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DJAM KARET

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Djam Karet picture
Djam Karet biography
Founded in California, USA in 1984 - Still active as of 2019

One of the first new prog bands to emerge on the 80's and 90's scene. The music is hard to categorize, switching among many different moods and styles, sometimes with psychedelic influences. Long improvisations, and main influences are OZRIC TENTACLES and KING CRIMSON.

"The Devouring" and "Burning The Hard City" are considered by many to be one of the best prog albums released in the 90s. DJAM KARET have taken their trademark sound of blistering guitar solos, atmospheric passages, and instrumental prowess and added old school prog rock keyboards. The resultant music is a great delight for the guitar fan as well as the adventurous rock listener.
GREAT BAND!!!

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DJAM KARET discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DJAM KARET top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.80 | 5 ratings
Happy Cancer: McMusic For The McMasses
1982
1.61 | 14 ratings
No Commercial Potential
1985
3.31 | 24 ratings
The Ritual Continues
1987
2.50 | 6 ratings
Kafka's Breakfast
1988
3.71 | 62 ratings
Reflections From The Firepool
1989
3.66 | 60 ratings
Burning The Hard City
1991
3.20 | 37 ratings
Suspension & Displacement
1991
2.76 | 25 ratings
Collaborator
1994
3.66 | 79 ratings
The Devouring
1997
3.67 | 24 ratings
Still No Commercial Potential
1998
3.43 | 39 ratings
New Dark Age
2001
3.10 | 23 ratings
Ascension - New Dark Age, Volume 2
2001
3.28 | 51 ratings
A Night For Baku
2003
3.72 | 55 ratings
Recollection Harvest
2005
4.00 | 67 ratings
The Heavy Soul Sessions
2010
3.88 | 106 ratings
The Trip
2013
3.83 | 110 ratings
Regenerator 3017
2014
3.82 | 58 ratings
Sonic Celluloid
2017
3.95 | 46 ratings
A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof
2019

DJAM KARET Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 12 ratings
Live At Orion
1999
4.00 | 6 ratings
Afghan (Live At The Knitting Factory)
2002
3.86 | 7 ratings
Live At NEARfest 2001
2004

DJAM KARET Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DJAM KARET Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
A Beginner's Guide Volume 1
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
A Beginner's Guide Volume II
2002
3.23 | 12 ratings
No Commercial Potential, Rock Improvisations from 1985-2002
2004
4.53 | 10 ratings
Swamp Of Dreams
2015

DJAM KARET Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Djam Karet #1
2001
3.80 | 5 ratings
Djam Karet #2
2001

DJAM KARET Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.95 | 46 ratings

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A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by moshkito

5 stars A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof

I remember one time, in an email with Gayle that we talked about music or something related to chord and changes. He said it was different for them, since they could start on A and end up on Z.

Not a whole lot needed to be said about their music after that. If you listen to almost anything they do, just when you expect something or other, it is not there, and something else lights up the visions and cinematic sights that the music offers. It will still have, on occasion, a few signs of the hard and heavy rock band, but the nice thing is that they are not "stuck" on the solo or the moment, and it helps propel the music to another visual segment that ... sometimes defies description, and this is the greatest part of the attraction for their music.

Be it, using an incredible load of instruments from everywhere except Mars and Pluto (I think!!!), the collages are incredible and really neat, and show the incredible feast of sumptuous sounds and continuity to make some very different images.

It would be too easy, to say that there are a lot of influences, and the two most obvious are the original guitar romping along and taking the music to a different place, not your usual formatted song that you listen to each and every day ... and then it's ... a sitar like sound instead of the guitar? Some say that a lot here sounds like this or that, but the continuity of it all is nothing but Djam Karet at its best and so far out, that it leaves a lot of music feeling not as strong as it can be or should be. It's hard to come out of listening to Djam Karet and feeling that something is missing. More often than not you wonder what next since you know that the next bit is not the same thing!

Adding to this, are the electronics, both electronic and digital that infuse the complete sound of the band, into a myriad of feelings, probably too difficult to describe ... what was that and wow?

"Beyond the Frontier" starts the album and right off the bat you get a feeling of the early Djam Karet and its start from sounds and strangeness. Immediately you get the feeling that you are about to have a lot of guitar driven material, only for it to develop into something else totally different and it is not the guitar that does the "solo" at the top! Gotta love it when non-conventional methods and sounds are what this is all about, instead of a song format.

There is slight discussion that is likely more confusing to many of us than helpful but we have to take the word for it. Chuck Oken says that this something that comes out of a dual process of things that are mixed live and improvised, and some things work and end up kept.

