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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Djam Karet

Suspension and Displacement

Review by G. W. Hill

Pink Floyd is a big influence on this album, as are King Crimson and Hawkwind. The album was recorded at the same time as Burning the Hard City, but is much more sedate than that album. They have almost a yin and yang relationship to each other. The lineup on this release is Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Chuck Oken Jr. and Henry J. Osbourne.

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Track by Track Review
Dark Clouds, No Rain
Dark, ambient textures with a wonderful mood starts this cut. A bit Hawkwindish at times, this one moves very gradually. As it starts building, it is obvious that this is strong prog. It has some Native American moments, particularly due to the flute of that type in the mix.
8:15 No Safe Place
The early segments here are mysterious and powerful, even though in sedate tones. Turning from the soothing modes, it becomes nearly frightening, demonstrating the "No Safe Place" part of the title. The cut ends in its earlier mode.
Angels Without Wings
Pretty ambient textures begin this cut. It builds gradually in its progish, ambient manner. The piece gets more and more substantial before ending abruptly.
Consider Figure Three
Dramatic textural music makes a backdrop for a professorial anatomical lecture. The voice gets more and more echoey and distant as it carries on, until it reaches "Consider figure four", when it returns to clarity, only to start drifting away again. The overall effect is of someone trying hard, but failing, to stay awake during a college lecture, and finding the dreaming haze more interesting than the lecture. When the voice fades completely, a lovely acoustic guitar driven melody takes over. It is both lush and beautiful, and this is a very strong cut.
Erosion
A looped melody makes a droning sort of backdrop for this extended cut. Textural tones top off the number. These over layers do cover a lot of ground, but at times the looped segment gets a little overpowering and redundant, particularly when you consider that it is unrelenting in the first 8 minutes of this nearly 13 minute cut. As that segment winds down, the piece picks up steam, the guitar moving into rather jazzish tones as a different loop takes over. The guitar melody line gets quite pretty at times. The first loop returns at the end as the song gets more mysterious and powerful, only to fade away.
Severed Moon
This is a slow moving track, much of which is backwards. The overall effect is dreamlike and atmospheric, but this dream borders on nightmare as the tones are quite frightening at times. For a few moments Hawkwindish tones combines with Jabba the Hut laughter. At around 3 minutes in, the backward melody goes away to be replaced by tribal drums that take over for a time. An acoustic guitar driven melody, rather like Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" ends the piece.
The Naked and the Dead
Hawkwind type sound effects start the cut. It starts building with textural and atmospheric tones and guitar warbling. As the track moves on, the guitar seems to take the entire song on its shoulders at times. After a while, a pretty acoustic guitar melody begins to take hold and dominate the piece. This is a powerful and beautiful composition and this acoustic guitar melody and accompanying arrangement are quite strong. They only hold the song for a short time, however, and the chaos that began it returns, this time with animalistic sounds and then tribal rhythms.
Gordon's Basement
Backwards, off-kilter spoken words, like coming across a slightly off frequency ham radio, forms the background of this one. Dramatic tones slide across the top of the piece, forming an interesting and somewhat spooky aural tapestry.
A City With Two Tales - Part One Revisited 19
Dramatic textures begin this cut, coming in wave that gradually build in intensity. It builds organically for a time before simply stopping. A weird dissonant section takes over for a time before stopping. This is replaced by tribal rhythms overlaid with elephant screeches of guitar bursts.
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