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Karl Blau
Nature's Got Away


4.0
excellent

Review

by Anodyne USER (2 Reviews)
October 28th, 2008 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


Karl Blau is a modest guy from the Pacific Northwest, one who wears plain clothes and doesn't seem to bother with shaving. His recordings are doused with tape hiss and less than fancy production style; these attributes are expected considering Blau's affiliation with Phil Elverum, another enigmatic songwriter whose constant stream of releases never seems to disappoint. After reading several interviews, it becomes obvious that Karl Blau is a guy without much pretense, preferring to remain open-minded and willing to submit to the flow of the music.

And that music is just as modest and enjoyable. With each recording his style varies, from lo-fi acoustic strumming to heavily rhythmic, out-there electronic jaunts. Blau's lyrics seem to be obscure in origin, directed more towards formless ideas and sounds than anything particularly concrete. This year seems to be a new launching point with Nature's Got Away, the follow-up to last year's rhythmic Dance Positive. A faint sense of nostalgia permeates throughout the record, much like Ariel Pink, another four-track disciple who draws on pop influences to create a vastly different sound. "Before Telling Dragons" is love lorn '60s pop music filtered through blotter paper. Blau's drowsy vocal delivery compliments the light plucking of guitars and clumsy, yet affable, drumming. With "Ghostly Appearance," we see one of the few signs of negativity. Backed by a repeated synthesizer riff, he proclais his loyalty to 'inferior' sound quality: "I'll take the hissing of noise any day, over crushed, compressed spirit meant to stay in its cage."

Nature's Got Away gets even better with "Mockingbird Diet," a subdued piece of guitar rock that contains some of Blau's most poignant and enjoyable lyrics. It's easy to draw comparison to Neil Young here, with slightly unfurled guitars wrapping themselves around simple and effective phrases such as "Nature's got a way of keeping itself occupied / Of keeping track of who lives and who dies" and "Simple at first can sound vague / Like, what is there for me to hold on to?" that work beautifully within the context of the music. "Stream of Ganders" is Blau at his most meditative, building on gorgeous vocal melodies and keyboard work until reaching a modest climax. Nature's Got Away at first feels insignificant until one notices the small quirks, the results of collective recording and live playing that probably would never have happened in a huge professional studio. This only adds to the album's charm, and plays into the hands of suckers like me who can't get enough nostalgia.


user ratings (10)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Anodyne
October 29th 2008


81 Comments


the review's a hit!

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
October 29th 2008


1600 Comments


Interesting review, and sounds like an interesting album too.

Review could have been tightened up in places, but still enjoyed it. And you've convinced me to check out the album.

Anodyne
October 29th 2008


81 Comments


i prefer the loosey goosey approach to review writing!

Anodyne
October 31st 2008


81 Comments


this isn't a bump and you shouldn't read my review

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 31st 2008


3742 Comments


i followed your advice

Doppelganger
November 2nd 2008


3124 Comments


i dig dance positive so i'll probably check this out

rasputin
November 7th 2008


14968 Comments


[quote=review]This sounds like Phil Elverum[/quote]
ohok, I'll check it out then.

Anodyne
November 7th 2008


81 Comments


thats wut i sed

MrKite
November 7th 2008


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didn't even think karl blau was on the site. great album, can't remember how i found out about it though.

DeafMetal
March 15th 2013


8598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

phenomenal record

DeafMetal
March 23rd 2013


8598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

top o the mornin baby u were born at the top of the world



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