Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reviews:: Karl Blau Dance Positive

I have to be completely honest. I had never heard of Karl Blau, D+ or Bret Lunsford, so the ambitious nature of this project is kind of lost on me. I mean, I appreciate the effort required for Dance Positive – Karl took songs by his former band mate and reworked them into a completely new form – but I don’t think knowing that effort really changed how I listened to the record. I found it hard to picture the song in any other fashion, and I think that’s ok. Instead of rock, Karl uses a reggae influenced, minimal electronic vibe that is as warm as a sun filled day at the beach.

I’ve always been a fan of the washed out electronica sound, but all too often artists find it necessary to muffle the vocals and the record becomes a continuous, solitary 45-minute track. Karl’s vocals are crystal clear and as a result you can easily appreciate the subtle varieties of the record. Well placed horns and guitar noodles add another layer to the reggae back beat, which really helps make this more than another electro dub album. The jazzy electric on Take You For Granted really adds a summery, relaxed feel to the track and lets you escape from the pulsing theme of the record without sounding out of place and he shines on the funk heavy Kill the Messenger. The dirty beat he constructs on Put Me Back fits nicely into the mix as well and the chimes really make What’s Not to Fall in Love with a head nodder.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the record is the obvious contrast in the style of the music to the lyrics. I think the fact the vocals have a rock theme (like the Americana themed “driving down the freeway and my load is oversized, thinking about the town I left and all those I despised" of Heatherwood) adds another layer of complexity to the simple, well crafted beats. The record avoids the obvious trap most reggae artists fall into and the themes are more accessible.

I’m sure a fan of D+ will have another take on the record, but from a first time listener, Blau’s beats and instrumentation really shine through for an enjoyable listen.
MP3:: What's Not to Fall in

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Posted at 1:45 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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