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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Djam Karet

Regenerator 3017

Review by Gary Hill

The one thing you can always count on with Djam Karet is quality. Well, I suppose you could add musicianship, too. Beyond those two things, though, there is a lot of variety in their musical soundscape. This album is more towards fusion and mainstream prog than anything else I’ve heard from them, I think. It’s still all instrumental and it’s very cool. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorites from the group. I absolutely love this album and it might very well land in my best of 2014 list.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Prince of the Inland Empire

This is not what I expect from Djam Karet. It opens with a really funky, almost dance music kind of vibe. As it grows out from there this takes on more of a fusion air. While it’s unexpected, it’s also incredible. Before the one minute mark they drop it back to a section that has a real classic rock texture to it. The guitar solo that comes over the top as it gets reenergized is part fusion and part David Gilmour. This just keeps evolving with the focus wandering between classic rock, fusion and more pure melodic prog.

Living In The Future Past

Very retro sounding fusion makes up the musical concept here. This is a killer groove and another smoking hot tune. There are some great shifts and changes on this, but it’s a pretty straightforward ride. I really love some of the keyboard sounds a lot. There is also some especially meaty guitar soloing in this number.

Desert Varnish
Although this lacks the energy of the two openers as it starts, it isn’t lacking magic or “cool factor.” It works through in a more sedate way with lots of layers of ambient textures. This is less fusion oriented and much more classic progressive rock in nature. They bring this through quite a few changes and it has a lot of jam band built into, but always based in a progressive rock style. It does get more energy in the later sections.
Wind Pillow

I really like the flute on this. The tune is a tasteful progressive rock jam that’s quite intriguing. They drop it to a space rock section before bringing it back into the central soundscape. As it builds out the guitar drives it in some rather classic rock ways. There are some moments and passages here that make me think of Pink Floyd a bit, but there are plenty of other things going on, too.

Lost Dreams

I absolutely love this. It’s definitely progressive rock. It’s also mainstream classic rock. The guitar soloing is quite tasteful and this is just an awesome instrumental. This is one of the best cuts here. Considering how cool the set is, that says a lot.

Empty House
Dreamy prog opens this tentatively. After a while it grows out to a more consistent progression that moves it forward. It works forward consistently like that before eventually dropping back down to mellower sounds after the five minute mark. Those tentative mellow elements take it to its close.
On the Edge of the Moon

This powers in with the same classic prog meets fusion sound we’ve heard a lot of this album. It begins evolving within that basic musical concept from there. It shifts out after a time to a mellower movement and then guitar fires over the top. After that grows out for a while, this drops way down to a piano dominated section from there. As guitar rises up the comparisons to Pink Floyd are again just a little valid. That guitar delivers some more tasteful soloing as they continue. Eventually that works back out to a melodic progressive rock movement that takes it to the end.

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