If you’re going to journey to a far away destination like 5th Echelon, it probably helps if you have a spaceship that can carry you there. Even if that journey is a metaphorical travel to the inner recesses of your mind, to see what dark and strange thoughts you can find, you still need a way to take that trip. Judging by the music and lyrics of OFWGKTA they probably trip a lot, and The Jet Age of Tomorrow duo of Mart Martians and Hal Williams probably trip more than most.
Jet Age is best served by the fact their first official album “Voyager” was released for free in 2010 through their Tumblr page for a variety of reasons. In their typically rude and in your face manner, Golf Wang describes this album as a “fucking album full of off-kilter and unorthodox sounds” and just to make sure they make up for a lack of lyrics on it swear a little more and call it “fucking instrumentals on some space type sci-fi shit.” Well how a-fucking-bout that? The description is accurate though. If this was pressed up on a physical CD, record stores would have a hard time figuring out where to shelve it. It’s not quite hip-hop, even though there’s a hard slapping beat to the opener “Welcome Aboard Voyager.” Eventually a flight attendant informs you that you’re over 53,688 hours from getting back to Earth. That works out to 2,237 days or over six light years away.
For a voyage that long, you’d probably want an album more than 45 minutes in length – in fact you’d probably want to be in suspended animation for 99% of the flight. Regardless the amount of material here fills less than one of those 53 thousand hours, and seems to go by even faster than that. Sentiments of any kind are few and far between, though “Can I Hold Your Hand?!” is a rare glimpse into this duo’s psyche.
“Again, again, once again
Those eyes, win, again
I’m hooked, and, she knows
God, please, let, me know (just send me a sign)
Can I hold your hand?
Just let me inside, inside of your brain
Just for this night
You, have captured my heart
We’ll never be apart
Just stick out your hand”
It’s puzzling at first that on an otherwise otherworldly journey, Matt and Hal are talking about something as mundane and ordinary as being infatuated with a girl. Their sentiments though are sweet, especially given many of Golf Wang’s members tell tall tales of raping innocent young ladies and then cooking their body parts in a deep fat fryer afterward. That’s another good reason for “Voyager” to be free – even though Jet Age (also known as The Super 3) are widely acknowledged to be part of the OFWGKTA movement, they don’t often SOUND like it. Unless the more well known members like Tyler, the Creator rap over their beats, they don’t sound that “ODD” at all. They sound more like lonely young men escaping the doldrum of their lives fantasizing about space travel and meeting women, with the two often and easily being confused for each other, or as they say on “Strobe Light” –
“Let’s fly away, we on an alien ship
I’m in you, but you ain’t mine on some alien shit”
The songs on “Voyager” are almost best defined by what they’re not – they’re not acid jazz, trip-hop, techno or pop. They’re definitely sci-fi though, and often remind me of the SID chiptunes you’d get on great Commodore 64 games. At times the song titles seem longer than the tracks, such as on “They Dove Through the Ice Into the Unfathomable Depths of the Abyss.” That actually might have been a better title for the album than “Voyager,” a single word that just doesn’t do enough to define this strange musical journey. Just when you’re about to let your mind drift off into outer space with them, songs like “Lisa, Where Have You Been?” drag you back down to Earth and remind you that they speak less than the rapping members of the crew for a reason. It’s not just that their sentiments are sappy, it’s that they’re not very profound. As such the wordless tracks like “Don’t Tell the Mermaids” and “Revenge of the Ranger Wranglers” are easier to enjoy. Eventually the duo would find a better balance between their flights of fancy and being musically grounded, but on this earliest release the journey is fraught with some aural peril.