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Posted on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 5:08 a.m.

Local musician Scotty Karate hopes to go back to future with vinyl campaign

By Ann Dwyer


Scotty Karate

Melanie Maxwell |

It’s as though Scotty Karate can’t do things the usual way, even for a musician.

He doesn’t want to just put out an album. He wants to do it on vinyl. He doesn’t just write music for himself. He also writes music for robots.

Over the last four years, while living both in Michigan and New York, Karate has been writing music for his latest album, “Secret Land of Leather Horse,” with Scotch Bonnet—a band consisting of Karate, Derek Stanton and Dave Niles, though other musicians also contributed.

While musical acts often put out their work on inexpensive CDs, Karate wants to create something that lasts.

“I’m really happy with the product. I want to put it on vinyl so it would be around a while,” Scotty said from his family’s lakeside property near Dexter.

He has started a campaign page to raise funds to the press the album on the traditional medium.

Vinyl is a fitting format for what Karate calls an album featuring a psychedelic sound with a touch of spaghetti Western.

“The sound overall is not exactly lo-fi…It has a good vibe, early '60s,” he said. “This is music I have been working on for a very long time. It finally came together in just the right way.”

But don’t expect anything too familiar from a one-man band like Karate. Although he said that this album will focus on his vocals, he is backed by a wide variety of instruments, including a pump organ he found for free on Craigslist.

Of course, this is a man charismatic and eccentric enough to have a beer named after him (Dark Horse Brewery’s Scotty Karate Scotch Ale), so it somehow makes sense Karate has also been busy composing music for robots.

Working with League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) out of New York, he wrote music that was programmed into the robots.

“I taught the robots how to rock,” he said.

The company has sold robots to Pat Methany, who has been touring with them since.

Karate is now back in Michigan, taking care of family.

As for his album, Karate hopes to book more shows if he raises enough funds for the album to be pressed. But he's already booked a gig at Woodruff’s on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Karate’s Kickstarter campaign ends Sept. 6.