Thursday, July 26, 2007


On his MySpace page, Portland musical mutant Karl Blau ends his latest diary entry this way:

Steve and Clyde and I watched this UNIVERSE special on the science channel last night that said the sun is so loud that it's like having stadium speakers blasting on every square foot of the surface of the sun. peace.

That pretty much sums up the cosmic plane this indie-ot savant is working on and we're all blessed for it. Blau washed up on our shore when we discovered he was the mysterious singer behind the magnificent (and perhaps definitive) version of Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis." Like Driftwood fave Little Wings -- with whom he's recorded -- Blau is never more than a few soft, leafy steps from the cosmic forest, enshrouded with majestic fern leaves and darkening down a path to a kelp-covered beach and a moonlit cove. If a musical sensibility could be made to contain that image, Blau's does -- and how! As Mr. Poncho and I learned on our recent retreat to The Driftwood Jam-o-tron -- a musical teleportation device built from a Toyota stereo system and fueled by a popular cash crop (hint: not ethanol) -- Karl Blau has the power to summon Northeastern Native American seal spirits. He's basically the musical equivalent of Swamp Thing. Or better yet: Kelp Thing. A close relative of Hemp Thing, too.

On the earthly plane, Blau's just a flat-out visionary for starting a monthly subscription service in which he sends you new CD's and LP's he's concocted in whatever moss-covered lab he calls home. This is from his bio on the K Records website.

About 2 years ago I started an "album-a-month club" called KELP! monthly. KELP! is a documentary label tracing my musical path, an avenue for my over-active creative side. People who enjoy the mystery subscribe up to a year and start receiving my records which have included--but will not be limited to--full length albums of mine and artists I'm producing, field recordings, compilations of artists and ambient art records.

Here's the tune that launched the Jam-o-tron into a stalactite-encrusted exploration of animated Alaskan cave drawings and a psychic dance with a vine-covered entity we'll just call Mr. Greenstone.

Dark, Magic Sea - Karl Blau

He also performs as "Kelp!", inventing beautiful amalgamations of Sun Ra, early ska and Lee Scratch Perry.

The Dance of the Reed Pipes - Kelp!

International Call - Kelp!

1 comment:

E. Blanco said...

My dreams have been answered. Karl Blau slaps me good with briny waves that I can breath through my neck gills. Thanks for the hook: Blau Wow Kelp Songs.