Djam Karet - "The Heavy Soul Sessions"
(Djam Karet/H C Productions 2010, HC015)
From Aural Innovations #42 (May 2011)
I've been raving about this California band for years. Though (justifiably) embraced by the Prog community, Djam Karet are… and I can't stress this enough… a monstrously hot, and sophisticated, ROCK band. The band cover a lot of stylistic ground, though at the highest level there are two sides to Djam Karet, one being the rockers and the other in which they explore their more ambient/soundscape interests.
The Heavy Soul Sessions is a live-in-studio set that features new and previously released Djam Karet tunes, gloriously showcasing the band at their live, no overdub best. Originally on the A Night For Baku album, Hungry Ghost opens the set and is a high energy take your breath away heavy rocking Prog number with a bit of a doomy feel at times. The dual guitars and organ are killer and the rhythm section is tight as a knot. The Red Threaded Sexy Beast is similar, though it transitions through rocking and more spacey exploratory themes. I grooved along with the band rocking away, the guitars blazing and the mellotron singing. Love it.
Originally on the Suspension & Displacement album, Consider Figure Three is a spaced out soundscape journey, which Djam Karet accomplish with both guitars and synths. The Packing House covers a tremendous amount of ground, starting off with an ambient jazzy vibe. But soon one of the guitars starts to crank out wailing and moaning, mind-bending single note licks. This turns out to have been an introductory bit because near the 4 minute mark things quiet for a moment and then the band launch into a Prog jam with Frippoid guitars and cool keyboard sounds, but then return to the ambient jazz theme and the psychedelically seductive wailing guitar solos, though they can't resist exploding into bursts of ultra-heavy, and at times, near metallic thunder.
Dedicated to K.C. was originally composed and recorded by Richard Pinhas for his 1982 L'Ethique album, and is the only cover song Djam Karet have ever recorded. The band inject it with a distinct Djam Karet rocking flavor and this is another one with dual guitars that will make your head spin. Finally, The Gypsy and the Hegemon, originally on the Recollection Harvest album, is a cool grooving Prog rocker. It flows gently at first, then gets into a jazzy section with some cool wah'd guitar. Of course the storm brews and the mood gets aggressive, but the hard rock and fusion vibe remains, and builds up to a finale that is one of the smokinist of the set.
This is a hot one folks. If you like your Prog rock hard and heavy and not afraid to get a little into space, then check this out. Guitar lovers will be left in a daze.
For more information you can visit the Djam Karet web site at: http://www.djamkaret.com
Reviewed by Spaceman33