Bluniverse brings the focused serenity of a Vermeer 

click to enlarge BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods

On a recent trip to New York, I found myself in the Met, down in the basement, in front of a wall of paintings of the Dutch Masters. The phrase “Dutch Masters” is sort of silly and mainly makes me think of the first time I saw a Dutch Masters cigar box in my grandfather’s basement and then about blunts and how I really don’t get it, wrapping delicious weed in a shitty cigar wrapper. But it’s also a weird phrase because, to me, none of the others seemed close to masterful beside Vermeer. It was like watching a JV high school team play against the Nuggets — they’re playing the same game but Vermeer does it at such a different level.

I’m not just filibustering with this little reflection on art, because the thing that makes Vermeer different is something about the quality of the light, the way it fills the space and deepens it, lightly, without simply glossing or brushing over it. On some level, Vermeer paints the sensation of being stoned, the palpable change in atmosphere after a toke.

I know I’m not the first person to wax poetic over Vermeer’s light — there’s a fucking industry of it. But I might be the first to notice its relation to stonedness. Look at any of those sublime paintings of women sitting alone in a room — ”Young Woman With a Lute,” for instance — and imagine a little bowl and the table and take a hit of a nice hybrid like Bluniverse, and you’ll feel like she is right there with you, stoned and staring out the window. At least that’s how I felt when I took a big hit of Bluniverse, a beautiful cross between Ms. Universe and Blue Magoo. It is a hybrid that shares the same quiet feeling of a Vermeer, like you’re wrapped in your own world as craziness unfolds just outside the window. It’s a focused serenity, the kind of feeling you imagine, also, that Duke Ellington had, also probably weed-inspired, when he wrote “Transblucency,” an attempt to write a song that felt like a blue fog. I mention the song because it has something like the effect of Vermeer’s light at the moment when the wordless female vocals come together with the clarinet, to reach an entirely new tone, called a heterodyne, which is a useful concept in contemplating Bluniverse, which allegedly creates an entirely new phenotype from the combination of its parents’ genes.

That’s where, spitballing, I think the serene sense of focus comes from. There’s a strong Sativa wakefulness artfully blended with a chill Indica drowse and since they both happen simultaneously, it’s like light and shadow in a painting and clarinet and vocals in the blue fog song.

That same heterodyne effect comes through in the nose, which is defined both by a minty diesel musk and a bright lemon zest that combine into a cocktail for the nostrils embodied in a beautiful still life to leave on the table as you stare out the window.

Strength: 7
Nose: Gas-soaked mint and lemon
Euphoria: 9
Existential dread: 3
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 1
Drink pairing: Amaro and Rittenhouse Rye
Music pairing: “Transblucency” by Duke Ellington
Rating: 9


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