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Herd of Instinct

Herd of Instinct

Review by Gary Hill

This mostly instrumental album is released on Djam Karet’s new label. In fact, Gayle Ellett from Djam Karet guests on the disc, along with quite a few more notable names. The music here wanders into world music styles and movie soundtrack territory. Overall, though, it’s quite close to modern King Crimson blended with Djam Karet. Of course, the Warr guitar lends the group to the Crimson comparisons. In addition to Ellett, other guests include: Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Markus Reuter (Tuner).

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Transformation

Rather noisy piano leads this off and the track feels at first rather like some jazz meets classical. More ominous layers of sound join after a time and it feels a bit like soundtrack music. It’s a cool way to start the festivities.

Room Without Shadows

This is a cool track. It has some Djam Karet built into it, but comes with a rubbery bass line. It seems at times to combine a gothic metal sound with modern King Crimson. At other times, though, it’s more closely related directly to King Crimson music. It’s a cool cut that works through a number of intriguing changes. It’s quite a thrill ride with a lot of twists and turns and gets into some more traditional progressive rock at times.

Road To Asheville

Sitar and percussion bring this in with a decidedly psychedelic sound. It builds up by adding more instruments, but remaining organic until it slips into a mysterious sound later. From there it eventually works out to a hard rocking jam that has a lot of fusion in the mix. It drops down at a later point for a killer flute solo. As it rises up from there it’s almost like Traffic meets King Crimson. Then the traffic drops away to be replaced by Jimi Hendrix while the Crimson remains. We’re taken to an acoustic guitar driven segment after that.

Hex

The first minute plus of this is extremely mellow and mysterious, while also ominous. It powers out to a killer Crimsonian jam after that and shifts and turns here and there as they continue. Around the three and a half minute mark it slips into a jam that’s got a lot of Yes built in, but still reflects all the earlier sounds. That gets shifted towards the metallic for a while as it works through. Then it goes back to the Yes meets Crimson sounds to take it out.

Blood Sky

An acoustic modern King Crimson sort of groove opens this. There are some female vocals over the top as this moves forward. There is definitely a world music vibe to this, but some harder rocking Crimson like sounds emerge later for a time. A smoking hot modern Crimson jam takes it later.

Anamnesis
Starting atmospheric, there is a pounding rhythm in this early section. It works out from there in a wandering sort of jam that’s got a lot of modern King Crimson built in. This is also, arguably, the closest to Djam Karet of anything on the set. It becomes quite atmospheric later, but with that Crimson vibe still prevailing.
Vibrissa
There’s a cool, twisting and turning rhythm section driving this beast at times. Crimson meets fusion and metal elements are placed over the top of that movement. Other moments are mellower and keyboard dominated, a bit like Tangerine Dream. An acoustic guitar driven movement is laid down later and that gives way to a new progressive rock jam with some tasty keyboard work.
Possession
Starting sedately, as the rhythm section enters it feels like it might power out into another Crimsonian rocker, but it remains mellow. In fact, the rhythm section drops away for a time before returning later. After working through then it builds gradually upwards in a very King Crimson-like way. There are some non-lyrical vocals heard, possibly a loop, here and there throughout the piece.
S. Karma
Coming in with a definite Djam Karet meets King Crimson sound, this works through some intriguing changes. While the intensity and general musical structures change, the main focus of sound remains mostly the same. That said, it does drop to some extremely textural music at times. There’s a flute solo later in the number. It’s actually amazing how much they pack into a track that’s less than five minutes in length. It even turns towards heavy metal at the end.
The Face Of Another
A swirling modern King Crimson-like riff leads things out here. They build on that musical concept. Around the minute and a half mark it drops way down and an industrial sort of pounding takes it along with atmospheric texture. It builds up from there with acoustic instrumentation driving. Still some cool guitar sounds soar overhead as this grows. It eventually drops back to atmosphere to end.
 
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