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Djam Karet: Band Effort and Offshoot Project

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Djam Karet, USAÕs answer to progrock intensity, return with their first all-new studio release in eight years. Plus a side project release...

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DJAM KARET The Trip (CD on HC Productions)

This CD from 2013 features 47 minutes of spacey progrock music.

Djam Karet are: Gayle Ellett (on analog and digital synths, organ, mellotron, greek bouzouki, flute, field recordings and effects), Mike Henderson (on electric guitars, Ebow and effects), Aaron Kenyon (on bass and effects), Mike Murray (on electric and acoustic guitars, Ebow and effects), and Chuck Oken Jr. (on drums, percussion, analog and digital synths, live samples and effects).

It opens with a dose of homegrown music, cut in a folksy mode, with leisurely twanging guitars and ambient background electronics...but eventually plunges into more unconventional territory (unconventional by open standards, but quite in keeping with the bandÕs predilection for inventive experimentation) with spookily reverberating guitars and demonstrative drones. For a while, the instruments toy with discordant threads which gradually begin to display hints of harmony. Synths grind and chitter, guitars mildly strum and the bass growls in a subdued manner, while the lilt of an old school prog keyboard slithers through the mix. The model is one of slowburn, burrowing a path through the void to establish a realm of haunting milieu.

Eventually the guitars commandeer the flow with more melodic chords, growling and snarling in a guttural way. Percussion emerges, building from languid rhythms of an erratic nature to more strident in-your-face tempos.

Another stretch of meandering patterns ensues, with drawn-out bass throbs countered by piercing chimes. An ominous guitar surfaces with studied notes establishing a moody ascension.

Things finally burst into high-gear with lively guitars and pounding drums. Rumbling bass supports a searing pyrotechnic guitar exhibition worthy of the bandÕs blazing reputation.

After this sonic explosion, thereÕs a coda that reprises the pieceÕs folksy opening with a touch more modern twang.

While generally more sedate than most Djam Karet releases, this music lives up to the promise with crafty ambience punctuated by dazzling riffs.

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HERD OF INSTINCT Conjure (CD on Firepool Records)

This CD from 2013 features 53 minutes of dynamic progrock.

Herd of Instinct is: Jason Spradlin (on drums and programming), Gayle Ellett (from Djam Karet) (on moog, mellotron, Hammond organ, Rhodes, and dilruba), Mike Davidson (on guitars and guitar synth), and Mark Cook (on Warr guitar, ADG fretless bass, guitar and programming), with guests Lisa Lazo (on keyboards), Bob Fisher (on flute), Colin Edwin (from Porcupine Tree) (on fretless bass), Joe Blair (on lapsteel guitar), and Joel Blair (on trumpet).

High energy tunes crafted with searing guitars, complex percussives and novel electronics.

Versatility isnÕt the only keynote with these guitars. Their temperament is just as diverse, from squealing to guttural to slippery and smooth. Nimble-fingered chords waft along in tandem with gruff powerhouse outbursts of a stellar demeanor. It is often difficult to differentiate between the cries of natural electric guitars and Warr touch guitars.

A plethora of keyboards augment the guitar intricacy, with riffs of a sliding nature. These threads undulate with sultry disposition, slithering between the guitar leads like cunning serpents.

The percussion is vital and urgent. Rhythms pound out with fevered emphasis, describing tempos that are quick to change and establish mutated beats.

Basslines of geological might lurk deep in the mix, often peeking through to exert their puissant rumble.

A touch of trumpet and wistful flute lends a human frailty to the otherwise resolute music.

These compositions combine energetic structure with cerebral expertise, resulting in tuneage of a glistening character. The interplay of the instruments achieves a lovely cohesion, producing a unified sound that is quite molten. The tunes seethe with a distinct enthusiasm that borders on momentous potential. Fans of prime King Crimson will be ecstatically pleased with this release.

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