Djam Karet - The Devouring


Year of Release: 1997
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: Rune 99
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:28:00

If you are looking for cool, jazzy instrumental rock, then you need look no further than Djam Karet. The first half of The Devouring would fit the bill. And if you are looking for tight, precise, guitar playing, you've found that here, too. Each individual composition is worth an examination in its own right.

The Devouring is Djam Karet's latest release and thematically it owes a lot to The X-Files. Whether this was intentional or coincidental, I'm not sure, but with track titles like "Night Of The Mexican Goat Sucker," and "Lights Over Roswell" there has to have been some thought of the cult series.

Regardless, The Devouring is a great album, and can truly be called progressive - both in execution and in spirit. "Forbidden By Rule," the second track in, features some stellar guitar work, but that is really true for the whole album. There is a freedom in not having to following the pop formula and Djam Karet make good use of that freedom - each track here (and on their previous albums) is expressive - almost bigger than can be contained in the song format. There's a feeling of movement in Djam Karet music, as if somewhere there are visuals to accompany the music - whether a movie or a PBS nature special. Therefore, listening to this, you need merely close your eyes to be transported where Djam Karet want you to go.

In both "The River Of No Return" and "The Indian Problem" a dry Southwestern feeling is evoked. In the first, you can almost see and feel, towards the end of the track, sandstone canyons towering high overhead as you float along the ... well, "The River of No Return" (I suppose, too, depending on your mood, you might think of the river Styx, or be reminded of Conrad's The Heart of Darkness).

While guitars (Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson) dominate this album - the sultriness of "Lost, But Not Forgotten," or the elegant etherealness of "Myth Of A White Jesus," for example - the bass and drums (Henry J Osborne and Chuck Oken, respectively) provide a solid base from which the guitars can take flight. Even still, Osborne and Oken get chances to show their mettle, most strongly in "The River Of No Return" and "Old Soldiers' Disease".

While stand-out tracks are hard to pick out - at any one moment any of them would apply - as of this review, the ones that have stuck with me are "Lights Over Roswell," which starts out atmospheric - not unlike Steve Roach, with whom they collaborated with on ... um ... Collaborator, and strangely reminiscent of the Babylon 5 theme music - but soon morphs in to a rollicking, funky, bouncy sci-fi tune with just enough otherworldliness to earn its title.

The bottom line is this: go out and buy this album. It is the best thing to come out thus far for the 1997-1998 music year.


Tracklisting:
Night Of The Mexican Goat Sucker (7:04) / Forbidden By Rule (5:55) / Lost, But Not Forgotten (7:45) / Lights Over Roswell (6:44) / Myth Of A White Jesus (4:19) / The River Of No Return (8:47) / Room 40 (8:36) / The Indian Problem (5:30) / The Pinzler Method (4:48) / Old Soldier's Disease (11:04)

Musicians:
Gayle Ellett - guitars, e-bow, organ, keyboards, mellotrons, theremin, wind talker, koto, birds, and percussion
Henry J Osbourne - basses, guitars, keyboards, and percussion
Chuck Oken, Jr - drums and keyboard sequencing
Mike Henderson - guitars (1, 2, 3 & 5)
Judy Garf - rhythm violin (4)

Discography:
No Commercial Potential (1985) (Out-of-print)
Kafka's Breakfast (1987) (Out-of-print)
The Ritual Continues (1989)
Reflections In The Firepool (1989)
Burning The Hard City (1991/2000)
Suspension and Displacement (1991/2000)
Collaborator (1994)
The Devouring (1997)
Still No Commerical Potential (1998)
Live at Orion (1999)
New Dark Age (2001)
Ascension (2001)
#1 (2001) (via band only)
#2 (2001) (via band only)
Afghan: Live At The Knitting Factory (2001) (via band only)
A Night For Baku (2003)
Live At NEARfest 2001 (2004)
No Commercial Potential (expanded) (2004)
Recollection Harvest (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 11th 1998
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.djamkaret.com
Hits: 834
Language: english

  

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