Quite interesting and very solid instrumental prog rock from California, US. The band exists already since 1984, and has produced 15 records since then, including this one, plus various side projects.
The name Djam Karet appears to be an Indonesian for “Elastic Time” and should be pronounced like 'jam care-RAY’, which has everything to do with their original music back in 1984, which was mostly playing life rock jams. And that, actually, they keep doing until now, even having regular day jobs next to playing rock. Well, except of the keyboard player Gayle Ellett, who is the only professional musician in the band. Which only means, that he hasn’t got any other job besides of making music. All of the band members are really great musicians.
The latest record of the band, “The Heavy Soul Sessions” is composed of the covers of their own songs from earlier albums, “A Night For Baku” (2002), “Suspension & Displacement” (1991), “Recollection Harvest” (2005). The only exception is the cover of Richard Pinhas’ “Dedicated to KC”, from his 1982 album “L'Ethique”. Some band funs believe these covers sound even better then the originals. I can’t say that. This is the first time I am confronted with this fantastic band, but I liked it!
By the way, Pinhas appears as a guest on a side project Ukab Maerd, conceived by Chuck Oken and Gayle Ellett. Ukab Maerd (Baku Dream backwards) makes electronic ambient music, also quite interesting. The review of their first album “The Waiting Room”, released in the same 2010, will appear soon on www.prog-nose.org
I guess, from the title of that song, “Dedicated to KC”, you already can conclude, from what kind of music legacy the group has derived its style. Yes, of course, King Crimson is the strongest influence they suffered from. But who’s not? However, this band managed to create its own style. Two superior guitar players, a very technical bassist, imaginative keyboard player and a drummer that can stand right next to Bill Bruford, generate a dense and enveloping sound. There are these fierce guitar improvisations, distorted bass, melodic mini-moog and mellotrones, enriched with digital synths and other effects.
It all sounds fresh and spontaneous on this record, played live in the studio, without overdubs and computer manipulations.
This record is honestly recommended to anybody who is looking for an entrance into the world of Djam Karet, or to the DK funs who would like to revisit the old stuff.
1. Hungry Ghost (8:32)
2. The Red Threaded Sexy Beast (12:42)
3. Consider Figure Three (9:48)
4. The Packing House (12:56)
5. Dedicated to KC (9:48)
6. The Gypsy and the Hegemon (10:55)
Gayle Ellett - keyboards
Mike Henderson - guitars, effects
Aaron Kenyon - bass, effects
Mike Murray - guitars, effects
Chuck Oken, Jr. - drums, voices
on Sunday 20 February 2011 - 16:03:01