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Djam Karet

Live at Orion

Review by Gary Hill

Combining elements of King Crimson, Rush, Zappa, Steve Vai and others as diverse as the Allman Brothers, this album is a very strong guitar dominated instrumental prog work. The disc does not come across as blind noodling, as some of this genre does. Nor is it an album which is musically stuck in one groove. Indeed, this is a diverse and very entertaining work. Fans of instrumental prog should really check out Djam Karet. Djam Karet is Gayle Ellett; Mike Henderson; Chuck Oken, Jr., and Henry J. Osborne.

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Track by Track Review
Technology and Industry
A strong driving bass and drum segment starts this cut. As the guitar comes in, it takes on very Red era Crimsonesque tones. This is powerful, guitar-driven, dissonant wandering prog. It features a very nice soaring guitar solo segment that seems to merge such diverse people as Al Dimeola, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana and Frank Zappa. It also includes a rather Hendrixed out psychedelic guitar segment.
Familiar Winds
Beginning with more sedate tones, this one starts off rather pretty. It turns very trippy and space-effects laden for a time. In fact, this segment even comes across a bit like the intro to Hawkwind's Motorway City at times. After the extended intro, as the bass comes in, the number takes on jazzy tones. Some guitar tones emerge that remind the listener of early prog era Rush. It eventually goes back down to its earlier tones fore a time, then merges them with the more jazzy moments. This is a nicely jazz oriented instrumental.
Forbidden By Rule
Quirky prog metal sorts of tones start this cut. It evolves into a straightforward rock mode with progish overtones. This is a jam that really keeps reinventing, speeding up and slowing down, picking up and dropping influences. Those influences come from such artists as Al Dimeola to Hawkwind. All of this is contained within a good cohesive rock groove. This is very strong prog in an accessible format.
Reflection From The Firepool
Atmospheric, instrumental prog tones begin this cut, which then starts to be dominated by percussion for a time. This one has a very strong groove to it. It is a powerful jam in a very listenable rock format. Very dynamic this one keeps changing and growing, but always entertaining.
Providence 19: The Village of War
Featuring an effects laden guitar intro (ala King Crimson), as percussion jumps in, the textures change. Then they change again as a strong metallic mode takes over, but still with Crimsonesque tones. Think of Black Sabbath meets King Crimson. The cut then takes on an almost southern rock tone after a time, rather like a harder edged Allman Brothers with a funky bass line. It alternates between these varied styles with a taste of Rush's La Villa Strangiato modes for good measure.
Shaman's Descent
Dramatic tones begin this one, a guitar prog jam that really has a wonderful texture to it. This evolves into a jazz based composition.
Jammin' at Mike & J's
Beginning a bit Hendrixish, this becomes an atmospheric sort of number with low tones and weirded guitar. A slow moving piece, it starts transforming into something a bit more like the more ambient recent Yes. It becomes more straightforward rock after a time. This is a very strong jam with both rock and prog elements.
Run Cerberus Run
With a Hawkwindish intro, this one takes on a prog mode with rather Deep Purplish textures. It features retro sounding keyboard textures and some killer bass work. The cut really covers a lot of prog territory in its long jam mode. Many elements show up in this high-energy number, including Hendrix and Zappa.
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