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Djam Karet - A Night For Baku CD (album) cover

A NIGHT FOR BAKU

Djam Karet

Eclectic Prog


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Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is my first Djam Karet disc. I'm very impressed by their ability to sound like many others, yet sound like no on else. The music is muscular and a certain visciousness runs through each track. This would be a great soundtrack for a riot or warehouse fire. A certain controlled violence and premeates each tune. I place the blame strictly on the drums of Chuck Oken Jr.He plays with such force and wild abandon on each tune that you would expect that he goes through drum heads faster than a wino could down a pint of thunderbird. Strong melodies, crafty musicianship. "Dream Portal" is very Satriani like in it's melody, however contains more depth and spontaneity. Scary Circus is an adept title for the song, with whirling carrousel keyboards and frightening solos. The Falafel King has Eastern tones, and the Red Thread harkens to the Red era King Crimson. Much of Djam Karet's music is heavily influenced from KC's mid '70's format. Good mayhem music.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#19151)
Posted Monday, February 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not bad!! This new recent issue by DJAM KARET, although it is not completely essential, is a remarkable example of their talent!! The guitarwork is excellent and in some circumstances also better than that one performed within "The Devouring"; moreover the trimming effects at the synthesizers, improved by means of the music breaks through performed by Oken & Henderson are a " DJAM KARET trademark". Besides the whole "cocktail" is enriched with a good bass-guitar work by Aaron Kenyon, which makes this fresh issue of "Modern Art Rock" a pleasant surprise!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#19152)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars This one and New Dark Age sound a lot like each other and both remind me of labelmate Nebelnest. Somewhere between Ozric and Crimson , this is sufficiently original to be considered as their own identity but sometimes not enough. I will probably never give Karet more than three stars but this does mean GOOD.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#19153)
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Mediocrity in songwriting disguised in hot-shot improvizational acrobatics. It's a thin disguise, though. You can see right through it. Melodically clumsy in many places where better melodies might have made a world of difference.

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Send comments to EMinkovitch (BETA) | Report this review (#19154)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
silvertree
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I've heard a lot about this band, maybe because a lot of prog web sites are American and the reviews tend to be a tad chauvinist as regards American releases. Anyway, I gave Djam Karet a try with this album. Well, I must say I am disappointed. They've got the instruments, the talent but not the melodies. I get the feeling that they tend to stretch a couple of ideas but it just isn't satisfying enough for me to give it 4 stars. It is just below average. I'm sure this band will mature for the next albums. As regards influences, they are definitely close to King Crimson and the Red album.

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Send comments to silvertree (BETA) | Report this review (#19155)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Back in 2004 before I discovered this site, AOL radio's progressive station was my main source for discovering new prog music. Djam Karet was my first. As almost always seems to be the case, when I discover new prog, the artist has already established a decent catalog of albums. I thought this was my first of their music I added to my collection only to discover to my surprise, I had some already on a Salvador Dali tribute CD, that's been in my collection since the early '90's.

I think these guys might be better known, but they don't really tour. They went out of state once for the Nearfest, but that may have been it, as far as I know. I really like their mix of synthesizers and guitars. The two front men are great at both instruments, although Gayle usually handles the keyboards.

"Devourers of evil dreams and nightmares, the Baku are spirits of the dream world."

The album kicks off with the fairly mellow Dream Portal. The album then moves into higher gear with Hungry Ghost, nice spooky synthesizer work, lots of musical changes in this nine-minute number. This is the first time I've listened to this album on headphones and I just noticed Chimera Moon's opening synths have a great 2D presence, also ends with weird voices ala My Life In The Bush of Ghosts. DK gets really heavy with Heads of Ni-Oh, nothing like a good prog instrumental that goes places. More spooky synth stuff in Scary Circus, before the guitars kick in. The Falafel King oddly enough has a cool Middle Eastern flavor to it. Sexy Beast is hard to describe, kind of laid back like Dream Portal. Ukab Maerd, ok, I'm pretty sure they made that up, though Djam Karet is an Indonesian term that means something like "elastic time" or "the hour that stretches". And the album wraps it up with The Red Thread. This isn't the first time they've channeled King Crimson stylistically, although many parts of the song are totally their own. It's the longest track on the album, and they really end A Night For Baku with a big bang.

I don't mind going out on limb a little and ranking this one as essential. It's still my favorite from their discography. If you're going to stretch out an hour with Djam Karet, this is a great place to start. Really cool CD booklet and case artwork, too!

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#122275)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Baku. Spirits of the dream world, devourers of evil dreams and nightmares.

The album opens pretty well. "Dream Portal" has a nice melodic lead electric line that repeats nearly continuously with a relaxed synth behind. The voices of children can be heard here and there throughout the song but the voices are manipulated so that you can never quite understand what they are saying, giving it a neat but creepy effect. It reminds me of the little girls voice in Poltergeist when she was trapped in the "other" dimension. "Hungry Ghost" is a loud rocker that could fit in on "The Devouring" but this album has a heavier keyboard presence than does their classic from '97. "Chimera Moon" is a spacey effects number that recalls "Ascension's" weirdness. Some nice guitar soloing begins about half-way through. The ending of this one has the creepy voices again that you can hear but can't understand, this time they are adult voices. "Heads of Ni-Oh" begins with a slow and deliberate rhythm behind lead guitar, then picks up to a much faster pace. During the fast part the synths and guitars will battle each other with some fiery stuff before the pace slows at the end like the beginning. "Scary Circus" is a chaotic free-for-all with everyone getting in their shreds. "The Falafel King" has a cool eastern flavor courtesy of what I believe is the 8-string Lute in the credits. "Sexy Beast" is probably my least favorite, lots of spacey feedback and jamming but little direction or melody. "Ukab Maerd" (Dream Baku backwards) first half is more raucous jamming but the second half goes back to the Ascension style weirdness with nightmarish effects and more of the dreamy voices. "The Red Thread" is the longest track and my opinion a sadly forgettable closer. They really sound like they're just coasting on this track.

In reading about Baku on the Web there are many people who feel this album is DK's finest album. I am not among them. While there are some really decent sections and nothing that is truly awful, Baku just doesn't excite me in nearly the same way as The Devouring. I just love the melodies and feel of the Devouring. Baku is every bit as good technically but it doesn't grab my heart. Despite some good moments, sorry to say I find the experience of this album a bit nondescript. Fans only.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#140809)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The most eclectic prog-band I have ever heard along with Swedish band Ritual.

Most instrumental prog-bands are perfect and, what is more important, individual. Djam Karet is no exception – their sound is very peculiar, divergent and like nothing on earth.

A Night For Baku is an excellent prog-album full of energy, freshness and mysteries. Djam Karet’s music staggers, frightens, soothes, puzzles, gladdens the listener – I guarantee that you’ll be overwhelmed by different emotions during listening to the album.

What about influences? For instance, I noticed some eastern music influence in Djam Karet’s music (The Falafel King); there is plenty of fusion (Hungry Ghost); some experimental stuff is also here (Ukab Maerd); a bit of electronic music can be noticed (Heads Of Ni-Oh); but as a whole it is high-quality progressive rock with touches of other styles.

The album consists of 8 songs with long improvisations, wonderful guitar (and keyboard) solos, a nice keyboard work as a whole, good riffs and complex structures. Though there are no vocals here, this instrumental album is not tiresome and annoying, because Djam Karet knows how to keep the listener focused on their music. A Night For Baku is a great addition to any prog-collection. Recommended to the fans of top-notch instrumental progressive rock.

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Send comments to Paper Champion (BETA) | Report this review (#160501)
Posted Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. I'm really a big fan of this band owning 9 of their albums. Out of the nine there are six that are simply amazing recordings, this isn't one of them. This is good though, but like Finnforest, I feel that this one just doesn't excite me or grab my heart like some of their others do. Lots to like though so lets have a look.

"Dream Portal" is very pleasant sounding with soaring guitar melodies. Lots of synths as well, in fact there are plenty of synths throughout this record. A childs voice can be heard 3 1/2 minutes in. The guitar continues to soar. "Hungry Ghost" is darker and heavier to start with. Lots of synths again. The guitar sounds great 2 minutes in. A change 4 minutes in as we get some splendid drumming and guitar. It turns jazzy before 5 1/2 minutes before going back to the previous soundscape after 6 1/2 minutes. "Chimera Moon" for me is the most outstanding song on here by a wide margin. It opens with some amazing atmosphere for almost 2 1/2 minutes when vocal samples and drums come in. It gets more powerful as the guitar lights it up. More samples and mellotron 6 1/2 minutes in.

"Heads Of Ni-Oh" opens with soaring guitar and synths as drums beat steadily. A change 1 1/2 minutes in as it gets heavier with some blistering guitar. Nice. Organ 3 minutes in. The tempo slows down 6 1/2 minutes. Great tune. "Scary Circus" opens with carnival-like sounds before the song kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Some excellent guitar. "The Falafel King" opens with an almost mandolin-like sound as drums pound away. Guitar comes in and trades off with the other stringed instrument. "Sexy Beast" has a powerful intro but it settles quickly as a heavy undercurrent with synths takes over. "Ukab Maerd" features some electronics and synths early. Lots going on after 3 minutes then it calms down. It gets experimental 5 minutes in and samples come arrive. Steve Roach helps out with the ending with some guitar atmospheres. "The Red Thread" has a good heavy rhythm to begin with. Organ 2 1/2 minutes in. Guitar a minute later. Guitar is back 6 1/2 minutes in as synths follow.

Hard to put a finger on it exactly, but this is an album that I don't want to play again when it's over.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#187297)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars A Night For Baku is a bit less then the albums around it. The style doesn't deviate much from their usual Crimson meets fusion melange but the blood seems to run a bit thinner through this one.

Dream Portal is a slow piece that fails to build up to an interesting atmosphere, the melodies are a bit too obvious and repetitious for that. Hungry Ghost is better. The dark mellotron over heavy bass brings Anekdoten's Vemod to mind. Or should I say Magma? As Da Futura is an obvious influence. They dive into a funky Ozrician groove that serves to contrast with the threatening Magma parts. It doesn't work all too well and the jam is slightly predictable.

And so it goes on, while generally enjoyable, the album is just too unremarkable. It serves as a good touchstone for the 3-star rating though.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#249300)
Posted Monday, November 09, 2009 | Review Permalink

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