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Djam Karet - 2004 - "No Commercial Potential"

(113 min 2CD, HCP)


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Prolusion. Not counting those on CD-R ("Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2", containing unreleased early recordings), this double CD set is the twelfth 'programmed' studio output by the US stalwarts of genuine, non-commercial Progressive Rock, DJAM KARET. It consists of two different albums, although both represent an impromptu music with no overdubs. The material presented on the first disc, which has given the title to the entire set, was originally released 20 years ago, but only on a cassette. For this release, the recording was digitally remastered and equalized. The second album, "And Still Getting the Ladies", presents the previously unreleased material, which was recorded direct to CD during the "A Night for Baku" sessions in 2002.

Disc I (58 min) - 1985/2004 - "No Commercial Potential"
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TRACK LIST:

1.  Where's L Ron? 16:52
2.  Dwarf Toss 11:16
3.  Blue Fred 29:42

All tracks: by Djam Karet.
Produced by Djam Karet.

LINEUP:

Gayle Ellett - guitars
Mike Henderson - guitars
Chuck Oken Jr. - drums
Henry Osborne - bass

Analysis. I haven't heard the band doing spontaneous jams until now, but I always knew that Djam Karet was a charismatic band. Quite simply, it's due to the fact that each of the members has a charisma in everything concerning music. Otherwise I can't explain (above all for myself) their ability to create compositionally brilliant works on the spur of the moment. The point is that I don't see a particular difference between the band's purely improvisational music, as is presented here, and their composed works, at least in the overall context. There is much in common between such Djam Karet's epics as The Devouring and each of the tracks here: Where's L Ron, Dwarf Toss and Blue Fred. The music develops from slow and spacey to more up-tempo and dense arrangements, several minutes later reaching the height of intensity and eclecticism, with a wall of blazing guitar, bass and drums crescendos, with the same hard driving energized Rock approach, the same spirited soloing, the same tendency to force tension, etc, only with a bit more immediate and daring spirit. Stylistically uniform, all three of the tracks embody distinctive Jazz Rock features, and yet as a whole, the style has little in common even with authentic Jazz-Fusion, not to mention Jazz as such. In my view, this factor is still explained by the band's charisma, which stably provides them with fresh ideas, regardless of whether they scrupulously think over every chord or play impromptu. As quite typical for Djam Karet, the music here is a blend of clearly recognizable and indefinable structures, so I perceive it as Space Rock and Space Fusion-based Fifth Element, building in improvisational, highly eclectic, yet, a completely structured state. It's a very strong alloy, non-susceptible to entropy, sounding as fresh and convincing as if it was forged just recently; and no commercial potential, of course.

Disc II (55 min) - 2004 - "...And Still Getting the Ladies"
******

TRACK LIST:

1.  The Building 20:03
2.  The Door 7:56
3.  The Window 27:22

All tracks: by Djam Karet.
Produced by Djam Karet.

LINEUP:

Gayle Elett - guitars
Mike Henderson - guitars
Chuck Oken Jr. - drums; synthesizers
Henry Osborne - bass
Aaron Kenyon - bass

Analysis. By construction and the overall development, the long compositions, The Building and The Window, have much in common with those on the first disc. The sound, however, has undergone some significant changes, particularly in the 'preludes' where the emphasis is now laid on the mysteriously spacey atmosphere; there also appears a quasi-symphonic component. No drums are involved in the arrangements on the first one third of each of the epics, because no overdubs were intended for this recording, while Mr. Oken does not have four hands to play synthesizer and something more simultaneously:-) Here, the band approaches the style, which is rooted in the first deep Space Rock explorations of Pink Floyd, updated with measured amounts of modern technology and enriched with their own ideas. The performances are highly effective in creating the lush aural textures that sustain the 'preludes'. The further musical events should be described the same way as corresponding ones from the first disc, though here, even more attention is paid to the thematic development. The guitar, bass and drum work is phenomenal, and each of the instruments' every particular solo is highlighted! All in all, the music is immediately attractive, so it won't mean a lot of work for the experienced listener to get into this fifth elementary world and get all the treasures hidden there. Figuratively speaking, The Door in this building turned out to be surprisingly narrower than The Window. This music is synth-based, slow and reflective, spacey ambient, without drums, lacking those amazing complexity and intensity that the long tracks are so strikingly notable for. Thankfully, it's relatively short, so I'll meet it halfway. I'll be listening to it imagining that it's a kind of pre-intro to the following track:-)

Conclusion. Many jazz rockers would've been proud of having such a strong and harmonically coherent material as is presented here, though it's not Jazz Rock, at least in its traditional manifestation. In any case, Djam Karet's impromptu music speaks well for itself; just give it a listen. Each of the albums is on par with many of their other output and is better to my taste than "Collaborator" and "Ascension". If you loved Djam Karet before, this set is a must have to you. If not, you won't be converted, unless you are the newly fledged graduate of ProGfessor advanced training courses.

VM: March 24 & 25, 2005


Related Links:

Djam Karet


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