Matthew Ebel - The High Orbit Holiday Special
Jul 5, 2021 (updated Oct 19, 2021)
WTF Albums Episode 8

Yeah ok it's been a while. I needed to find some proper motivation for this series. Like I don't just want "weird albums" anyone can make an album that sounds weird. I want shit that is so difficult to comprehend you need to revive a series in order to do so. And those usually come from the most simple of places. Not the noise rock Plunderphonics Metalcore experimental poopshit-core. Nah. Fuckin Christmas music.

Ok so recently for AOTD I heard this album by a group called Canned Hamm:

It was a very weird Christmas album that admittedly I could have done an episode of this series on but whatever. After listening however I got a strange memory returning to me from long ago.

When I was younger I used to use Pandora instead of Spotify. It helped me get into new music and is pretty instrumental in the development of my music taste. But that was only really when I started to hardcore listen to my Fleetwood Mac radio and then eventually Fleetwood Mac + Brockhampton collab radio (it was weird don't worry about it.) Before that, for a long while, the only musican I knew was Weird Al Yankovic. So all I had was a Weird Al radio to listen to because I literally didn't know any other musicans I could put into Pandora.

Now the thing about Pandora is that it's own little world. Whatever algorithm it uses decides some music you've never heard of once in your life is your new favorite thing and plays it 600 times. Hell sometimes it isn't even music. I had the same Jim Gaffigan comedy special played like 70 times until I stopped using it. There is very little genuine comedy music that's as mainstream as Weird Al I guess. That's why I remember this album so vividly. More accurately two songs from it.

This album is a Christmas album, about a guy singing with his robot. Seems simple. The two songs that always appeared was "Merry Christmas from Cell Block B" and more frequently "The 12 Days of Christmas in Space." Now what's interesting to younger me is that this album kept having callbacks and making refrences to this mysterious "high orbit." Giving their songs lore as well as making inside jokes. "A ship full of AOL CDs" "Does anybody even remember what that's still about" "Well anybody that's heard the High Orbit will know what the AOL CDs are for."

For some reason as a kid I always found these songs strangely comforting. Like this sci fi adventure story in a self contained universe. The songs were cheerful so I just embraced them with open arms and wished I could find out what this high orbit thing was. But alas I was dumb and couldn't google.

Flashforward to now, I get the flashback to then. I know how to Google now. I look up "Robot 12 Days of Christmas song thing" and after a bit of searching I find it. Childhood memories time. How does it hold up?

Well for starters WHAT THE FUCK IS THE HIGH ORBIT? I SWEAR TO GOD I'VE SPENT A LONGASS TIME LOOKING FOR IT BUT I CANT FIND IT ANYWHERE. The way this album is set up you'd think this is a constant thing. It starts off with an intro and an episode number. But there are no other episodes! How can you make callbacks if there is NOTHING TO CALL BACK TO. Checking this Matthew Ebel guy's socials and other music, beings up nothing. On twitter he just reposts marijuana and craft beer recipes as well as furries talking about the Republican Party. His other music seems more "normal" as well. As normal as you can call concept albums about a child bouncing through time Quantum Leap style.

The most I can assume then about this album is that it's pretending to be a long running radio show. That's the style it feels like. Long dialogue sections with sound effects thrown in from the Foley department. Hell this is more of an audiobook than anything, guess that's why Pandora had two songs. Though the robot does describe the album as fanservice and that they stopped making episodes so it's possible all the previous episodes have been deleted off the internet...though I doubt that because I still would have been able to find SOMETHING.

Ok so it's a story. A lil ol book. How is it? What's it about? Ok so this guy, I'm gonna call him "Captain" is hauling space cargo for a space shark and he gets attacked by space cops because it turns out that he's hauling STOLEN PRESENTS and is STEALING CHRISTMAS. Which is a HUGE DEAL BECAUSE... Christmas is actually capitalism stealing religious meaning from the holiday? So we're going to do a complete non-ironic genuine version of Away in a Okayyy so this is a genuine CHRISTIAN comedy robot space guy album? Ok sure why the fuck not. Let's go insane, it's fun to go insane.

This thing is very dated. Not even just refrence wise with those sick "2007 jokes." The captain's style of character is very "2008-2012 nerd culture." This style of guy is very out of date. Like a pathetic version of the 2008 Iron Man. I can't think of many examples besides the Guybrush Threepwood reboot, but if you listen to it you'll realize you haven't heard a character like this in a while.

This album also HEAVILY apes on two other things. The obvious one is that this owes a LOT of it's existence to MST3K. To the point you can kinda call it a ripoff almost. Man in space with two robots making fun of pop's more than just similar.

The other one is Jonathan Coulton. If you don't know him you do know him, he's one of those "invisibly influential" people who's made so much famous things behind the scenes. All We Want to do is Eat your Brains, Portal's Still Alive, Acoustic Baby got Back. He's done a lot. Now he has a very unique style of harmony and song structure that is very unique to him. You really can't hear it anywhere else... except for songs on here. Huh, fellow comedy musican mimicking other popular one. Very, very closely. Hmmm. Well at least Jonathan actually did work on MST3K for real.

Ok so.. Heavly Christian

Mst3k Ripoff

Christmas Based Audiobook


This albums big problem is that it's just kinda boring. I'm not a podcast fan at all and this is essentially just a podcast. It's a book with some Christmas songs thrown in, two actual comedy songs, and some occasionally jokes put into this plotline they are taking 100 seriously. Besides the only jokes they make are strange dated references or like NERRRRD culture ones. I never found myself actually laughing which is a bit of a problem.

I do not know how to rate the overtly Christian MST3K Bootleg Radio Serial. I am quite stumped on what to think of this. It's not very good and kinda a chore to listen to...but I really haven't ever heard anything like it. This is an album that you can only stare confused and dazed by. Because...why does this exist? That's the main question in my head? Why does this exist?

To spread the name of Christ through knockoff Crow I guess MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Play This On
"In the very Christian future
Next 2007 A.D.
There was a dated nerd named Matt
Not too different from you or me
Minus the Christian part"
@Charlise He worked at a Mormon institute.
Just another follower in khakis and a suit.
He did a good job converting others in the place.
But Jahovah didn't like him so they shot him into space.
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