Support the news

Sufjan Stevens Goes To 'Saturn' With Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James McAlister

Sufjan Stevens in the "Saturn" video.closemore
Sufjan Stevens in the "Saturn" video.

Forget the long-abandoned 50 States Project, Sufjan Stevens is going to space. Based on a composition originally performed at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Planetarium is a song cycle inspired by our solar system and a little bit beyond, with works co-composed with The National's Bryce Dessner, composer Nico Muhly, and drummer James McAlister.

"Saturn" is the first single, accompanied here by a galactic video, which sends Stevens into an Auto-Tuned synth-topia — until halfway through, when someone throws on a house beat.

And because it's Sufjan Stevens, Planetarium connects the galaxy to humanity.

We've returned to the question of identity and humanity and human rights, and what does it mean to be a person in our world? What is our relationship to our world, and the environment? What does it mean to believe in a divine being, and what does that divine being require of us?

That divine being is often inspired by the cosmos.

Planetarium comes out June 9 on 4AD.

Copyright NPR 2017.

+Join the discussion

Support the news

Next Up

Where to now?

More NPR or Explore Audio.