Planetarium is an album co-composed by four musicians: Bryce Dessner, James McAlister, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens. Flanked by a string quartet and a consort of seven trombones, this unique collaborative ensemble has assembled an expansive song cycle that explores the Sun, the Moon, the planets and other celestial bodies of our solar system (and beyond) through soundscape, song, science and myth.
With a concept that shoots for the stars, it’s not surprising that the vinyl release is equally expansive. To do it justice, eleven artists were commissioned to create eleven astral portraits of nine planets, the sun and the moon, all of which are presented on individual 12″ cards slipped into the album’s gatefold.
Artwork: Cecily Brown (Earth), Jessica Dessner (cover image), Marcel Dzama (Moon), Stephen Halker (Mars), Jim Hodges (Neptune, inner gatefold image), David Huffman (Uranus), Karl Jensen (Sun), Ragnar Kjartansson (Pluto), Mehreen Murtaza (Mercury), Nathlie Provosty (Jupiter, back image), Matthew Ritchie (Saturn), Saya Woolfalk (Venus)
Layout: Alison Fielding
The typography pairs two typefaces that were both first released in 1972, Rosmarie Tissi’s Sinaloa — see also The Tomita Planets (1976) — and ITC Serif Gothic by Herb Lubalin and Tony DiSpigna, which appeared in the advertising for Star Wars (1977), among other places.
Contributed by Rodrigo Saiani
Contributed by Stephen Coles