Sufjan Stevens, The National's Bryce Dessner, composer Nico Muhly and Sufjan drummer James McAlister are on the verge of releasing an album version of Planetarium, the solar-system inspired collaboration that had its U.S. premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2013.
The idea for Planetarium originated when the Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven commissioned Muhly for a large-scale piece, but the album itself did not take shape until the quartet of musicians decided to revisit live-performance recordings of the piece. “Years later when we all kind of settled down, we said, ‘Let’s open Pandora’s box,’” says Stevens.
Supported by a battery of seven trombones and a string quartet, Planetarium is an epic, genre-bursting opus blending the wistful vocals of Sufjan Stevens, the distinct virtuosities of guitarist Bryce Dessner and drummer James McAlister, as well as the symphonic conceit of composer and keyboardist Nico Muhly.
Planetarium comes out June 9 on 4AD.