Chuck states: "In 2017/2018, Gayle reviewed a whole bunch of electronic pieces I had sent him and he lived with them over time and took x amount of them and combined and edited them into 7 tracks. These electronic pieces were composed of everything but the kitchen sink as I use a large array of both analog and digital keyboards and modular with a healthy dose of looping and processing. Those 7 tracks became the 1st layer of this project and are accurately reflected in Beyond The Long Twilight."

"Long Ride to Eden" is one special piece, that at times has me thinking that this is what someone like Tangerine Dream could have done with its loud sequencers and additives over it. But DK is not just about that, and instead set about making it quite an experience in the listening. Take the title away, and you are really hard pressed into thinking what it is that you feel and see. It is a really special trip on its own, and many times, more often than not, I want more and more. It is just that far out.

"West Coast"

Starting with the feeling and idea of shooting stars on a clear night, it starts as a really soft piece of music, I suppose that you could say that melodies drive this piece all the way through it, and it stands out as a part of the "shooting stars" in between it all. A very pretty piece of music, that is soft and gentle, and you kinda want to dance to it, the type of feeling you want to have when you want something far out to last all night. Special, and non-stop!

" A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof" I may be nuts, but if there is something I always look forward to, is the any long piece of music that this band offers so many times. They are always unique and drive your mind to many places and are always very satisfying.

This piece, is the special one, and I will use Chuck Oken's words. " ... The release is a combination of the 2 layers. You could start the 2 CD's (Layer 1 & 2) on 2 separate players and Tracks 1 - 7 should line up to be the release. This was discovered during some very long artistic discussions between Gayle and myself about this project. One thing led to another and then we were doing a mix of the release without the electronics and then we did a mix of the release with just the electronics and by doing that the entire scope and vision of this project appeared. Two layer worlds combine in A Night Full Of Stars For A Roof bringing two very distinct pieces of music together."

I can only say that this piece is already slated for my night under the stars in a special place! It has a slight feeling of the early material that the band did, with the guitar sound in the background, a sort of scream from somewhere in nowhere land. But, in the end, this mix is a really special treat and experience. And you want to sit through it the whole time, and when it ends ... I want more ... not sure about you! From the electric guitar to the acoustic guitar to the electronic feeling in between that hardly feels like it, this is what this band is capable of. A special sound that defies description, because it is not one thing or the other. It is BOTH. And the musicianship is, to my ear, really well thought out and special. It's like there is nothing wrong or out of place. The stars are all there. You hear the birds here and there, and then a frog way out there somewhere, or a loud car/truck drives by, but in the end, it is a non- stop image and trip along the specter of life. Totally special and so well put together, that it is difficult to think of this as "music". For me, it feels like the inner sound of a part of my world that has way too many things in it, but somehow many of them come up and shine now and then. This piece, even without its title, is that for me.

"Dust In the Sun" "On The Third Day Arrived the Crow" "Specter of Twilight" "Night Falls"

Unlike the previous 4 pieces that start the album, these feel a bit more like a small song that was left over from some of the materials and their dual recording techniques as mentioned above. They are very melodic and pretty, and for my tastes not as "trippy", but no less attractive than the other pieces, and the special kudos goes to the last piece in the album, a wonderful close to this incredible experiment and experience that we know as Djam Karet.

A very special feeling.

A very special band.

Gayle Ellett Henry J. Osborne Mike Henderson Chuck Oken Jr

With guests: Shannon Michael Terry Todd Montgomery Mike Murray Micah Nelson Mark Cook

Note: Statements from Chuck Oken, Jr. were taken from their website.

 A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.95 | 46 ratings

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A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Veteran US band DJAM KARET has been exploring the realm of progressive rock in their particular manner for close to 40 years at this point, with more than two dozen releases to their name all and sundry. "A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof" is their 19th studio album, and was self-released in 2019.

Djam Karet is a band that everyone should lend an ear at some point, if for no other reasons than to hear what consummate professional veterans do when they use their long experience as recording artists to craft a new album. Other than that, those who are fond of dream-laden, calm and serene instrumental progressive rock with world music and ambient elements explored in a subtly cosmic oriented context would be my description of the perfect audience for this album. Or, possibly, those who tend to enjoy a band like Ozric Tentacles in their calmer and more careful moments.

 A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.95 | 46 ratings

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A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by 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

 Collaborator by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.76 | 25 ratings

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Collaborator
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

3 stars If you like your ambient dark, this is the album for you. One look at the album and song titles is enough to tell the listener what is going on with the music. I like that - no mystery, no wasted thought.

