Tom Krell is the man behind How to Dress Well. His recent sophomore album Total Loss has been garnering a lot of positive attention since its release in September. With his cover of “Blue Crystal Fire,” he digs up a relatively obscure piece from the late American steel string guitar patriarch Robbie Basho, and gives it the How To Dress Well treatment.
While I was admittedly unfamiliar with the original Robbie Basho version of this song (which debuted in 1978), I found Krell’s cover captivating. It’s an intimate re-rendering that he dedicates to his brother (who’s middle name is Blue, apparently.) The track has a haunted feel which definitely comes through in the original as well. But the cover rings with Krell’s washed out vocals and signature warbling falsetto.
The track is both beautiful and sad. It has a ghostly quality which is apropos given the bizarre circumstances behind the death of its author. (Robbie Basho died after rupturing several blood vessels in his neck during a chiropractic adjustment that left him in a coma from which he never recovered.)
On that note… enjoy.