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Djam Karet

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Djam Karet The Heavy Soul Sessions album cover
3.95 | 71 ratings | 5 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

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)

Total time 64:52

* Cover song from Richard Pinhas 1982 album "L'Ethique"

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Henderson / guitars, e-bow, effects
- Mike Murray / guitars, e-bow, effects
- Gayle Ellett / organ, synths (analog & digital), Mellotron, mixing & mastering
- Aaron Kenyon / 5-string bass, effects
- Chuck Oken, Jr. / drums, altered voices

Releases information

CD HC Productions ‎- HC015 (2010, US)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DJAM KARET The Heavy Soul Sessions ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

DJAM KARET The Heavy Soul Sessions reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite having a musical style that on paper should appeal to my tastes, being a widely critically acclaimed group and having an extensive discography spread out over 3 decades, I've only checked out so far two releases from California-based instrumental progressive rock act, Djam Karet: 1991's Burning the Hard City and 2003's A Night for Baku. While I find the music on these albums to be good and very well played and produced, it didn't grab me and made me have repeated listening, though I know that these albums have their fans, so I'm not writing them off.

In 2010 comes their newest studio offering, the 15th in number called The Heavy Soul Sessions, 5 years after the well-received and acclaimed Recollection Harvest which I have yet to hear, but definitely intend to after listening to this album.

The Heavy Soul Sessions was born as a result of live shows in which they played tracks spanning their 26 years of existence. They proceeded to record these tracks live-in-the- studio with no overdubbing. They have also included a cover song, Dedicated To K.C. by Richard Pinhas from his 1982 album, L'Ethique. Indeed this album sounds great, fresh and crisp both sound-wise and music-wise. In fact it has inspired me to go back and re-listen to the two albums I have of theirs and get some others I don't have. So what you get here is a taste of the variety of flavours of the band's output. You get a taste of space-rock, ambient and electronic music as well as a balanced portion of aggressive rock, warm analog synths and mellotron, spacey guitar solos and dreamy-eerie slow and pensive sections.

The opening track, Hungry Ghost is an intense guitar-lead piece with stunning synth, bass and drums work. There are also marvelous effects incorporated adding an additional richness layer. I have to say it sounds better than the original recording on A Night For Baku.

The Red Threaded Sexy Beast is an amalgam of two tracks, The Red Thread and Sexy Beast from A Night For Baku. Again, they just sound different here, and in my opinion much better, less raw, more refined, subtler, yet as fierce as the original. The band is "space- rocking" here veering at times to more ambient territories and in others they ruffle their musical feathers violently. The sound is lush and enveloping, warm and inviting. I like how they mingled these two tracks into one. Listen to the two originals to appreciate how well it is done. These two opening tracks have made me see A Night For Baku in a different light now and I'll return to it with "fresh ears" now to see how I'll digest it with this newly acquired appreciation.

Consider Figure Three is taken from the 1991 companion album to Burning The Hard City, Suspension & Displacement, which is contains ambient music. Indeed this track provides a respite from the intensity of it surrounding pieces and showcases Djam Karet's abilities in creating strange and peculiar atmosphere. If anything this has made curious to listen to their electronic music side project Ukab Maerd (which is a name of a track from A Night For Baku). This is a very subtle piece in which not much goes on in terms of movement and melody, but it's texture-wise focused and reveals only a small fragment of what they're capable of doing with such an approach.

The Packing House is originally from their previous album Recollection Harvest. The last song, The Gypsy & The Hegemon is from there as well and if anything these two tracks only intensified my desire to listen to that album. The Packing House (as well as The Gypsy & The Hegemon) shows a more "progressive" facet of the band, if you will, as this piece is comprised of various themes as well as an introduction segment. The guitar pierces effectively through all the layers of sound with excellent thumping pacing by the bass and gorgeous keyboards playing in the background.

As for the Richard Pinhas cover song, Dedicated To K.C., I had to pull out my copy of L'Ethique as I haven't heard it in ages to remind myself of this piece. Obviously it sounds completely different, much more alive and with a fuller body. However, the original piece is a spectacular composition in itself with very intricate playing and compositional structure; in fact it's a progressive rock landmark composition in my opinion. And so I would reckon covering it would be a daunting task. And so along come Djam Karet and give this gorgeous piece renewed life starting with the production values this piece merits and continuing with extending its length and giving it their interpretation with their unique style and sound, making it sounds as if this is a Djam Karet song.

The Gypsy & The Hegemon, which closes the album, has a more forefront presence of keyboards than the rest of the tracks and provides for a very warm and comforting vibe as the melancholic melody sings its end-of-album farewell. The main theme gives way to the second part midway through the piece to a more bass and guitar dominated aggressive approach. As I mentioned with regards to The Packing House, the composition is more daring and explorative.

