Published Sep 23, 2008Despite a rapidly expanding catalogue, Karl Blau has yet to deliver that big career-defining album. Each time out, the tape hiss-loving Pacific North westerner dishes out a handful of gems, a few stinkers and several tracks in between, always hinting at greatness yet never quite getting there. But as Natures Got Away proves, hes getting closer. On Blaus second K effort, he embraces his more freewheeling side, taking on ultra-laidback jams that reveal an increasingly tender, more soulful Blau. In fact, he often comes off as a bit of folk-loving soul man, dropping heartfelt pieces of eccentricity that hint as much at peers Phil Elverum and Little Wings as Marvin Gaye and Sade. And its a good shift for the songwriter and his revolving cast of players, with the tracks sounding more realized, fleshed-out and, above all, grown-up than those by the Blau of old. Added up, it easily makes Natures Got Away Blaus most enjoyable album to date, not to mention one of his strongest.
Did you approach this album a lot differently than past ones?
Yeah, this record was about getting into the group spirit, where everyone was doing everything at the spur of the moment and learning the songs as we went. I just wanted that feeling where its really alive and lucid and not tied down.
With this record you talked about taking a "hands free approach and "getting out of the way of a happening. Could you elaborate?
Its about getting more and more aware of the flow of music, about not going against the grain. Its about finding which ways are really easy to make music and which ways are not, and taking the easy path that really just wants to happen.
Youve previously said that you try to replicate the music that you listen to. Does that still hold true?
Yeah, it does. Its not something I am super-conscious of but Im not afraid of doing that. I hope the art in my life is a work in progress. Im not going for any final product, Im just testing out different waters and hoping to eventually create something new. I havent really found what that is yet but it has been feeling more and more possible these days. (K)