The Kelp Dwellers come to the surface..

Aqueous Music

The Kelp Dwellers resurface to soothe land-lubbers with their watery style of instrumental Southern California beach rock.

The Kelp Dwellers’ music ebbs and flows in a place between progressive, surf and psychedelic rock. The band’s sound is similar to surf music in that it is electric guitar-based instrumental rock with exuberant drums that is the perfect accompaniment for your sunny day at the beach. That said, they are not trying to emulate the typical tones, heavy reverb, and chord structures of classic surf music. The Kelp Dwellers music is composed on electric tenor guitar and electric mandocello, creating melodic structures that are more harmonically open with the chords fresh-sounding. The band also utilizes complex arrangements and dreamy passages that are found in progressive, jazz fusion, or psychedelic rock. The music is upbeat, optimistic, instrumental jazz-rock for travels under, on, and over the ocean.

The music of the Kelp Dwellers is inspired by the ever-changing light reflecting through ocean waves and by the desire to spread a little jubilation for all creatures of the sea, real and imagined.

The framework of every piece on the album (tenor guitar, bass, drums) was recorded live at Craig Kahn’s recording studio in Topanga to capture the feel of a real band playing together. Later, Montgomery overdubs guitar, lap steel, keyboard, and synth in his home studio in Malibu. Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet) also contributed fantastic guitar work on most of the tunes. S​urfacing​ is meant to be listened to as a whole, like a classic album from the 1970’s. Montgomery concludes, “for us, the Kelp Dwellers music is as much about camaraderie as it is about creating music.”

The album “Surfacing” is available on CD and as a download only at kelpdwellers.com
All music composed, produced and mixed by Todd Montgomery

The Kelp Dwellers are;

Todd Montgomery: electric tenor guitar, electric mandocello, lap steel, electric guitar, keys, synths Gayle

Ellett: bass, 6 and 12-string guitar, piano

Craig Kahn: drums




The Kelp Dwellers

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Kelp Dwellers: Surfacing full album digital download

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Press Kit

The debut record, "Surfacing" by the Kelp Dwellers coming early 2021!

Inspired by the Ocean, imaginative science fiction narratives, and innovative guitar bands, the Kelp Dwellers' music is upbeat, optimistic, instrumental rock with a dash of psychedelic adventure thrown in for good measure. 

Kelp Dwellers: Surfacing

Kelp Dwellers: Surfacing

Sample Video

Sample Track

Press Photos

Craig, Todd, and Gayle

Craig, Todd, and Gayle

Craig Kahn

Craig Kahn

Todd Montgomery, Gayle Ellett

Todd Montgomery, Gayle Ellett



Electric Tenor Guitars 

Here are the tenor guitars that are the harmonic foundation of the Kelp Dwellers music. Eastwood Mandocello, Fender Tenor Tele, Eastwood Classic Tenor, and Eastwood Astrojet Tenor. They are tuned GDAE, and are really octave mandolins. This helps give the Kelp Dwellers a unique guitar sound. 

Musician Bios

Gayle Ellett

bass, electric Guitar, electric 12-string, ebow, piano

Gayle Ellett plays bass and electric guitar on Surfacing. Ellett remarked “It’s really enjoyable playing music with Todd and Craig! They are such great musicians, they are very positive, and they love to work hard, so it’s been a real treat to play music with them.” Ellett is a founding member of the Progressive Rock group Djam Karet. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist who has played on over 120 albums, scored music for numerous feature films and 60 different TV series worldwide, and currently plays in 9 bands. When he’s not busy recording in the studio, he can often be found wandering the mountain trails near his home in Topanga, California.

Craig Kahn


Craig Kahn, reacting to a question about playing drums with Kelp Dwellers, answered , "It's so much fun playing with Gayle and Todd.  As a drummer, the most important things to me are locking in the groove with the bass player and playing music that allows me to express myself.  With Gayle I've got the former and with Todd's music, the latter".  As well as getting ready to start recording on the next Kelp Dwellers album, Craig is involved with a new project with Gayle and is recording with a band consisting mostly of pediatric cardiology doctors from around the world, the BBSC, who donate all proceeds from album sales to pediatric health care.  When not playing music Craig can be found running the trails near his house in Topanga, California.


Todd Montgomery

Electric tenor guitar, Electric Guitar, lap steel, electric Mandocello, synths, ebow, piano

Todd Montgomery composed, produced and mixed all the music on Surfacing. "I am awe-struck in gratitude to Craig and Gayle for helping to realize this vision of the Kelp Dwellers. It's quite remarkable to be able to bring a challenging piece of music to players, and have them be able to create inspirational parts  almost instantaneously that take the music to a higher level, and they are friends, and we all enjoy the process! Montgomery is best know for playing acoustic instruments for the last 30 years. He made 3 critically acclaimed records with Ellett in the band, Fernwood. He has played Blue Grass, traditional Irish music and studied classical Indian music on the sitar with Hari Har Rao, Ravi Shankar's oldest student. When not working the Kelp Dwellers, you can find him teaching special education at Malibu High School and somewhere around the kelp beds North of Malibu.