Djam Karet — Regenerator 3017
(HC Productions HC017, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, 2014-06-17:Djam Karet has been around for 30 years and they’ve just released their 17th full length album Regenerator 3017. The core members Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Chuck Oken Jr., and Henry J. Osborne are still playing together. Over the years the band has experimented with different styles and what we have on Regenerator 3017 is very mature and laid back progressive jazz fusion. These are accomplished musicians who are very comfortable playing music with each other. The music is soothing and a joy to experience. There are many different things happening that are intelligently integrated into these seven instrumental tracks. I found the best moments on this disc to be part of “Wind Pillow” with its quiet melodic music and Gayle’s Mellotron. Most of the time they’ve split the guitar solos with Gayle on the left, Mike Murray in the middle, and Mike Henderson on the right. But you would have to listen very carefully to notice this separation. It took Djam Karet about 18 months to perfect the pristine sound quality on this disc without the use of compression or computer manipulation. Clearly Regenerator 3017 is a labor of love.
by Peter Thelen, 2014-03-07:Djam Karet’s latest (their 17th album) is meant to be something of a celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary together, featuring all the original band members – that means Henry Osborne on bass instead of Aaron Kenyon, who is still a member of the band, just not featured on this one. For anyone familiar with the band’s first cassette release No Commercial Potential from 1985 (since reissued on CD), the seven tracks here underscore how far the band has come in the years since, evolving from purveyors of well-rehearsed jams into masters of superbly refined compositions and equally concise instrumental interplay, and they have stuck to their guns as far as presenting a musical palette sans vocals. For all of its refinement, Regenerator 3017 presents a more laid-back, bluesy and funky sound than what we’ve heard from this band before, the result being a refreshing adjustment in their trajectory. Embracing a more bluesy sound on “Lost Dreams,” the guitars drive strong melodic solos in tandem with keyboard support, often recalling elements of the pre-DSOTM era of Pink Floyd or even Robin Trower. “Living in the Future Past” has funky all over it, with walking bass, Rhodes and Mellotron supporting some positively dreamy jazz guitar leads with powerful Minimoog-driven melodies as well, perhaps the album’s standout tune. The band has made a point of not introducing any studio computer manipulation or compression to the production and mix, thus everything is heard as it is played. Frankly I have no problem with a certain amount of compression, but in this case the band’s choice on the matter seems to suit the overall sound well. Flute patches on “Wind Pillow” along with the soaring lead guitars give the piece a distinct Camel vibe, while riding along on a dreamy groove that is instantly captivating. There’s too much good here to itemize every single highlight in a review, but the more one listens and builds familiarity with these seven cuts, the more this disc reveals its substantive essence.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more