By Ian Bremner
Whether his last record title, “Introducing Karl Blau“ was meant to be tongue-in-cheek or not, it certainly did the trick. The Northwest artist Karl Blau has more than 40 records in his catalog as lead horse of Anacortes’ Knw-Yr-Own/K Records, but it took partnering with the legendary Portland producer, Tucker Martine for Blau to fully introduce himself to indie circles beyond the Northwest. Martine plucked Blau from obscurity and asked him if he’d be willing to lend his incredible baritone voice to some vintage Nashville country cover songs. The result is a beautifully dusty country album which came to be called Introducing Karl Blau.
Though Introducing made serious waves in alternative country scenes, that’s not necessarily Blau’s wheelhouse. His previous material expands beyond everything from RnB, Afro funk, jazz and experimental electronica. For Introducing’s followup, Karl Blau went back to his unpredictable roots. Known to be a studio genius himself, Blau got with Matthew E. White who’s professional and personal relationships in music rival very few. White and his Spacebomb label had heard demos of Blau’s dating several years back and decided to get a band of close comrades involved including members of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Megafun.
Out Her Space, the new record from Karl Blau parallels his adventurous past, but builds on the production value and unique sounds that made Introducing such a great listen. Track by track, Out Her Space wanders all over the place, but it is by no means aimless. Each song has it’s entirely own personality.
Just as you settle in for some dubby folk music, you get hit with some gorgeous piano. When you are feeling the afro-jazz vibe of it, he will sneak in a country tune. Blau’s deep country croon can be heard in spots, but in most cases, it is switched out for higher, more whimsical vocals, yet equally as rich. Out Her Space is an audio nerd’s dream. Each time through, you can hear a new sound, all adding to the journey.
If you can keep up with Karl Blau, Out Her Space is good place to start. Now that we’ve been fully introduced, following him down all the different roads he chooses can be great fun. Actual outer space is not out of the possibilities at this point.
Listen to Out Her Space via spotify