This is actually the album that was my gateway to contemporary ambient music. It showed me that it could be cool - if heavy rockers like Djam Karet were into making this stuff I could be into listening to it. I do wish I was more familiar with Kit Watkins - his prog career started with so much potential, I can't help but wonder where his muse took him after shedding Happy the Man and Camel.

This one is certainly for ambient fans and hardcore Karet listeners that are up for a change of pace from their usual recordings.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars Another splendid entry into the Djam Karet catalogue. Spacey and melodic, the textures are on the light side for these guys. Continuity and evolution are two words that describe this collective that have been making consistently high quality product since the eighties. This isn't product in the Frank Zappa sense, referring to the big label music factories prevalent in his time. No, this is to be digested by guitar loving, atmosphere craving rock and roll adventurers. This is art - any skill raised to a very high level, maybe the only thing I remember from college.

Sonic Celluloid is easily one of my favorite Djam Karet releases, on any given day it could be this one or eight or nine different ones. Still, I tune in for the atmospheres, not necessarily the guitar, and this release is one of the most satisfying as a whole for my tastes. I was tempted to go five, but that would be in my world. This is no overall masterpiece, just a solidly entertaining listen for inclined parties.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Tapfret
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams

4 stars Context is everything. Timing is everything. OK, they can't both be everything. Let's say, one means a lot and the other is everything else. These cliches really came into play when discovering Djam Karet's eighteenth studio album, Sonic Celluloid. As it turns out, this would be my first full dive into a Djam Karet album. I was aware of their existence back in the late '90's when I first delved into the catalog of Wayside Music/Cuneiform Records. The sound did not sit well with me then, or in later happenstance listenings. Admittedly, this is probably because at the time I sought out the very heavy or the very complex at every turn. Djam Karet has never been either of those. In fact, when Sonic Celluloid first hit my ears I was inundating my brain with the artists featured in a Progarchives forum ultra-complex prog discussion. For some reason Sonic Celluloid was the right thing at the right time.

As prefaced, this is not an 'in your face' album. Its an album that invites you in and embraces your presence with astounding subtlety. First off, except for a few spoken word sections, the album is entirely instrumental. Rhythmically less than half of the album that uses a standard rock kit and beats. And where it is present, it does not shy away from the groove. However, large sections of Sonic Celluloid have a spacey, new age feel. But that space is never filler. It is always present and engaging. Much of the ambiance is very reminiscent of Tangerine Dream of the mid-1970's, if a bit more compositionally active and nowhere near as protracted. The electronic textures are complimented by acoustic instruments and the occasional Gilmour-esque warm electric guitar solos. And of course the Prog staple Mellotron is present, though again, subtlety is the key word. All too often it is used to excess in modern Prog. It is used on Sonic Celluloid to produce texture as it was intended.

I suppose there are those that will argue that Sonic Celluloid offers nothing new under the sun, and they are probably right. But what cannot be argued is that this is an album that is diverse and exists in full comfort of that diversity. And at the same time never takes that diversity to extremes. To risk overusing the chief descriptor here, subtle. It is that precise characteristic with the current context and timing of my own listening journey that makes Sonic Celluloid one of my favorite albums of 2017 and an easy recommendation as an essential part of any Progressive rock collection. Not to mention grounds for further exploration of the remaining Djam Karet discography that I have managed to ignore all these years.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Psych rock, space rock, jam/improv, electronic, prog-rock, ambient - American group Djam Karet can be all of these things (often in the space of a single track!), but those tags don't quite do this eclectic instrumental band enough justice! The last few years in particular have been a very fruitful period for core members Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Henry J Osborne and Chuck Oken Jnr and others with a number of standout releases, including the single forty-seven minute ambient space-rock journey `The Trip' in 2013, the retro-tastic `Regenerator 3017' a year later and a superior compilation of odds n' ends `Swamp of Dreams' after that, but `Sonic Celluloid' is their first proper studio disc in three years, and it proves to be another diverse and unpredictable collection from the talented instrumentalists, and one that's a lot more electronic-heavy than their last few.

After a moody ambient intro, `Saul Says So' springs to life with eerie Mellotron, coursing bass and trickling electronics, and some ravishing acoustic guitar flourishes are almost joyful and infectious even! There's nicely slinking programmed electronic grooves and chilled guitar licks throughout `Forced Perspective', `Long Shot' is a spacey wavering prog-electronic theme that sounds like the soundtrack to an eerie Seventies sci-fi series before its frantic Hammond organ and scorching electric guitar climax. The mix of drifting synth washes, haunting 'Tron and darker acoustic guitar in the final minutes of `No Narration Needed' might have come from Italian prog-rockers Goblin, and the bleeding and twitching deep-space electronics of `Numerous Mechanical Circles' could almost be Tangerine Dream, with tasty little teases of heroic Mellotron themes emerging as well.

