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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Djam Karet

Ascension

Review by Gary Hill

Djam Karet really is an intriguing band. The group have a way of producing material that is entertaining and catchy, while still spacey and even weird a lot of the time. Not a lot of groups can pull that off, let alone over and over again. The group has a definite sound and consistency, but still manage to produce songs that have their own identity. Another rather impressive feat is that they continue to produce albums of instrumental music that don't lag or bore. For this reviewer it is very difficult to pull off an entire album of instrumental music that can be digested in one sitting. Yet, these guys make it work time and time again. They are a true phenomenon, and every album is a winner - this one included. I can't really suggest a disc that would make a good starting point to getting to know Djam Karet, as any of them will work equally well. I can tell you that you should check out this band. They are really something special.

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Track by Track Review
Arose From The Ashes
This acoustically driven jam builds organically and is very effective. It serves as a great intro to the disc and feels a bit Zeppelinish at times. It drops to atmospheric weirdness later and moves into a percussive jam. This newer section is very strange, but oh so cool.
Licking The Skull
Ambient keyboard textures combine with industrial sounds to produce and intriguing soundscape. It is a very brief number.
The Hanging Tree
Floydian textures begin this slower paced track. It becomes a killer prog rock jam that is very effective. While the Pink Floyd texture remains, other sounds enter, too. It moves into a harder edged guitar solo based jam later. This is an exceptionally potent track that has a definite consistency while remaining quite dynamic at the same time. That's quite a feat.
Swimming In The Big Sky
Mellower tones start this, then begin a gradual building process. This is another jam that progresses organically.
Special Cases
Harder edged sounds make up the intro here, then the cut wanders into strangeness for a short time until percussion takes it into new directions. This moves it into a sparser, rhythmically driven jam that truly works very well. It gets weird, but is still very entertaining. It eventually dissolves into ambient sounds - loops and the like, before moving back up to where it started.
Stage Three
Harder rocking tones start this, and the cut comes in dark and heavy. This jam carries on in fairly constant modes, only moving by degrees, but is quite effective. It is another effective piece on a disc that is full of them.
Disintegration
Ambient weirdness begins this one. Eventually an acoustically driven mode takes it. This builds in a very melodic and satisfying way. Eventually spacey textural keyboards replace this jam. As the spaceyness carries on an African sounding percussive texture and melody takes the track. They move forward on these world music themes, then strange processed voices enter after a time. A new keyboard melody washes over then those strange voices return. Tribal flute takes over after a time, then the cut dissolves in to a spacey percussive jam. It drops to ambient chaos later. This looped weirdness moves it of for a time before a new pretty melody emerges, surrounded still by the weirdness. As it carries on some major space sounds take it. Ambient textures serves as the conclusion to the piece.
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