release as "part rock odyssey, part electronic experiment, part classical opus," taking listeners on a sonic journey that explores "mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness."
The project has finally come to fruition, following the members' initial collaboration on a piece that Muhly was commissioned to create for Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven back in 2011. The original performance found Muhly and co. accompanied by a string quartet and seven trombones, and it was later revived on stage at Cincinnati's MusicNow Festival, as well as at a multi-night run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was only in 2016 that Stevens and McAlister unearthed the live recordings, brought them into the studio and said: "Let's open Pandora's box."
The resulting 17-song tracklisting for Planetarium can be found below. Past that, watch a trailer for the upcoming album and watch a freshly unveiled video to accompany the studio version of "Saturn."
3. Halley's Comet
7. Black Energy
12. Kuiper Belt
13. Black Hole
15. In the Beginning