The prolific USA formation Djam Karet was founded in 1984 and anno 2019 still makes music and releases albums, this new studio album is # 19! The website mentions: “In 2019 Djam Karet released A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof. Featuring all four original band members, this album is their most acoustic album, by far. Combining analog and modular synthesizers with numerous acoustic instruments from around the world, Djam Karet is exploring new territory on this psychedelic journey of discovery. Swirling electronic soundscapes expand to reveal new acoustic environments of exotic goodness, as drums and bass propel the music forward.” About the acoustic instruments, what an awesome and varied array from multi-instrumentalist Gayle Ellett: the Asian dilruba, acoustic guitars, an 8 and 4-string tenor ukulele and the Greek Bouzouki, alongside his work on vintage keyboards, wooden flutes, harmonium, the African udu, bass, etc., etc.! Interesting, to say the least .....
To be honest, I have never been very much into Djam Karet's music, but listening to this new album I got more and more fascinated. Because I am a fan of electronic - and ethnic music, and here Djam Karet is blending these two totally different musical styles, in a captivating way. Just take the first two tracks. Beyond The Frontier contains a swinging rhythm featuring fiery rock guitar, spacey sounds, the distinctive Indian sitar, a short, distorted bass solo, electronic drums and the electric mandocello, what an exciting mixture of rock, psychedelia and folk. Then Long Ride To Eden: it delivers an electronic music atmosphere (lots of pulsating sequencing), again a swinging rhythm, in a sultry climate with acoustic instruments, like the ukelele, Greek bouzouki and sitar, electronic music meets ethnic music, and I like it!
In the following 5 compositions the emphasis is even more on a blend of electronic - and ethnic music, only the exciting epic title track features rock guitar (an awesome David Gilmour kind of solo, with spacey elements). But in general, Djam Karet combines vintage synthesizers with ethnic instruments, in pleasant, often laidback and hypnotizing atmospheres. The variety of instruments is incredible, from the Latin-American charango, an electric mandocello and the vibraphone to sequencers, Moogs, the Irish bouzouki and ukulele. In Night Falls the music is embellished with early Genesis sounding twanging 12-string guitars, blended with wooden flute and vibraphone, how original.
About this music Gayle Ellett says: “We wanted to blend exotic acoustic instruments with electronic synths in a new and unique way, to create a new sound, that would help us rise up to a higher level of creativity and quality ... and hopefully with this new album we've achieved our goal.” Well, in my opinion Djam Karet has delivered a captivating and adventurous blend of electronic - and ethnic music, for me this a true progressive music that succeeds to keep my attention the entire album!
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)
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