`Oceanside Exterior', `Au Revoir Au RÍve' and `Flashback' are all moodier and atmospheric spacy electronic rockers with reflective guitar soloing spots that call to mind Pink Floyd and Nineties onwards-era Hawkwind, with plenty of spectral synth choirs, Mellotron fire and ticking programming between them. Piano dreaminess and reaching drowsy guitars strains purr through the toasty-mellow `Lower', and the sublime murmuring bass soloing and acoustic/electric back-and-forth of album closer `The Denouement Device' takes a darker, more mysterious turn in the second half making for a very unpredictable finale to the disc.

With plenty of releases in their thirty-plus year career together and never delivering even a slightly average one (ha, you've know they're a great band when even their compilations are superb!), `Sonic Celluloid' keeps up the strong tradition, proving to have quite a liveliness and no shortage of laid-back vibes. Exciting for long-time fans of the group and even an ideal starting point for newcomers, `Sonic Celluloid' just might even be one of Djam Karet's best to date!

Four stars.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars DJAM KARET have been making music for some 35 years or so. They really deserve some lifetime achievement award for being so consistent with their releases over that time, and yes a ton of great music. I think 5 years is the longest gap between studio albums over that time. "Sonic Celluloid" is a fairly ambient album overall with a significant amount of electronics and mellotron. Mellotron-flute seems to be the go-to sound when it comes to the mellotron. This is headphone music people! There's so much going on when you really listen to this album though, I'm very impressed.

"Saul Says So" opens with atmosphere, and get used to it(haha). Yes a spacey intro with electronics and eventually sequencers surprisingly around 1 1/2 minutes. Keys follow as that spacey atmosphere continues. Drums and bass after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. Guitar a minute later and check out the bass 4 minutes in. Some excellent sounding mellotron in this one as well.

"Forced Perspective" opens with a beat, bass, guitar and synths. The guitar does come to the fore in a tasteful manner and then the sound turns fuller after 2 minutes but it settles back again quickly. "Long Shot" is dark and spacey to start as a sample of spoken words and static arrive. An electronic melody arrives and continues after the sample ends. Mellotron follows and what a majestic sound after 2 minutes. So good! Drums after 2 1/2 minutes and I like the organ before 3 minutes as electronics continue. It kicks into gear with some nice guitar but not for long.

"No Narration Needed" opens with mellotron as a horn blasts. This is spacey with background sounds. The guitar starts to make some noise. Nice. A change 3 minutes in as a solo bass line takes over then the mellotron returns. Picked guitar will eventually take over in atmosphere. "Numerous Mechanical Circles" has a spacey beginning as the mellotron rolls in along with some spoken words and nature sounds.

"Oceanside Exterior" is laid back and melancholic. This sounds really good especially when the sounds of the ocean arrive. One of my favourites. "Au Revoir Au Reve" opens with atmosphere and a beat. Sounds like vocal melodies of the female variety before 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later.

"Flashback" is mellow with intricate sounds and guitar. "Lower" features sounds that drift as some sparse piano comes and goes. Suddenly background voices can be heard and the build to a crescendo. "The Denouncement Device" ends it on a high. Intricate guitar, bass and atmosphere early. Love that bass in that spacey atmosphere. Mellotron-flute before 2 minutes and later after 3 minutes. It turns powerful with guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice!

Another quality release from these Californians. What a discography though, such an impressive band and it's so cool that in 2017 they continue to impress. A solid 4 stars.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars Another abstruse offering from these California revolutionaries in their fearless quest to transcend art. Once again, there's no faithfulness to style and anything flies, although conspicuous acknowledgements are made to Jean Michel Jarre and Pink Floyd amongst others without being too pronounced. Those familiar with Djam Karet and their revisionist approach to creating music will find that Sonic Celluloid is much more expressive than some of their previous work. Imbued with waves of keyboards, magnetic instrumental sweeps and electronic scenery each composition possesses it's own curious identity within the concept of music as film.

