The cover art for Bil Vermette’s new album, Hunting For Planet 9. Credit: Courtesy of Trouble In Mind Records

Bil Vermette has been making ambient and electronic soundscapes for more than 40 years, and his new album, Hunting for Planet 9, won’t disappoint fans looking for another collection of instrumental, synthesizer-heavy space waves to add to their playlist. The Berwyn musician became known for his hypnotic compositions as a member of late-70s synth collective VCSR, and after the band split in the early 80s, Vermette began self-releasing solo work on his own Rainforest Productions label, starting with 1984’s Katha Visions (reissued in 2013 by the Galactic Archive label run by Reader contributor Steve Krakow, in conjunction with Permanent Records). Vermette’s sound is rooted in the music of pioneering electronic groups such as Tangerine Dream and Cluster, and on Hunting for Planet 9 he continues on his galaxy quest with melodic, gently celestial tracks such as “Saturn’s Rings” and “Kuiper Belt.” The album begins with the ominous “Space #8,” whose loud, dissonant patchwork of sound feels like it could propel you to the darkest corners of the Milky Way—and then the next track, “Surface of Titania,” arrives with a gentle bounce to return you to the comforts of the solar system. With its playful variety of spacy dynamics, Hunting for Planet 9 is a welcome voyage through electronic sound that will clear your head for takeoff.   v