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(64:42, 'Djam Karet')
TRACK LIST: 1. The Cave 23:35 2. White Light No Heat 11:28 3. God’s Elastic Acre 18:15 4. Sati and the Trainman 11:15 LINEUP: Chuck Oken Jr. – keyboards, loops, electronic percussion Gayle Ellett – keyboards; guitar With: Richard Pinhas – guitar loops (1, 2, 3)
Prolusion. UKAB MAERD is a studio project, created by the two founding members of the US band Djam Karet, Chuck Oken Jr. and Gayle Ellett. The duo’s debut album, “The Waiting Room”, also features French musician Richard Pinhas as a guest.
Analysis. If we read the name of the project back to front, it will transform into ‘Baku Dream’, which seems to refer to the Djam Karet 2003 release “A Night for Baku”. Besides, while only featuring two members of that quintet (the men deploying few instruments, some of them sampled), “The Waiting Room” is presented on its website as part of its discography. In fact, however, the music here does not evoke that of the duo’s main band at all, so I think Ukab Maerd should have been listed among its side projects. When listening to the album I felt like I’m in a waiting room indeed, only waiting for something that seems to never happen. Its creators describe it as mind music that draws its inspiration from dream language (what a beast is this?) and surrealist art. If they hint at Salvador Dali and like surrealist artists, whose paintings are highly meaningful, polychromatic and multidimensional at once, there is nothing of the kind here. If I were a snail I would have maybe found something sophisticated in here, but I’m a man thankfully! This 65-minute outing is made up of four tracks, ranging from 11:15 to 23:35, on the first three of which, The Cave, White Light No Heat and God’s Elastic Acre, Ukab Maerd offers up long droning atmospheres, which in the majority of cases appear to be a mix of synthesizer layers and loops (i.e. cycled processed sounds), everything being imbued with ambient e-music aesthetics. Surely, there is also a broad cinematic feel to all of these tracks, so the arrangements or rather manipulations with textures never challenge the ear, simply letting the piece now drift into a darker tone, now into a bit lighter one. Klaus Schultz can serve as a reference point, though, as the sounds are quiescent throughout, this music has more distinct edges/outlines, is much less amorphous in structure and never has a random quality to it. On the other hand, it is a bit more simple-minded, with only hints of development, most of the time using the same synthesizer layer (can’t call it a theme) as its basis. One might also recall the name of Tangerine Dream in its later ‘sequencer-permissible’ days. As for the final opus, Sati and the Trainman, while reminding me somewhat of an electronic take on one of the classic Alan Parsons instrumentals, it is overall as unassuming as all of the above ones, differing from them only because it has some bright, melodically pronounced synthesizer solos, which hover over, well, the already familiar landscape.
Conclusion. This music is two-dimensional at best; it could be used as background for the project’s further effort, which is already a fantasy, though. As it is, it can only be recommended to fans of textural ambience and sound design, but those never visit this site, I’m pretty sure, since it’s devoted to progressive music lovers.
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