Released last week by Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Wordburglar; Welcome to Cobra Island hit me harder than Wild Weasel smoking a MOBAT in a Rattler tank smasher. I simply can’t stop rocking this thing.
The album samples the best theme music from the original Sunbow animated series and the lyrics are in-depth and superb, as one would come to expect from a guy named Wordburglar. Each track plays a part in canvassing much of the best G.I. Joe lore from the 80′s; the rhymes are airtight and delivered with surgical precision. This is top shelf hip hop.
The entire album is a free download, but I ponied up the dough to purchase the jewel-cased version because the album is just straight-up awesome. If you’re a true ‘Joe’ fan, I challenge you to do the same, this dude deserves our support for doing such a kick ass job putting this project together. Big thanks to my buddy Eric of Dartmouth Clothing Company for giving me the heads up on this thing.
On a personal note, I’ve been posting about 80′s nostalgia for a couple years now, but I’ve purposely avoided the G.I. Joe topic until now. The 80′s ‘Joe’ era means so much to me that I found it tough to find the right words; it was the single biggest influence on me as a kid, so correctly conveying the weight of that is truly a tall order.
The cartoon was cool, although campy, and the toys were obviously amazing, but the real magic was in the Marvel comic book series written by Larry Hama and Chuck Dixon. Those stories were what did the trick, they were rocket fuel for the imagination. The intricate plots and complex character backstories kept me coming back for more month after month.
This album hits all the right chords when referencing that original paperback material and has inspired me to finally post about my personal holy grail. So much so, that I’m preparing to unleash a blistering barrage of other ‘Joe’ related posts that I’ve started to write over the months, but never finished. So ready or not…here it comes. Yo Joe.
In my world, Mr. John Boswell aka Melody Sheep, is the only person officially licensed to use auto-tune. His Symphony of Science series hit the internet by storm a couple years back, but I feel his most recent work for PBS Digital Studios is his best yet.
Usually when you encounter auto-tune in the wild it’s on some teeny-bopper radio station playing fluff music with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. But in Boswell’s case, he masterfully crafts powerful pieces of music and video that work together to inspire and motivate.
My grandmother had stacks of Bob Ross VHS tapes when I was a kid and I spent many hours of my youth watching Mr. Rogers do his thing on TV. Those were special times. These videos are just the shot in the arm I need some days when I’m running low on inspiration.
Music is an integral part of my design process. I’m constantly listening to film scores and ambient music while I work. I intentionally seek out music without lyrics to reduce the possibility of being distracted; I want the music to be a soundtrack to what I’m doing, in essence, subtly fading into the background like a well-done score does in a film.
Jean Michel Jarre’sOxygéne is a regular in my music rotation. I’ve been listening to this album in one format or another my entire life. My mother owned the vinyl record and would play it for me and my brother when we were kids. I keenly remember how the combination of the spacey synth music and the spooky album artwork capitvated my imagination.
The album cover was painted by Michel Granger, and was actually the original inspiration for recording Oxygéne. Jarre approached Granger about using the painting for the album cover after the record was completed, and thankfully, he agreed.
Oxygéne has been credited with “[leading] the synthesizer revolution of the Seventies”, and originally Jarre had difficulty getting the record released because of it’s unconventional nature and content, however he did eventually find a publisher who gambled on an initial 50,000 copy run. The album went on to sell over 15 million copies.
If you’re into ambient and electronic music I definitely recommend Oxygéne, as it pioneered those modern genres. The album consists of one continuous track broken into 6 acts, totaling about 40 minutes. I’ve often listened to it on repeat for hours while working. It’s available from iTunes here, although I must say that there’s something missing from the digital version because it lacks the organic hissing and popping of the original vinyl record.