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Djam Karet - Reflections From The Firepool CD (album) cover


Djam Karet


Eclectic Prog

3.72 | 64 ratings

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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.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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