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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Of the Blue Colour of the Sky/OK Go

Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky is the third studio album by OK Go, released by Capital Records in January of this year (and re-released last month on the band's own label, Paracadute Records, after their split with Capital/EMI).  The name of the album is a fraction of the much longer title of an obscure book published in 1876: The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Colour of the Sky: In Developing Animal and Vegetable Life; in Arresting Disease and in Restoring Health in Acute and Chronic Disorders to Human and Domestic Animals.  This was a pseudoscientific treatise arguing that blue light rays from the sun, and the color blue in general, was beneficial to the growth of crops and to the health of human beings.  The author, Augustus James Pleasonton, had known success as a general of the Union Army during the Civil War (which may explain his affinity for the color blue), but his theories never got any traction with the scientific community. The booklet accompanying the CD features a series of cryptic diagrams that "compare the album's lyrics to an excerpt of the book it is named after." (The specific excerpt is not identified.) Other graphs in the booklet "compare the lyrics with the entirety of Pleasonton's text."  The diagrams were created by artist and designer Stefanie Posavec, working with her collaborator Greg McInerny.  In an interview with the web site Made By Many, Posavec said: "The visuals were created through the analysis of themes, grammatical parts of speech, word syllable analysis, sentence length, and words common to both the lyrics and the book. . . . For the album cover Damian [lead singer Damian Kulash, Jr.] analysed the text and lyrics according to a set of key themes that were important to him..."  [Samples of the diagrams can be seen on Posavec's web site.] The booklet offers further explanation of the CD's cover art: "The front cover displays themes common to the book and the album. Each line represents a sentence, with the album's lyrics fanning to the left and the text of the book fanning to the right.  Each theme is represented by a color.  For sentences dealing with multiple themes, the colors are added together as light is, such that each theme's color both lightens and tints the resultant line." OK? Go!

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