Djam Karet - Ascension (New Dark Age Vol. 2)

Year of Release: 2001
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:15:00

It is with great distress that I begin to write my review for Djam Karet's Ascension. Why? Because everyone out there who enjoyed the band's latest, New Dark Age, will most likely think of its second volume as an essential complement in the Djam Karet collection, and only seven hundred and fifty people are going to be able to get their hands on a copy of the record. This was your last warning. If you are interested in getting the record, go and do it right now; you can come back and resume your reading later on. If you're still here, thanks a lot, you just bolstered my confidence up a notch.

For those unaware that the band would choose to release it, Ascension is a collection of tracks that didn't make it onto New Dark Age because they didn't quite fit the flow of that album correctly. Perhaps, but the style that only Djam Karet can claim to master is still everywhere to be found on the record, with extended and atmospheric instrumentals representing gorgeous excursions of special effects, synthesizers, placid guitars, and an overall soothing effect that embraces the listener in the same warm sound waves that New Dark Age did.

There's an added plus, however. If you've been reading up on our reviews lately [at, but here now, too], you may remember a certain reviewer whose name is very curiously identical to mine mentioning that New Dark Age lacked a certain spark. Well, here's where it was. With the band's pleasing atmospheres dominating most of the record, and the occasional sharp-edged and hypnotic progressive rock moment showing up here and there, Djam Karet seems to have nailed it better on its left out tracks than on its chosen ones, albeit at a cost.

And here it is: while Ascension does indeed sound and feel more visceral and immediate than its predecessor, it's also less exhilarating due to a greater uniformity of approach. One of the main strengths of New Dark Age was the diversity of moods that the album ran its course through and the way it all seemed as a continual flow of instrumental consciousness. This time around, the diversity is partially lost, and it basically ends up leading to reduced levels of excitement, although not of quality. Interesting trade-off, and fortunately for those who thought highly of New Dark Age, not a massive one. There are still gentle musical landscapes, bizarre special effect weirdness, and lengthy developments all over the place, and it is a safe bet that if you enjoyed New Dark Age, you should be getting Ascension right now.

Similar artists: Kong

Arose From The Ashes (5:30) / Licking The Skull (1:50) / The Hanging Tree (6:58) / Swimming In The Big Sky (4:35) / Special Cases (4:46) / Stage Three (6:24) / Disintegration (16:06)

Gayle Ellett - electric guitar, lute, wooden flute, e-bow, synthesizers, field recordings, effects
Chuck Oken Jr. - drums, percussion, synthesizers, keyboards, sequencer programming
Henry J. Osborne - bass, didgeridoo
Mike Henderson - guitars (acoustic, electric, and lap steel), acoustic and electronic percussion, e-bow, dumbek, tubano, synthesizers, field recordings, effects

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)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1397
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]