Review: Planetarium is an intriguing proposition: a four-way, collaborative concept album themed around space (but actually about the human condition), written and produced by alt-rock singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens, modern classical composer Nico Muhly, drummer James McAllister and jazz guitarist Bryce Dessner. Over the course of two slabs of vinyl and 75 minutes, the quartet - at times accompanied by no fewer than seven trombonists, for reasons not explained in the publicity material - speed between intergalactic ambience, political prog rock anthems, sweeping modern classical compositions, thrilling electronic/acoustic fusions, luscious piano ballads and lots more besides. Despite the impressive eclecticism on show, the whole thing feels surprisingly coherent thanks to frequent appearances from Stevens distinctive vocals.
Review: Second time around for Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch's acclaimed soundtrack to Denis Villeneuve's 2017 flick "Blade Runner 2049". Like the film itself, Zimmer and Wallfisch's soundtrack is very much a sequel to Vangelis' 1982 original, with spacey, poignant and bittersweet orchestral compositions sitting side by side with more electronic, synthesizer-driven pieces that match the dark, futuristic mood of the movie. There are plenty of nods towards the musical themes explored first time around, with the climactic "Blade Runner" sounding like a 21st century update of the Greek composer's lauded original title music.