Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Kelp - Underwater Journeydotdotdotdot
artworkSanta Barbara's Kelp has finally issued a CD, on CD-R entirely from tracks recorded on Phil Dirt's Surf's Up (KFJC) and Jim Dunfrund's Surf Waves (KXLU). Great consistent sound, exceptionally fine playing, unique and inspired writing, and a completely different surf sound. Digital reverb drenched, intelligent, and urgent.
Picks: El Alacran, Guardrail, Happy As A Clam, Piece Of The Action, Valiant, Shrimp Cocktail, Deadly Creature Below, Underwater Journey, Narcosis, The Road To Islay, The Liquidator, Last Call

Track by Track Review


El Alacran dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Live at KXLU on Jim Dunfrund's Surf Wave show, this is a haunting and mysterious track, rhythmic and dramatic. The seaweed are attacking the surfers. The progression supports a swirling melody line, with lots of psychotropic wave action. Great listening.

Guardrail dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This original is more a progression and an atmosphere than a song. It creates an intense visual of relentless water like might accompany a stormy surf ride in a video.

Happy As A Clam dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Debating the relative joy of a bivalve mollusk aside, this KFJC track is indeed a happy song, with a highly infectious hook, and a speed driven double picked lead line. It not only laughs with you, it also growls and howls. This is a fine song destined to be a modern classic.

Piece Of The Action dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and slithery intro builds gradually to moderately paced song with a meandering melody line. The overall effect is of a semi-chunky atmospheric piece with both gentility and ominous warnings. The construction of the ambiance is accomplished through a meandering around the base chords on guitar, while the bass and drums carry a beat that is not suggested by the guitar lines, but compliments them well.

Valiant dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A delicate and artful guitar solo begins this track, and that's not where the softness ends. The drums and bass gradually assert themselves in an appropriate fashion, as the song takes on a lithe and moody air, suggesting island breezes and glassy walls just outside, approaching with anticipatory danger. It combines the peace and tranquility with the impending power struggle. A very pretty track with dramatic changes.

Shrimp Cocktail dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Supercharged multidimensional music for a slurry ride... I don't know what that means exactly, but it came to mind while listening to this track. Like the Surf Trio's "Surfin' The Mill Race," this seems to have a slurry imagery about it, in lieu of the more unpredictable power of the sea. It seems bound by sides, channeled with purpose.

Deadly Creature Below dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Santa Barbara's lone surf contingent delivers a fine surf tune. It's not their best by any means, yet it holds it's own here with some pretty stiff competition. This is a good band. This song is a bit repetitious, but quite listenable, and it has an intensity all it's own.

Underwater Journey dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow and moody piece that creates it's ghostly drifting vision on solo guitar, then finds gentle drums and bass in support rising to the surface. It's a nice track, with a simple and almost aromatic character, like smelling the specter of the shark before you see it. Very cool song. There are several changes here, with an arrangement not without prog influences - complex and intelligent.

Narcosis dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kelp are a highly unusual band. They have a different sound, and write different songs... different in many ways, structure, arrangement, melody lines, etc. This is among their more unusual, melodic, interesting, and infectious. This was recorded live at KFJC on August 2nd, 1997 when Bernard Yin and Brazil 2001 brought them into our studio for the first time. I produced it direct to 2 track DAT.

The Road To Islay dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Urgent, intense, uneasy, and yet confident and cool. A relentless grinding dribbling of double picked notes, issued forth with considerable energy, and touches of ska lurking in the background. A strong though constant melody, with a natural bridge.

The Liquidator dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I don't think we're talking furniture here. This is ominous, intriguing, and trad based, with bits of spy and punkoidal rockabilly in the drums. It's interestingly structured, with unusual changes and melody lines, and a lot of drama.

Last Call dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An almost lounge lizard variation on the South Seas island ethic. Is it a last call before the bar closes, or the last call to the surf? I vote the latter, since the bar wasn't open when they played. It has a fine lilting melody, and an imagery of fresh salt air.