Green Tea :: Places + Spaces :: Plug Label
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

I once read somewhere that green tea can aid in weight loss by increasing a person's metabolic rate. I'm sure that Plug Label's own Green Tea wants to accomplish the same feat with his full length debut release, "Places + Spaces". It's about an hour of 1980's boogie influenced hip-hop, electronica, and disco music. Fellow Plug Label artist, Kero One makes a couple of notable appearances on the album, but for the most part, this album is all about the flavors of Green Tea's production.

"Places" opens with "Something Like This" which is a drum-heavy, slower track. It features Mark Arroyo on electric guitar and a scratched in vocal of "and it goes a little somethin' like this". An excellent way to start off the album in my opinion. "Maximum Joy" follows and is a bit more upbeat and busy. It also features the electric guitar of Arroyo, accompanied by synthesizers and bells. It's rather catchy and should get quite a bit of play in dance clubs around the world. "Dew Drops In The Garden" more prominently features the synthesizer sound in a lower octave, and the added bird chirps only boost the feel of the track. The consistent bassline, percussion instruments, and guitar playing by a gentleman billed as Vince, all make "Jazzy Joint" an interesting listen. Kero One makes the first of two album appearances on the funky, disco inspired, "Future Classic" as he raps:

"We get...d-d-d-down to the ground
B-girls and boys around
Drunk dudes and girls surround
You better move back, I'ma stand my ground
There's bigger fish to fry, the party is jumpin'
808 kicks, the bass is thumpin'
Throw ya hands up, fists are pumpin'
Girls check you out, like "Isn't he somethin?""

Things get instrumental once again with the mellow "Words Left Unspoken" and the uptempo "Parto Seguro", the latter sounds like another song destined to get lots of love in the dance clubs. The first time I listened to "Thinking Of A Master Plan", it reminded me of Willie Hutch's "Easy Does It". One of the funkiest tracks on the album comes in the form of "Eclectic Relaxation". Heavy basslines, hand claps, brass, and synthesizers all seem to meld together to form a sound that is overall...relaxing. Kero One comes back once more to lend verses on "Yes Party People", a song all about crate-digging and preserving the vinyl media format, he caps his verse off with "keep it alive", as he raps:

"Flippin' through tunes and stacks of wax for quality
Addicted to vinyl, my only cure is poverty
Gettin' fingers dusty in a number of states
It's a thrill, to make a kill, a hunt for chase"

Things come to a close with "The Waiting Game" and "Cruise Control 2.0 (Soul In The Hole Remix)". Just about everything on the second installment of "Cruise Control" is the same except for the inclusion of a woodwind instrument in the second half of the song. Overall, I'd say that "Places + Spaces" is a well crafted album that has something on it for just about anyone that is looking for an alternative to the spoon feedings of "music" that seem to be flooding the mainstream nowadays. Normally, I would gripe about the lack of actual rhymes, but it's almost as if they weren't needed. That's not a knock on Kero One by any means, it's just that the music stands on its own here. At times, these tunes make the listener want to chill, at other times, cruise around, and they will certainly make some listeners want to dance--a lot. Perhaps Green Tea will prove to be a good method for increasing metabolism and losing weight after all.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: August 25, 2009