Elevate Difference


“When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras,” admonishes the medical aphorism. There are some quiet percussive hoof beats in “Goodbye Little Song” and other tracks on Karl Blau's new twelve-song release, Zebra.

“Waiting for the Wind” opens with bells that sound like wind chimes and a relaxing vibe. The tempo picks up on “Dark Sedan Returns,” but returns to a righteous sedateness. These are tunes that I wouldn't mind falling asleep to—but in a good way.

The jazz on Zebra is not paint-peeling experimentalism, but strolls between the strangely soporific and strongly folkish. Masterful, evocative, with a kind baritone, the entire project seems somewhat pop-ambient, folk-ambivalent, and has a global flair; the African influence is evident. Karl Blau is a well-traveled musician. He has toured Japan twice, Europe last spring, and both coasts of the United States. He's currently touring with LAKE, but perhaps Africa is next.

“Black with white stripes or white with black stripes?” asks Blau's MySpace page. The alternating stripes mean that this is not a bad zebra to think of.

Written by: Erika Mikkalo, December 18th 2009