Set, Setting, Tuneage seeks to share the experience of listening to music in our lives rather than the thinking of music in our minds.
|(T + 0:00 )||Goth Babe: Protect Our Winters||Audial||9:56|
It had been a full day. Leaving my work’s parking lot was like depressurizing my mind, an ease fell upon the space between my ears. Only three more … months of this. Whatever, what are you gonna do? I wasn’t on company time now.
It’s nice how quick the suburbs of Denver turn into spacious lots of hills and grasses as you drive to the foothills. In 15 minutes I was in a whole new view and mindset: at the base of the quaint little mesa of North Table Mountain, in the golden hour sunshine near Golden, Colorado, home of Coors Light. A morning dusting had left two inches of snow to melt throughout the Front Range. What remained made the surrounding mountains look like gingerbread pastries with confectioner sugar. The wispy pale clouds paired nicely as floating bubbles of almond milk. The blue sky looked like a blue sky.
That’ll take the edge off.
With a sand and dirt strewn floor, a myriad of gloves and outerwear, a disheveled pile of CD’s and a forgotten jar of weed in the center console, my car reflected what my life had felt like for the last two months: music, work and weed. I hadn’t spent any time during the week recently doing anything but working. Out here fooling around listening to music on a little jaunt was novel and welcome. The clouds cleared for the sun and I thought it as good a time as any to head off. A quick toke, put on my headphones and pressed play on Goth Babe’s Protect Our Winters EP and headed up.
The rubbery smyths bounce a sweet little melody on opener (T + 0:00) “Blue Skies,” with languid lips speaking of “another break in the clouds.” It’s like the song was made for this moment! The snap of the beat matches my pace while the drowsiness of Goth Babe’s (a.k.a Griffin Washburn) airy vocals matching the comfortable pace of my thoughts. I got three different groups of people huffing and puffing around me up the hill, a photoshoot with angels posing off in the grass and a neighborhood just below me buzzing with people getting back from a tired day of work. Everyone around me is working way harder than I am which is fine by me. I feel like I get to sit passenger on my own walk. Rapper Dre’es glides a Cudi-like flow over a slick little electro lick, I glide past a woman picking up her dog’s shit in a bag. I silently bet It’s there when I return.
The record is in support and promotion of the Protect Our Winters (POW) organization that seeks to turn outdoor enthusiasts into environmental activists. That’s a great cause and a great reason to get behind and I wonder if that will play into the music or themes of the record. As the finger-picked softness of “Laurelhurst” comes into clarity (T + 4:00) I start to feel the slight tension in my knees increase and really get to lean into the incline. A charged thump catches my internal metronome as echoed synths gleam on the beat like the sun catching the surrounding cliff of the mesa. The air is fresh on my breath.
“I Wanna Help Your Mind” pulses alive (T + 7:03) and I imagine the trail dilating in fabulous colors of lollipop boldness like it’s part of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Nature Preserve or something. The superimposed rainbow colors in my mind clash with the real surrounding browns, golds and greys, though it pairs nicely with the airiness of the music and mood. There’s no doubt Goth Babe’s music lends itselt well to kinetic energy and movement, the synths and sounds at the forefront of the mix as his vocals float along on an electric wind. The music doesn’t necessarily enhance the beauty around me ( I think that’s the weed) but it gives it sonic colors that weren’t there before that make it all the more interesting.
Just as I’m coming to the top, the music cuts out and I’m left with the crunch of my feet. Well, it was only an EP, 10 minutes is about right. The mesa reveals a panoramic view of the Flat Irons to the north, Denver to the east and a cloudy Red Rocks to the south. Spectacular, especially in this noble light. A deep, smiling breath. I notice joggers running back down. I should start over again to, so I do.
For the better part of 40 minutes I let myself saturate in the beauty of the day and the liberty of aimlessly wandering on top of the mesa. Protect Our Winters plays on and endless loop and I marinate in its poppy ease. I get up close to tiny drifts of snow and imagine it’s the view of a heli-skier surveying virgin lines in Alaska from 5,000 feet up. I pop up onto the rim to get a better view of Denver. Fat, cartoonish clouds float above the skyline. The city gives way to a golden opaqueness as you follow the land east to the horizon. Talk about building something out of nothing.
Further along I find the climbing wall on the western side of the mesa’s rim (T + 43:00). It’s a perfect chalice to climb out of and drink in the view of the rolling Front Range directly in front of you, stretching from north to south as far as you can see. If I climbed, I’d want to spend a day here figuring it out. I don’t, so I move on.
In a flight of inspiration I decide I’m going to jog down the hill (T + 51:00) like most the people who came before me that day. I pretty soon start to feel my momentum outsprint my legs and I quickly settle into this weird squat jog motion that keeps me pouding down the mountain without falling over. I’m moving as fast as I possibly can at this incline, chattering along to my final listen to “Blue Skies.” I passed by where I saw the squatting dog earlier … I was right.
At the end of it I don’t know how the themes of POW made it into the music of Goth Babe’s Protect Our Winter EP, but I dug it. It gave me an excuse to go screw off for a while and do nothing in a pretty place. I need to fill my days with as much of that as I can. For now, an hour will do just fine.