As I mentioned above, this album has lead me to re-evaluate my impressions of Djam Karet as well as to be able to fully appreciate their musicianship skills as well as compositional skills and attention to details. I'll be checking out the albums from which these tracks originate. A recommended listen for folks who would like to get to know the band, as well for fans who'd like to listen to these re-interpret and enhanced compositions.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars It was Assaf's insightful review that moved me to purchase this cd. I am a big fan of this band but when I heard they were covering their own songs with this one I was going to pass.That would have been a big mistake on my part. I would dare say that every song is an improvement over the original.They also cover a Richard Pinhas track. In the liner notes they say "All music played by hand, and recorded live-in-studio without any overdubs or computer manipulation. In order to re-create a more lively and dynamic sound, no compression or limiting was used during the making of this cd". This cd sounds amazing ! These guys are such pros, and hey they use mellotron on this album too so what's not to like.

"Hungry Ghost" has a good heavy intro as the guitar and organ bring it.The bass is prominant throughout. It does settle 4 minutes in but there's even heavier outbursts.The guitar rips it up before 5 minutes as it still stays heavy duty. I don't think i've ever heard this band so heavy before. "The Red Threaded Sexy Beast" is again heavy to start including organ as the guitar comes and goes over top. Synths replace the guitar 3 minutes in but the guitar is back a minute later with organ. It then settles with atmosphere. A beat before 6 1/2 minutes rises out of the mist as sounds start to come and go. Cool section.The tempo picks up before 9 minutes as the guitar lights it up. "Consider Figure Three" is a nice contrast to the first two tracks as we get this spacey atmosphere then these faint female vocals can be heard 1 1/2 minutes in. Sampled male spoken words before 3 1/2 minutes.This is great ! It really reminds me of early PORCUPINE TREE. Very spacey and psychedelic.

"The Packing House" is mellow with gentle guitar and keys then the guitar starts to soar over top in a laid back manner. Drums join in as it builds. A silent calm 3 1/2 minutes in then it kicks in with a much fuller sound.The tempo and mood continue to change and we get some great sounding mellotron as well. "Dedicted To K.C." is the Richard Pinhas cover. Sounds build with the drums and guitar standing out.The organ floats along as well. It picks up then the guitar lights it up before 3 1/2 minutes as the organ pulsates. It settles a minute later with chunky bass and mellotron.More tempo shifts follow. "The Gypsy And The Hangman" kicks in with organ around a minute then the guitar soars. Flute-like sounds come in as it turns dreamy. It changes after 4 minutes. It turns heavy as the guitar comes to the fore before 8 minutes. I like the way themes are repeated on this one.

Without a doubt one of my favourite releases from the band and a top 10 for me in 2010.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Djam Karet, live in the studio, offering intense and matured versions of some previously released material. Knowing all of that previous material quite well I have completely re-discovered those tracks through this release. And even if it's not without a flair for dramatics and exaggeration I don't hesitate a second to declare this their best effort so far. That's how strongly I feel for it.

Djam Karet shouldn't need an introduction and the band should be a well established and loved name amongst fans of instrumental progressive rock and jazz rock. But that's a lot of "shoulds" and unfortunately they've managed to remain fairly obscure and unknown in their about 25 years existence.

Just as on previous albums, Djam Karet combine the spacey feel of Floyd with slightly dissonant harmonics and the grave feel of King Crimson. With two guitar players the music is obviously very guitar-oriented, but never flashy or virtuoso, feeling and composition always prevail. And that's probably why this album is so strong, I've put a playlist together with the exact same tracks from the original releases and it's striking how intensified they have become, much tighter and a bit darker also. At times they sound like something between Anekdoten and early PT, keeping in mind of course that Djam Karet have been around a bit longer then those two.

There's only one track here that was previously unreleased, but all other tracks are interpreted very differently and make for a very fresh and revealing listen. Also, kudos to the brilliantly clear and lively production. 4.5 stars. Highly recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The attractive album title suggests that there might be a rework or a different version of existing music and that's right, Djam Karet decided to re-record a couple of tracks plus one cover in a slightly more retro and introspective manner. Keyboards encounter the greatest change and go back to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2710134) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Consider Djam Karet I am listening to The Heavy Soul Sessions for the kazillionth time and like any DJAM KARET album it sounds like something weird recovered from the Roswell crash in 1947. I have compared these studio jam track versions with the earlier versions including the odd live versio ... (read more)

Report this review (#1014393) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Friday, August 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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