Djam Karet — Regenerator 3017
(HC Productions HC017, 2014, CD)
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.
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.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Hawkwind / Astralasia - Spirit of the Age - Solstice Remixes – "Your android replica is acting up again. That's no joke. When she comes she moans another's name." The tune "Spirit of the Age" from the Hawkwind album Quark, Strangeness... (1995) » Read more