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Nature's Got Away

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Album Review

The growing freak folk movement in the Northwest has led to an outpouring of lo-fi artists who are strapping on ukuleles and making bedroom recordings for the first time. Released in the midst of all this, Karl Blau's Nature's Got Away comes off like the work of a seasoned pro in comparison — that is, a seasoned pro in the game of slop. If Calvin Johnson engineered a Nick Drake album with Money Mark helping out on the instrumentation, it would probably sound a lot like this. With Blau mellowing a touch after 2007's Dance Positive, the songs are traditionally gritty lo-fi numbers with subtle organ nuances and laid-back shaker grooves ducked behind his autumnal acoustic strumming and gentle, buttery voice. Four-tracked in the cavernous environs of Dub Narcotic Studio, the production is suitably murky enough to fit within the charm of K Records' catalog, and considering the tight camaraderie of the K Recs roster and Blau's previous collective, Knw-Yr-Own, it's not a surprise that he invited some friends from the indie music pocket to help out with his creation. Ten Olympians and Portlanders — including members of the bands Chin Up, Meriwether!, LAKE, and Sunn 0))) — lend their hands and mouths to the record, as well as Hush artist Greg Olin, who returns the favor to Blau for his appearance on Graves' album Easy Not Easy. The musical-chairs, pass-the-guitar-to-your-neighbor, press-record-and-see-what-happens, ultra-lax vibe of the record makes for a quirky and esoteric release, but that doesn't mean that it's not good-natured and utterly hummable. After ten years of making records, with 15 or so never seeing a proper release, Karl Blau's second release for K measures up as one of his most cohesive and folky to date, and also one of his best.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Working out of the small town of Anacortes in northern Washington state, Karl Blau has released several cassettes, as well as a CD, Shell Collection, on the small Knw-Yr-Own label. Shell Collection, from 1997, is comprised of four-track recordings that are among the more intriguing and versatile sounds to have come out of the lo-fi indie underground. With a vibe that is both down-home and whimsical, Blau grafts parts of winsome folk-rock onto lazy jamming blues, vintage rocksteady reggae, high '70s...
Full Bio
Nature's Got Away, Karl Blau
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