The ‘Curio of the Week’ award goes to the long-form supergroup of Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister and their galactic tapestry Planetarium.As you might expect, the record is a sprawling star chart of celestial, ambient electronica, interspersed with jarring synth and spoken word pieces on the nature of myth, faith and polytheism. Though the themes are far out, the presentation is grounded in recognisable tropes of sci-fi music.

Structurally, it’s a non-sequential jolly about the Milky Way with a track for each planet, plus visits to our Earth's Moon, the Sun, so-called 'Black Energy', the Kuiper Belt and a long glance back at where it all began ('In the Beginning'). Taken as a whole, Planetarium is a departure for each of its progenitors. Individually, it bears their unmistakeable fingerprints.

The ice giants get the sweetest ditties, with opener 'Neptune' in particular focused on Stevens' gorgeous phrasing - those simultaneously clipped and breathy melodies. 'Jupiter', the largest planet and ruling deity of the Roman pantheon, is full of paternal references and Stevens' uniquely bittersweet take on familial relationships. "Father of life, father of death/ give us your wisdom, give us your breath/ Jupiter is the loneliest planet." Mixing Christian and Pagan imagery in a baroque, high-handed poetry, the track culminates in the first electro-shock wig-out of the album, with time to spare for a big, haughty brass section. The record demands to be experienced live, preferably beneath a panoply of stars and with Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii-level production values.

The Uranus legend is one of the oddest, and Stevens gives the fruitier elements a full-ish rendering; how the god came to make love to Gaia the earth goddess, how he despised their children and buried the youngest within her, and how one of them, Cronos, cut off his father's testicles and threw them into the ocean, whence they begat numerous other demigods and beasts, most famously Aphrodite. The deadpan delivery of this most painful of male archetypes fits perfectly into Stevens' own milieu, and the orchestral arrangements by Muhly blend seamlessly with electronic elements to map out a broad and satisfying vista on top of which all this grand mythos can be painted.

Once we leave the planets and start to experience the less tangible elements of 'Black Matter' and the 'Sun', the song structures break up into beatless, weightless ambience. The 'Moon' gets a lovely, playful track referencing Far Eastern and Mesoamerican myths about the Moon Rabbit. 'Earth' gets a whole 15 minutes, but the heavily treated vocals make identifying the mythical elements harder. I thought I caught mentions of two biblical matriarchs, Rachel and Sarah, both central characters in pre-Christian scripture, but I might be wrong. The track itself contorts itself from a loose, impressionistic soundscape into a 13 & God-style electro workout. 'Mercury' gets the prettiest, and most Sufjan-esque, ode - fitting for the god of poetry and divination.

The album has clearly been something of a labour of love for its creators, and feels remarkably homogenous for something produced by four highly individual minds via a mixture of live and studio performance over several years. If you like the sound of a big, camp, melodramatic slab of astrological sci-fi shot through with very earthly, twenty-first century hang-ups, Planetarium is a trip.