To get an idea of what Karl Blau’s new album is all about, we might pay attention to the title: Nature’s Got Away. Obviously, “Nature” has “gotten away.” To where it is going or from where it is leaving is left unsaid and unknown. The only thing we know is that it is Nature that is doing the leaving. No one has rejected it, and therefore, no blame is placed; Nature has simply got away. This non-critical stance is useful in our understanding of the work as a whole, which represents something like a return to Nature.
For this album, however, it’s not really talking about Nature in the sense of vines and trees; it’s talking about a natural flow of rhythm and melody, of the natural whims and flights of fancy branching off the will of the musician. It is this sense of unimpeded production and destruction that Karl Blau returns to. There is nothing arranged or scored on the album, no engineers credited in sound production. In basic terms, this is art without artifice, creation without orchestration, an aesthetic without technique or theory that one comes to “appreciate” rather than enjoy.
Accordingly, each track on the album appears to have had fairly simple planning, the majority kept in time only with the most basic snare drum rhythm. This rhythm remains unchanged for most of the songs it appears in, giving the guitar and vocalists a chance to elaborate upon their own melodies, which happens quite frequently, and is prime example of the album’s unconstrained atmosphere, though the term “unconstrained” is perhaps even too harsh. The album is simply relaxed, never going to the effort of making a statement of itself and never going too far into extremes.
This is also represented by the album’s sound production. It is not quite lo-fi, and certainly not polished. It lies comfortably in the grey, somewhere in between, neither trying to create a finished product nor going out of the way to find a working Panasonic RX-F9 with cassette recoding capability from 1991; the production value of Nature’s Got Away is akin to what most college bands have at their disposal: adequate sound recording. As a result, the album squats upon an unhurried piece of neutral ground, strumming out electric folk tunes and giving concession to any wail or whisper that comes to voice itself. Nature’s Got Away is the voice of an easy-going whimsy, the ripple on a river.
Woelv – Tout Seul Dans La Foret En Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur
Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving
Mt. Eerie – No Flashlight: Songs of the Fulfilled Night