Djam Karet - A Night For Baku

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: RUNE 169
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:28:00

The California-based Djam Karet has often been called America's greatest undiscovered band, something I agree with. Listening to the band's 7th studio release on Cuneiform Records was a voyage into a new dimension. A few quotes from the band's bio, as it is found on their website: "Djam Karet has always been the ultimate jamband... just a little ahead of its time. Djam Karet is no ordinary band. They gobble up myriad influences... including New Age, fusion, hard rock, electronic music, world, blues, even surf music ... and metamorphose them into fascinating musical hybrids. They have never made the same album twice." Well, this is a clear description of their music: a mix of just about everything and their style: lots of improvising. Djam Karet has made all kinds of albums and A Night For Baku contains all these musical threads, which spans from their beginning in 1984 until the present.

Listening to A Night For Baku is quite an experience, which starts with the very relaxing "Dream Portal," atmospheric with pleasant sounding guitar riffs. The rockier "Hungry Ghost" contains solid drums by Chuck Oken, Jr. and bass by Aaron Kenyon. Kenyon recently joined Djam Karet and shares the bass duties with Henry J. Osbourne, one of the founding members. "Chimera Moon" gives you a good idea of the improvisational talents of Djam Karet: after a few minutes of ambient synths, Gayle Ellet and Mike Henderson, the two guitar players in the band, show their skills. The ingredients that make these songs so good, are found in all songs, but there is one difference to their previous albums. A Night For Baku features more synths and also several (voice) samples.

Each song is a discovery in itself of the musical path these five musicians tread. Despite the improvisation in the songs, the melody is never forgotten and the album seamlessly blends rock and ambient sounds. That dreams are not always calm and quiet, proves "Ukab Maerd," with lots of psychedelic influences is a very dark song approaching a nightmare. The track features guest musician, Steve Roach, who created some really weird, ambient sounds. The closing track "The Red Thread" is not a soft wakeup call from the dream, but more like waking up in the middle of a bad dream, wondering if it really was a dream ...

A Night For Baku definitely needs much more than one spin, as this is not an easy album to digest, but a high quality one! If this is your first encounter with Djam Karet, it is a good album to start with and worth it to dive into their history as they have lots of stuff out there (just check out their impressive discography on their website). As for A Night For Baku, don't be afraid of your dreams, and put the disc in your CD player.

Similar bands: PaRaLLaxe, Taboo Voodoo

[This review originally appeared August 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Dream Portal (5:26) / Hungry Ghost (9:17) / Chimera Moon (7:08) / Heads Of Ni-Oh (8:03) / Scary Circus (3:41) / The Falafel King (3:23) / Sexy Beast (4:25) / Ukab Maerd (7:56) / The Red Thread (10:29)

Gayle Ellett - electric guitar, ebow, slide guitar, organ, analog & digital synths, 8 string lute, theremin, field recordings, and effects
Mike Henderson - electric guitars, ebow, synths, field recordings and effects
Aaron Kenyon - bass (2, 4-7,9)
Chuck Oken, Jr. - drums and percussion, analog and digital synth, sounds and sequences
Henry J Osbourne - bass (1, 3, 5, 8)
Steve Roach - ending guitar atmospheres (8)

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: December 11th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 912
Language: english


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