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Makajodama

Makajodama

Review by Gary Hill

Take some classical music. Blend in a healthy helping of jazz. Bring King Crimson to the party along with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and Djam Karet. Add some jam band to this and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this album sounds like. It’s an intriguing and unusual blend of sounds that works quite well. All the music here is both purely instrumental and thoroughly enjoyable.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Reodor Felgen Blues

Take a mellow, but dark King Crimson styled sound and blend it with jam band music. Then shift it towards RIO. You’ve got a good idea of what this number sounds like. Around the minute and a half mark they take us to a noisy, rather Red-era Crimson like exploration. Around the half way (this piece is over ten minutes in length) point it drops to a mellower, classical music oriented journey. When it fires back out around the seven minute mark this really does feel a lot like something from King Crimson’s Red album. That sound takes us to the close.

Buddha And The Camel
This one starts a lot mellower. It seems to combine an almost country element with classical stylings as it grows in melodic and quite pretty ways. Around the half way mark (this one’s over nine minutes long) it changes. There’s a lot more of a mainstream rock feeling to this, but it’s got some folk music and other sounds in play, too. It wouldn’t be out of the question to imagine this being from any number of folk influenced progressive rock bands of the 1970’s. From there it moves out to some almost funk influenced music that at times makes me think of Dream Theater and at other points of Yes. And yet, this is merged with the sounds that preceded it in an unusual mélange. As this continues to grow there is definitely a jam band vibe here, but also more Yes. The arrangement gets pretty involved and then shifts towards the more classical motifs that started it.
Wolof
This short cut (well, but Makajodama standards – it’s almost three-minutes long) reminds me of a blend of the acoustic music Led Zeppelin did with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and California Guitar Trio. 
The Train Of Thought
They start this rather classical and build it with an organic folk and classical music meets California Guitar Trio vibe. It’s almost chamber music in some ways. It definitely climbs gradually upward. After a time more rock music elements are brought in and the song progresses gradually from there. Some pedal steel guitar later brings in a bit of a country flavor, but this is over the top of the rest of the sounds. 
The Ayurvedic Soap
The most purely classical music thus far starts this off and holds it for a time. From there it moves into some of the most purely King Crimson like sounds of the set. Then we are taken into a space music meets jazz exploration. As it carries on it becomes quite weird, but also very tasty. As this builds back up later it feels like King Crimson combined with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. 
Vallingby Revisited
Another short one (yes, it is three minutes long), this might be my favorite track on show here. It combines classical, jazz and prog rock stylings into a musical journey that’s accessible and yet quite meaty.
The Girls At The Marches
Starting with an almost rockabilly sound, this takes on elements that are more in keeping with the rest of the album, but still retains that vibe. It moves slowly and evolves very gradually, but shifts out to something more like rock music later. This reminds me quite a bit Djam Karet. Guitar really takes this into some scorching territory as it continues. 
Autumn Suite
Combine a catchy Beatles-like melody with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and classical music for the early portions of this. Then take it out into neo-classical territory mixed with RIO as they carry on. Later we’re taken into a more rock oriented variant on the opening section, but it modulates with a reprise of that motif. Around the four minute mark it drops back to a rather dark and ambient element. It builds into a psychedelia meets Klaatu kind of motif and builds feeling a bit like “Little Neutrino” to me. As this builds it shifts more towards pure psychedelia. This eventually takes it out.
 
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