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TRACK LIST: 1. Dream Portal 5:26 2. Hungry Ghost 9:17 3. Chimera Moon 7:08 4. Heads of Ni-Oh 8:03 5. Scary Circus 3:41 6. The Falafel King 3:23 7. Sexy Beast 4:25 8. Ukab Maerd 7:56 9. The Red Thread 10:29 All tracks: by Djam Karet. LINE-UP: Gayle Ellett - - electric & slide guitars, e-bow, lute; - organ & synthesizers, theremin Mike Henderson - - electric guitars, e-bow; synthesizers Chuck Oken - drums & percussion; synthesizers Aaron Renyon - bass Henry Osborne - bass (on 1, 3, 5, & 8) With: Steve Roach - effects (on 8) Produced by Djam Karet. Engineered by Henderson at "The Vault" & other studios.
If not counting "McMusic for the McMasses" (1982) released under the name of Kafka's Breakfast, "A Night for Baku" is the tenth studio CD by Djam Karet. The reviews of some earlier albums by the band can be read by clicking
Synopsis. Here is what I wrote in one of my earlier Djam Karet-related reviews. "Yes, it is well known that Djam Karet is one of the most innovative contemporary bands, but stylistically, their music represents something indescribable. Really, it is difficult to briefly and, at the same time, precisely describe what kind of Progressive Rock the guys of Djam Karet play. Is this Art Rock, Prog-Metal, or maybe RIO, after all? Nobody knows for sure. Meanwhile, the fifth progressive genre, consisting of the bands playing distinctly innovative music, became larger once again." Well, all of this has been written before I 'discovered' and defined the >Fifth Element genre, while now, I am able to describe Djam Karet's main stylistic direction more accurately. "Night for Baku" is a semi-concept album (since there are only accompanying texts and no lyrics), a mystic and, partly, sci-fi story about the most undercover and dark corners of the human sub-consciousness, evil entities of the dream world searching their realm for those suffering nightmarish dreams, etc. Overall, the music on the album brilliantly reflects that conception, and the only exception here is the opening track Dream Portal, the melodically mellow nature of which is quite delusive, as this is the portal into the world of disturbing dreams, and not an untroubled sleep. This is an original and excellent composition, but being about a guitar Art-Rock with elements of Symphonic Progressive, which, in addition, is romantic rather than dramatic in character, Dream Portal doesn't fit the overall musical and stylistic picture of the album, though, perhaps, it was done advisedly. Along with The Red Thread, this is one of the two tracks on the album where you'll hear the charming sounds of Mellotron. The main soloing instruments are guitars (of course!), synthesizers, including the Hammond organ analogues, bass, and drums. With the exception of Ukab Maerd, to which I'll return later, all of the other compositions here: Hungry Ghost, Chimera Moon, Heads of Ni-Oh, Scary Circus, The Falafel King, Sexy Beast, and The Red Thread (tracks 2 to 7 & 9) are the representatives of Fifth Element, among the perceptible constituents of which are a guitar Art-Rock, symphonic Art-Rock, Space Rock, and Space Metal, though The Falafel King is in addition filled with flavors of music of the East. These seven present a diverse, tense, dramatic, in many ways mysterious, and just fantastically intriguing music where originality meets innovation, innovation meets magic, and magic meets hypnotism, which is perceptible even on a physical level. Of course, most of the profound Prog-heads in general and fans of the band in particular have already experienced a wonderful magnetism that these compositions are just filled with. As for the remaining track: Ukab Maerd (8), the first half of it is a bit excessively eclectic, and the second one consists of varied effects and noises. While it keeps a tense, mysterious atmosphere, which is one of the central hallmarks of the album, musically, it represents Electronic Space Rock rather than anything else, not to mention Fifth Element. This is my least favorite piece here (even though it's good on the whole), and I would have preferred to see it being placed on the last track instead of the wonderful Red Thread (9), which turned out to be separated from its 'brothers in greatness' following side by side from the second to seventh track and forming the real, by all means real core of the album. But well, I think I have to stop myself. In any case, "A Night for Baku" is a masterpiece, and I am not that deaf and stupid not to realize this. By the way, I've just comprehended that while the music of Djam Karet is partly influenced by Pink Floyd, 'Tree Porcupines' were at their best years influenced by both Djam Karet and Pink Floyd, equally, and not only by the latter band, as it usually affirms.
Conclusion. Along with >Isildurs Bane, >Taylor's Universe, and a few of the other bands, most of which were formed in the 1980s, I consider Djam Karet the brightest representatives of the new generation of Titans, as well as one of the best contemporary bands. With "A Night for Baku", which is the best among their albums that I've heard, Djam Karet has once again proved that their 'titanic' status is firm, and it's clear that it will remain linked with the name of the band forever.
VM: November 5, 2003
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