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Djam Karet - A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof CD (album) cover

A SKY FULL OF STARS FOR A ROOF

Djam Karet

 

Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 47 ratings

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Steve Conrad
4 stars You may notice the universal and the particular:

It's a thing of beauty in this the nineteenth full-length album, from DJAM KARET, the "Greatest Undiscovered American Band".

In this, the 35?year anniversary of the band.

In this, the multi-layered, complex, lovely- dare I say it, spiritual? examination/meditation upon the quotidian-to-the- eternal which humans sometimes laughably believe we can actually grasp.

Forgive me if I get too personal:

Because of the particular arc of my life and my musical journey, because of my own soul-sickness, because for a time I almost lost the music that teaches me more than anything else can, I was one of those who did not encounter DJAM KARET before this.

Nor did I for many years have, or take time to carefully listen to music- maybe an album in the background, or a sequence of songs on the 8-track, or cassette, or radio?those antique modes of listening you may or may not have encountered.

But it's one reason I review albums:

?since I am then honor-bound to carefully listen! to carefully experience, to give voice to what I'm hearing?since for me music IS particular and universal at the same time.

And in this case, "A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof" touched many levels of response for me.

I pay homage to this creative collective, having some experience over the years with the fellowship of working within a band-setting. Having some experience with writing and collaborating- the energy, the joy, the grating frustrations, the demands of rehearsals and gigs, setting up and tearing down, living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sharing a room with other fellows in a small house, driving the endless miles and staying in the one-star motels?

I can't help but respect what original members guitarists Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson, bassist Henry J. Osborne, and drummer Chuck Oken, Jr. have weathered, survived, encountered, and created over the years.

There is no shortage of ideas and musical richness:

I listen and I take notes. Again and again as I listened to "A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof" I found myself using terms like " twinkling", or "shimmering", or "meditative", or "exquisite" or even, "a bed of whir".

The musical richness is for me due to the way the modern instrumentation is intermingled with the ancient and world instrumentation, like the cumbus or surmandel or bouzouki.

What does it say about a band, and about its members, who refuse to stay located in one place, who reach for broader brushes, who envision and hear strains and melodies and textures from many traditions and from around the globe?

Lots of Google searches (musical instruments from around the world):

Each of the exotic (to me) instruments has a history, a tradition, has a resonance in the cultures and times from which they emerged.

The twinkling, the shimmering, even the chittering of sounds, whether from field recordings or use of the Andean charango, or the synthesizer, the mbira or the mellotron, bring me into the presence of this richness, and somehow- perhaps because a friend recently posted on the absolutely dire conditions in which we presently find our planet due to the persistent recklessness of human consumption of resources- I found myself entranced, and yet wrapped in tragedy.

What we can today celebrate and in which we can rejoice- the diversity, the fecundity, the beauty, the mystery- perhaps all too soon, may be gone forever.

Not that the vastness of that "Roof of Stars" may even notice.

But I wanted to grasp as fully as I could within my own loves and limitations, what I am hearing.

What I am hearing:

The heartbeats of nimble imaginations meditating on rich, gentle, universal musicks.

One may refer to Pink Floyd here- with just that sweeping, guitar-led, synthesizer-laden passage, or to King Crimson there, or Happy the Man, or world music- and yet to be unable to fully communicate what a magical tapestry has been woven for us.

One might label this "psychedelic", or "progressive rock", or "Canterbury"?

There may be crickets chirping at moments, or dreamy awe produced by ripples of synthesizers, or an intuitive exuberance of drums and bass providing an underpinning to the music.

There might be a briefly edgy passage- especially in the album opener- which then moves in an entirely different direction.

The music evolves organically, develops, grows, then subsides.

It left me with a lump in my throat, an aura of joy and sadness and celebration and tragedy.

Like excellent music will do.

My hat is off to you, DJAM KARET:

I'm beyond glad I found you or you found me.

My rating: 4.5/5 simmering shimmers

Steve Conrad | 4/5 |

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