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Musical Inspiration

I’ve been listening to a lot of great tunes in preparation for Nebula Jazz and, maybe more than any other game, I think music will have a big impact on the game itself and how I introduce themes, etc. I wanted to start up a new thread to share some of the musical inspiration I’ve had for the game so far.

Hope you find something you like!


So, the first album I’ve been listening to a lot is Janelle Monae’s album “The ArchAndroid”. It’s a funky R&B / psyche pop album that “involves the fictional tale of Cindi Mayweather, a messianic android sent back in time to free the citizens of Metropolis from The Great Divide, a secret society that uses time travel to suppress freedom and love”. Janelle is amazing and this album is so great.

This is my favourite track on the album: and it features BigBoi from OUTCAST (who are also amazing if you’re looking for weird and funky - Andre3000 is a boss.)


Another album that’s been getting a lot of background play while I prep for the game is Ornette Coleman’s “The Shape of Jazz to Come” from 1959. It’s an idiosyncratic, avant jazz album that really does some very neat things for its time. I love this album for the bold declarative statement it makes about what jazz ought to be.

You can listen to it here: and imagine what it might be like if aliens from another galaxy discovered a copy of this LP…


Directly inspired by Ornette Coleman’s 1959 classic, Swedish hardcore punk band Refused put out The Shape of Punk to Come in 1998 and it’s basically a near perfect album. Folks don’t all dig on the vocal style but if you can get behind the insane fusion of punk, jazz, rock, electronic and hardcore in this album you’ll have something that sticks to you forever. I love punk and I love smart punk even more.

Check it out here:


Something I’ve been listening to a ton of is the Weeknd’s new album, Starboy. It’s not something I directly would have attributed to inspiring me for Nebula Jazz, there’s something so great about the dark swagger this album just oozes that I can’t help but find inspiring. If anything, this album is going to be the kind of thing that inspires a real asshole NPC. Someone who doesn’t mind lording their wealth and power over you.

The title track is right here:

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That’s awesome I didn’t know about the Coleman inspiration! Guess I have some jazz to listen to!

Something else that, while a lot more frantic than the rest on the list, I’ve been turning to for inspiration is the Venetian Snares album Rossz Csillag Alatt Született. It’s a breakcore album and is, as you’d imagine, like a bag of marbles thrown onto the surface of a frozen pond. What ties it to Nebula Jazz, for me, is this track, which is a remix of the Billie Holiday song “Gloomy Sunday” and always gives me chills.


The idea of a Starboy-inspired NPC is really exciting. Sorta get Mustafa/Rajani vibes.

*Made me think of this: More positive though…

So, if there is ever a schmaltzy love scene where one PC puts on a record and does a little solo dance to try and seduce another PC, this is the song that will be playing. Just imagine a blob creature dancing to this:


Dipping out of the jazz / soul / r&b pool and looking at the close-proximity mod jam, I could definitely see this playing in the background of some weird space club while the PCs gamble away some ill-gotten gains at space craps.

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This is great. When I first saw the title of Nebula Jazz, I immediately attached to it Yoko Kanno’s sound design. Now It seems like I am getting a more unique picture behind the design. Without giving in to overanalyzing a few stray variables in your creative process, I feel like we are in for a look into a very interesting view of what might be.

I think Astronoid’s new album, with its unique mix of shoegaze, pop, dreamwave and metal can give a cool twist to the game.

My knowledge of jazz comes form films. From the golden age of Hollywood Black and white films to the Mask(edit: the song I am thinking of here is swing not Jazz :itmejpfml: ) and Blues Brothers.

However when I think about this cast I think about the intro to Jeeves and Wooster (mix of Jazz and swing I think) . The fun of the tune in my head fits well with the cast.

If you need something else to fuel your creative muscles, have a listen to electro-swing group Caravan Palace. If I had to recommend a few songs I would go for:

Star Scat

Jolie Coquine

12 Juin 3049

I can imagine the character sitting in the bar whilst the robot band helps everyone to unwind, or relaxing in the ship (whatever takes their fancy).

If you need abit more persuading, They recently posted an interesting cover of black betty on their youtube channel.

Don’t know if it will help but what about Nina Simone “Sinnerman”

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but a great OST all the same

Fragrance of dark coffee in particular is great.

Maybe it’s less offbeat, but I’d argue that the Grim Fandango-soundtrack could work as inspiration for some settings. You never know when the players need to fraternize with some high rollers!


your mention of janelle monae brought to mind the arch afrofuturist: sun ra

Listening to Fragrance of Dark Coffee when you have Rainymood on in the background creates an awesome Noir feeling.

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Amazing stuff so far! The Shape of Punk to Come is an old favourite of mine. :slight_smile:

I have two artists I would like to throw in the ring and they are quite different.

Danielle Dax is perhaps better known for being part of the post-punk band “Lemon Kittens,” but her solo work is great and could fit into the setting, especially the album “Blast The Human Flower.”

Yasmine Hamdan brings a great and very playful mix between her Middle Eastern origins and electronic pop to the table. Her album “Ya Nass” is the perfect background music for a fancy space bar.