Reefer Tunes – Colorado Reefer Mountain High – Album Review
Colorado! Aww! Look how cute you are right now! You’ve all got your bongs out at the ready…more than likely ready to absorb this new strain of music on Reefer Tunes from the mind of James Earley. Aww! I mean it guys…ever since you went legal…I just look at you all in a whole new & beautiful way!
BUT! As the great Snoop Dogg once said himself, ‘y’all just tryin to catch a ride – I been ridin.’
Not that it’s any kind of competition…in fact, checking out the 2014 social media on Denver’s Cannabis Cup event, there’s actually an ad for our own BC-inspired Northern Lights strain right there on the page. Truly – I am happy that the rest of the world is beginning to catch on; and they’re not just ‘catching on’ really – in many areas the United States are actually passing beyond our own progressive standards in many of their state-laws with actual legalisation and not just the famous blind-eye we experience in Canada. That being said…it’s also extremely amusing to see all these states light-up and blow clouds in unity when we here in BC have certainly been taking this for granted and celebrating this personal freedom for a very, very long time now.
Now…in an interesting twist here, James Earley has written these Reefer Tunes to enhance the particular strains they’re named after. I have always been honest with you dear readers, and I’ll continue to be now…I pretty much have no idea what I’m smoking, ever. Now I’m also not saying that this stops from doing so…’cause it don’t; but when you pass the halfway mark of your life and tip the scales in favour of more of your life spent smoking greens than not…the names all seem to become much less important over time. So do I have the right strain here to enjoy these Reefer Tunes? My answer is quite simplistic; always.
Do you? I don’t know. I also don’t know how much you enjoy synthesizers & keyboards…which, with no warning labels being affixed to marijuana related music, it doesn’t tell you that the album is dominated by. Again, for me…that’s more than alright…I live on all instruments that require a power outlet and have memory banks to save me from my own, which is similar to that of a goldfish due to the aforementioned long hours, days and years of smoking BC buds.
Starting out with “Blue Dream,” you get yourself a triple-A instrumental right away with this unique little ditty. Atmospheric in the sonic elements of the keys, it traverses between a light sound, followed by a little darker, then back into the full-brightness of the melody to end the song. These Reefer Tunes are also all-instrumental…that should be noted for you as well; Earley has left it up to your own imagination to fill in the blanks.
Right away into one of my favourite tunes of the six on Colorado Reefer Mountain High, “Flo” is a sweet piece of jazz-infused electro. It pulses along slowly and mellow, picking up with an extra synth melody just before the two-and-a-half minute mark that continues to build and add incredible texture to this cut as it plays through. Definitely a song that’s going to assist your sinking into the couch and floating away.
Picking up the beat, energy and past-influences a little more on “Tangerine Kush,” the drift into the mainline melody of this song is excellent after the string-synth opening. Definitely a keyboard player with some imagination and skill, no matter how enhanced those qualities might be… I really dig the groove of this track, the repetitive pattern of the string-synth works really well through the opening and into the middle as the other sounds join in. It echoes a lot of what was happening in the 80’s with synth; it’s very hypnotic, and as it burst brightly into the melody of the ‘chorus’ per-say, it sounds gorgeous.
Now…when I mentioned the whole thing about loving/not-loving synth in the opening paragraphs of this article, you might feel your threshold around the mark of “Critical Mass.” There’s nothing to take away from this song more than any other – but at this point the album is certainly noticeably all-synth as “Critical Mass” comes blasting at you full-speed. What I did love about this track was the breakdown a minute-and-a-half in. Great sounds here that ride out for almost a minute before sliding back into the beginning groove. A toss-up for me on this one…I suppose I felt this one came out a little ‘video-gamey’ for me overall in the main hook, but again, the middle of this track made it all worthwhile.
“Grape Ape,” makes me question a little bit about what James Earley is smoking! Up until here, he’s more or less invited you to relax and come on in with some fairly warm and comfortable tones and sounds. Here on “Grape Ape,” he’s switched up the tone to one far more dangerous, far more menacing. It’s like the kind of sound where you feel like you’d walk into a room with someone getting stoned to the music and peeling strips of wall-paper from their room from the ceiling to the floor in long-lengths until it’s all done. That being said – I also absolutely love this tune and my wall-paper needs to go anyway; seriously, great beat and excellent time to switch up the overall sound and vibe on Colorado Reefer Mountain High.
Almost taking the music into Rick Wright & Pink Floyd territory, “Sweet Island Skunk” blasts out synth from the lefts & rights around a bass-driven groove. This final tune restores the original overall vibe of these Reefer Tunes and brightens up as it heads into the organ-laden middle. As they strip away to only the bass & drum beat, it’s a purely excellent moment of clarity before giving way to another burst of synth leading the way with superb skill and instincts towards the end.
I dig it. Again, it’s heavy, heavy, heavy on the synth…but if that’s your favourite musical-meal, you’ll easily digest this like I did. If you’re into instrumentals and song-structure, you’ll find your way in easily. If you’re a part of the Top 40 crowd, well, no surprise here – you still can’t be helped, just move along. This is a music for the underground, one dedicated to their rise above ground as Colorado continues to grow strong strains of both Mary Jane and music of all kinds. Potent stuff here on Colorado Reefer Mountain High…I’d say it’s safe to say you can go get your bong out and have a rip through these synthsonic adventures and expect to find yourself in a fantastic mood for having done so.
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