Djam Karet - A Night For Baku

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

Oh, but isn't it a real joy when the sound waves emitted by one's speakers not only reach out in pulsating intensity, but also grip one's very soul and bind it irremediably to the music being played? Isn't it deliciously infectious when grooves force one's feet to tap and one's face to produce grimaces that would cause immediate reddening if discovered by an intruder? And isn't it wonderfully satisfying when one listens to a new album that corresponds to all the promise one would expect from it? I hope you answered yes, yes, and yes. Otherwise you should probably be going to your local mall and listening to the latest Kenny G there. But I digress. Let me for once be laconic and stop beating around the bush, as I've been known to do often: Djam Karet's newest, A Night For Baku, rocks.

But please, do remove that look of contemptuous shock from your faces! What? Yours truly surrendering to brazen impulse instead of holding the outcome for later and thus allowing for at least a hint of critique development? Well, yes. But I blush not this time, for I can blame someone else, or something else, for this capital sin: the immediacy of this quite delectable nine-track cookie. Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Chuck Oken Jr., Henry J. Osborne, and Aaron Kenyon have not spared a single chocolate chip; have made this the biggest circle of dough that this hungry youth has ever seen; and have stuffed it chock-full of sweet goodies. Electronic effects used to their utmost efficiency, placid floating, smothering grooves, exotic sounds ? you name it, they stuffed it in there. These are the masters of the cookie. Bow down before them and get ready to get one tasty bite.

Because as soon as A Night For Baku begins with the childlike contemplation and innocent happiness of "Dream Portal," the experience becomes unavoidably absorbing, diving into the tendril's of one's body and then simply refusing to let go. Ellett and Henderson's guitars are aflame, screaming at every bend and boiling with an attitude that is only matched by Oken Jr's caveman capacity of driving ahead the oppressive grooves of tracks such as "The Falafel King." Yet the band is perfectly capable of braking like a beast midway and jumping into a funky jam that is as yummy as they get. And right in the middle of that electric monster called "Hungry Ghost," no less. The whole affair is indeed like a who's who of the band's capabilities, at one point presenting tracks that are largely a pastiche of effects, sounds, and field recordings backed by sparse instrumentation, at another peacefully gliding atmospheres, at another full rock bravado, and yet at another an impressive capacity for exotic grooves with a mean bite. In other words, this is Djam Karet at its finest.

And what a shaking experience it is! Even when the band leaves originality for a second while sounding too much like a full-throttle Deep Purple on "Scary Circus," the listener draws a guilty pleasure from the familiarity and the feeling that it could have easily been Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord themselves guesting on the album. Simply put, Djam Karet has turned its focus into an electric behemoth of sorts, set fire to the nations, and is sure as hell taking no prisoners. Welcome back boys.

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)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 24th 2003
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 834
Language: english


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