photo by Lou Crisitello
Perpetual Doom and Dear Life Records present Karl Blau…Live from the Void. Recorded in secret one early morning in late 2019, this one-time session captures new material, old favorites, covers, and traces of birdsong. Performed for an audience of zero, in an abandoned amphitheater somewhere on the East Coast.
Far from the stately production of previous records, Karl’s voice—as crystal and blue as ever—rings out against the emptiness of an overgrown stage. These tracks are imprinted with evidence of their time and place: cold fingers on frets, leaves on empty seats, a sense of open space. Sounds that also resonate in our extended present. Hear Karl hold the final, warbling note on “The Sand.” Listen for the scratches on “Blue As My Name,” played as it was written, on solo guitar. It is a lonely record for lonely times, a little prophecy of days to come. And yet, for all that, the void is not quite empty. Not really. Every track has traces of friends and companions, distant but not absent. Originally recorded with his side project, Lovers Without Borders, “Stuck Inside Port Townsend (with a Pete Townshend Solo LP)” finds new depth in trading the original’s bright backing vocals for accordion and gusts of wind. Especially potent in this context is a cover of Little Wings’ “Paradise”: a little silly, deeply nostalgic, it sounds like a letter from better times.
Live From the Void is a transitional document for transitional days. It looks back to a year spent on tour with Jenny Lewis and anticipates a new record with producer Tucker Martine. For that purpose, the collection also includes previously unreleased tracks “Little, Pink Maggot” and “Walk It Back to Philadelphia,” songs that complement the amphitheater session in their spare quality. Yet that latter tune points to the possibility and hope contained in every track. Made with a four-track, featuring dubbed vocals and a forward-looking spirit, it imagines a new start for all of us in the city Karl now calls home: “Lord knows it’s healing time.”
releases on DLR: