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Djam Karet

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Djam Karet Reflections From The Firepool album cover
3.73 | 67 ratings | 9 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Sky Opens Twice (10:16)
2. Fall Of The Monkeywalk (9:16)
3. Run Cerberus Run (6:42)
4. Scenes From The Electric Circus (7:04)
5. Animal Origin (7:15)
6. All Doors Look Alike (7:15)
7. The Red Monk (7:22)
8. Reflections From The Firepool (10:02)

Total Time: 65:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Gayle Ellett / electric, Classical & steel guitars, keyboards, tape, effects, percussion
- Mike Henderson / electric and acoustic 6- & 12-string guitars, effects, percussion
- Henry Osborne / electric bass, bottled bass, keyboards, percussion, "chain"
- Chuck Oken, Jr. / drums, electronic drums, synthesizer, programming & sequencing

- Rychard Cooper / dumbek (2), co-producer
- Maxim J. Mahoney / sax (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Dave Druse

LP Syn-phonic ‎- SYNPHO 7 (1989, US)

CD HC Productions ‎- HC004 (1989, US)
CD Cuneiform Records ‎- Rune 139 (2000, US) New cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DJAM KARET Reflections From The Firepool Music

DJAM KARET Reflections From The Firepool ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

DJAM KARET Reflections From The Firepool reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the second Djam Karet official CD release (I'm not counting the cassette releases), and also my first DK experience ever. I was, and still am amazed at what I found in this album: solid interplaying, versatile performances, cleverly crafted jamming and soloing, atmospheres and basic harmonies built with good taste. The most recurring references hint at 80s KC and contemporary jazz-fusion, but it would be totally inaccurate to label Djam Karet as derivative: they manage to create a sound of their own while wearing (to a certain degree) their influences on their sleeve. Those who love exhaustively articulated music will probably tend to get bored with this stuff, but those of us who enjoy jams won't be bothered at all by the intensive use of instrumental expansions that these guys are so into. The technical skill of all four musician is obvious, unhidden, but the band's overall sound is far from being based on the show-off of pyrotechnics: the album's repertoire, even in the harder passages, is mainly focused on the elaboration of ambiences and atmospheres. These guys are also capable of linking diverse musical ideas in a most fluid manner: the first four tracks are clear examples of that, since they are structured in a two-set frame. 'The Sky Opens Twice' starts in a semi-Crimsonian jazz-rock vein and ends up with a languid PF-like atmosphere, somehow predating 95-97 Porcupine Tree. Things get more Crimsonian in track 2 (a-la Fripp's soundscapes), this time with an added use of fusion-esque electronic amalgams (on keyboard and electronic percussion). 'Run Cerberus Run' is the rockiest number in the album, with a very frantic first section and a more syncopated yet equally powerful second section - the guitar leads flow from Fripp- to Holdsworth- tinged influences, and Osbourne shines with a special glow in his bass performance. The ethnic-driven electronic stuff return with a vengeance for track 4, in which the synthesized sequences and electronic percussions play a major role: the floating dual guitar interventions and bass guitar washes work as nuances in the whole picture - regarding its massively atmospheric nature, this track reminds me of Ozric Tentacles at their most ethereal, but DK takes it to a slightly more disturbing level. 'Animal Origin' brings an air of serenity in a jazz rock context, elegantly delivered: this is definitely the more polished side of DK. 'All Doors Look Alike' moves even slower than the preceding track, but it definitely isn't calmer: in fact, this track seems to comprise a self- constrained tension partially released by the evocative sax leads (played by guest Max Mahoney). The way that the acoustic 12.string guitar and the soundscape guitar expand in parallel while keeping a distance from each other is particularly amazing: this stuff creates the idea of impending doom, like a storm waiting to burst out but eventually never getting that far. 'The Red Monk' kicks off with a Far East-inspired motif outlined by the synth, until a syncopated martial section gets in and stir things up; finally, a KC-like jam (yet another one) emerges, solidly sustained by Osbourne-Oken funky rhythm pattern. The closing title track sort of recapitulates the diverse musical sources that had been appearing along the preceding repertoire - a special mention goes to the eerie dual acoustic guitar flavours that come in the final passages. A great album, indeed - I recommend "Reflections from a Firepool" as a starting point for all prog fans who feel curious about Djam Karet.
Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars As the band biography here states Djam Karet is one first of the new wave of progressive music that started up in the late '80's, although the key players here - Henderson, Oken, and Osborne started playing together at least as early as 1982.

Reflections From The Firepool is their first regular album release although they did put out some stuff on cassette before this one. I guess it's no surprise that these guys put out such a strong release in that most of them had already been playing together for a few years before 1989.

There's a very heavy King Crimson influence to the music here and in their other releases. Still, their music is hardly clone material. According to the liner notes this was originally released independently and was where they "discovered our musical voice". If you love high quality instrumental prog, this is a must have for your collection.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I whole heartily agree with Cesar Inca that this is a great place to start if you want to check out DJAM KARET.This album has a lot of diversity, from atmospheric and spacey, to experimental, to guitar driven passages.The band I understand put out their own money to have this album recorded. I'm glad they did ! This wasn't their first recording but it was their first cd release. I have the re-release and the cover of it is so much better than the original. It is an artists depiction of a firepool. Very cool.

"The Sky Opens Twice" has this uptempo beat with some ripping guitar solos coming and going.The song stops and starts up again totally different. I believe this is in connection with the song title.The second opening of the sky is much slower paced with drums, synths and guitar.There is some great soaring guitar melodies that come and go. "Fall Of The Monkeywalk" has a spacey intro followed by tribal like drumming as the guitar grinds away. Some intricate guitar work later. "Run Cerberus Run" has this uptempo melody of steady drums, bass and organ. I love the guitar solos after 3 minutes. Great tune. "Scenes From The Electric Circus" has this keyboard melody as the guitars again grind away. The drumming is well done as the melody changes to electronic percussion with outbursts of industrial sounding noises.

"Animal Origin" naturally has animal like sounds and a good beat. Some blistering guitar 3 minutes in followed up a couple of minutes later by some more fantastic guitar solos. "All Doors Look Alike" has a psychedelic feel to it as the title suggests. Sax in this one, that also has some haunting and atmospheric soundscapes."The Red Monk" has a bit of a grungy feel to it with the distorted guitars, but that all changes as we get a lighter sound after 4 minutes with some excellent guitar. "Firepool" has such a haunting and atmospheric mood for 3 minutes before it turns into an uptempo song with guitar solos. Some eerie sounds 8 minutes in as the beat stops. Classical guitar to end it.

Highly recommended instrumental music ! These guys are so talented and are worthy of your attention.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Of the four Djam Karet albums I own, this is my favorite. Maybe that's because it is the first album of theirs that I heard, and it came at a time when there was a dearth of obtainable progressive music (at that point, the Internet was not the fountain of information - and sometimes misinformation that it is now). Nonetheless, this is a fine album of psychedelic, jamming prog.

The music still sounds to me like a more adventurous Ozric Tentacles, here with a Pink Floyd infuence thrown in as well. The musicianship is very good, with the emphasis more on getting a good tone than blazing virtuosity. This works very well for Djam Karet.

My favorite here is "Scenes From The Electric Circus", where the weird sounds and great jamming take the listener to another dimension.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Djam Karet is a great instrumental progressive rock band that could appeal to many more people then just the few souls that are buzzing around the Djam Karet pages here. I've started to listen them only recently and I have a slight preference to their albums since 2000 as they sound more diverse and accomplished to me.

A selection of impressions:

The Sky Opens Twice consists (as the title suggest) of two parts. In the first part the sky is still rather nebulous but the second Sky Opening is all bright and shiny. Beautiful chord picking and excellent solos on a laid-back groove, Pink Floyd meets fusion.

Fall of the Moneywalk reveals another obvious inspiration source. Robert Fripp. I don't know if the guitar players use a similar technique, but the result sounds very similar to Fripp's looped fluid guitar soundscapes (flippertronics). The track has some world music percussion. A good 5 minutes in, it start to bog down a bit. They must have noticed it as well and try to save it by changing the pace. Not entirely successful though.

Animal Origin is a great slow paced guitar improvisation. Very stately. Run Cerberus Run has more guitar soloing on a slightly more up-tempo fusion progression. Again it's good but never stretches out into real excellence.

All Doors Look Alike is another slow paced improvisation, a bit over halfway it changes into a very ambient section that announces things to come on Suspension and Displacement. It is the part that works best for me and this aspect of their sound strikes me as their most original element.

The Title Track continues their more ambient leanings before it turns into another mid-paced jam. Again it is pretty good but not as inspired as on later albums.

Overall a decent official debut album but I believe they had better stuff in them.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Material from ''The ritual continues'' sessions still surfaced in 1988, when Djam Karet released yet another cassette, ''Kafka's breakfast'', which included the 24-min. jam ''Walkabout'' along with tracks from the pre-Djam Kater band Happy Cancer, including the performance of drummer/keyboardist Andy Frankel.In 1989 the Americans return with the album ''Reflections from the firepool'', released in every possible format, vinyl issue came out on Gerg Walker's Synphonic label, both CD and cassette issues were printed by the band's own HC Productions.

''Reflections from the firepool'' contains the style, which would actually define what Djam Karet was all about for a period of years.The material here seems less loose and more properly constructed, thus more pleasant to the ears, long improvisations are good activities for musicians, but not headed for commercial consumption.On the contrary ''Reflections from the firepool'' eventually suggests some cool musical structures, which still hold this jamming feel linked to Djam Karet, giving a major role to keyboards and benefiting from the serious talent of guitarists Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson.I would describe this as guitar-driven Acid Psych/Prog with some references to PINK FLOYD, OZRIC TENTACLES, KING CRIMSON and similar bands, but in fact this quartet starts to make its own distinctive music with stretched guitar solos, acid guitar lines, spacious keyboards and consistent bass/drumming, containing some complex, jazzy plays and a Fusion aura.Six long instrumental tracks come with the vinyl, while the CD (also reissued by Cuneiform Records) contains another pair of a similar taste.The use of some light organ sounds comes as a welcome surprise as well as the addition of some melodic guitar solos.Still the guiding light are the long, dark guitar acoustics and the keyboard experiments with the cinematic, psych-tinged and spacious overtones.

For me the most interesting work of Djam Karet in the 80's.It's still fairly experimental, even containing some Industrial-like percussion and guitar vibes in a few cuts, but comes as more convincing, consistent and efficient as a whole.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This group has taste. Reflections From The Firepool is a album with great riffs, solos and atmosphere. I can't find any song or moment that I disliked. I've got three albums from Djam Karet in addition to this one, and I have to say that I find Reflections From The Firepool the best one of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#157326) | Posted by Tall Hair | Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I finally caught up with DJAM KARET, an american instrumental prog unit, 4 people strong. Ive read several reviews on these guys,and i must say i was quite exited when this one.. entered my cd -player......already from track one " The sky opens twice" the style is set.. high powered prog/jazzy st ... (read more)

Report this review (#5415) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars extraordinary, very involving instrumental music which consists of many very different styles such as ethnic music in "fall of the monkeywalk"; the compositions are interesting, atmospheric and rocking at times; one of the most interesting experiments (successful experiments) that happened at the en ... (read more)

Report this review (#5416) | Posted by | Thursday, April 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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