Contrastive elements and ideas form the notion of an aural gallery. 'Saul Says So', 'Forced Perspective' and 'Long Shot' that introduce the work are more illustrative of the Djam Karet modus operandi. We get dynamic mingling of Hammonds and mellotrons along with cool jazzy electric and acoustic guitar runs, subaqueous bass, and Chuck Okden jr's usual spot on drumming. The latter part of the album shifts into Buddhist mode with tracks such as 'Numerous Mechanical Circles' with it's creeping world beat that resembles some of the reworked material that appeared on Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for the 1984 film 'Birdy'. The metallic 'Oceanside Exterior' with its coastal ambience and 'Au Revoir Au Reve' are sympathetic to one another and induce dreamlike neural sensations. 'Flashback' is like a narcotic with it's looping phantom rhythm, mellotron backdrop and quixotic guitar lines. 'Lower' gets very metaphysical and conveys nothingness. With no beginning or end it just wallows on in lethargic fashion as it cross fades out into human crowd chatter that makes it even more claustrophobic. The most interesting piece for me was 'No Narration Needed'. The piece opens with a lonely introductory melody that is abandoned for a picturesque ceremony in an ethereal garden with exotic lizards perched on rocks and foliage. A Greek bouzouki entertains and is joined by an acoustic guitar. My only qualm: too short. The capstone of this mind meld, 'The Denouement Device', features bass player Henry J. Osborne's melodious bass lines. It sculpts and intensifies, blending multiple melodies using all sorts of keyboard wizardry and electric guitars and is by far the most complex piece on the whole album. At times it reminds me distantly of 'Entangled' from the 1976 Genesis Trick Of The Tail album possibly revealing early musical roots..

I wouldn't say that listening to Sonic Celluloid was like watching a collection of short films in my head Admittedly it's a pretty far out concept and must be approached with a problematic mindset Largely produced under the direction of mastermind Gayle Ellett with contributions of varying degrees from the other members, to those not acquainted with the Djam Karet method Sonic Celluloid will tend to sound disjointed at times. Even I found myself saying, 'why the freak did you have to stop there? I was just getting into it', on more than one occasion. Nonetheless the knowing ones such as myself will revel in this Jewel. Djam Karet madness all the way! It also seems that they are on some sort of fantastic crusade to out-engineer/produce each previous album. The production here is simply exquisite and Sonic Celluloid is definitely one to lose your mind with with the headphones cranked to infinity!

 Swamp Of Dreams by DJAM KARET album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.53 | 10 ratings

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Swamp Of Dreams
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars This is music only the abstracted brilliance of Djam Karet could give birth to. The greatest band that nobody has ever heard of ! Swamp of Dreams contains 6 titles have been dredged up and reworked from various one off contributions that appeared on anthologies and benevolent albums between 1990 & 2006. They have been cleverly presented in reverse chronological order which is a real treat for hard core followers like myself. Dark, vaporous and menacing sequenced rhythmical effects drive each piece with boundless intensity. A multitude of styles and devices are employed and melded together into something that has some semblance of congruity and it is hard to believe that they were all conceived over a 16 year time span. The whole album is characterized by flawless production, superb musicianship and technical prowess.

The opening track, Voodoo Chases The Muse is anchored by a pulsating, regurgitating synth template. A groovy psychedelic guitar riff plays on as if the wah wah pedal was just discovered. Jimi Hendrix meets Tangerine Dream. It then reinvents itself into something more frightening and conflagrated in some bizarre time signature that only aliens can figure out with Moogs and Fender Rhodes going maniac. The Shattering Sky appeared in original form on a humanitarian CD to raise money for victims of Hurricaine Katrina which devastated New Orleans back in the summer of 2005. The sky actually sounds like it's going to fall at the onset as the piece proceeds to work itself into a furious rage with frantic jazz bass and thundering synth barrages and fuzz guitar getting into a real cool groove that unfortunately ends too soon.. I actually googled the meaning of the title of the third track, Pentimento, and came up with two different results and tried to associate them with this psychotic piece. It commences with phantasmagoric spacey atmospheres and then transmogrifies into a manic guitar inferno with globs of plodding tonal wreckage. New Light On The Dark Age and the title track are more coherent and fluid pieces and for the most part are free of all the sonic havoc that has to be dealt with on the other pieces. Inventions of the Monsters is my favourite track. An alternate auditory interpretation of creation possibly influenced by Dali's surreal painting from the 1930's. Grotesque cat, dog and horse sounds can be heard amidst shifting sound walls and spooky tubular bell-like progressions. The whole thing seems to be gradually closing in on the listener in slow motion. Far out terrifying stuff.

I'm unaware of how the pieces that constitute Swamp of Dreams sounded in their initial forms but what has been done here is simply eye watering. A must listen for anyone who wants to grow up to be a synthesizer. Five outa this world stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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