Can you believe this ... “A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof” ... is already the 19th album of Djam Karet, the renowned progressive rock that was founded in 1984. So this album marks the band’s 35th Anniversary. The band calls this album their most melodic and acoustic album to date. Combining analog and modular synthesizers with numerous acoustic instruments from around the world, Djam Karet explores new territory with this psychedelic journey of discovery.
Gayle Ellett - harmonium, dilruba, acoustic and electric guitars, 8 & 4 string tenor ukulele, vibraphone, Viola, Greek bouzouki, Ebow, upright bass, analog synth, Hammond organ, Mellotron choir, gopichand, tar, mbira, wooden flutes, surmandal, tanpura, cumbus, congas, udu, krakebs, tambourine, bicycle bell, field recordings; Mike Henderson - Electric guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, slide guitar, synthesizers; Chuck Oken jr. - analog and digital keyboard sequencing and soundscapes, drums; Henry Osborne - bass; Mike Murray - acoustic guitar (3), electric mandocello (1,3)
Todd Montgomery - sitar (1,2,6), Irish bouzouki (6) Micah Nelson - charango (3,5) Mark Cook - electric guitar, fretless guitar, bass (7) Shannon Michael Terry - array mbira (5)
As I mentioned in the intro Djam Karet is combining analog and modular synthesizers with numerous acoustic instruments from around the world on this album. As a bonus all purchases of the new album will come with two free digital-only companion albums. The first one: “Beyond The Long Twilight” has all of the acoustic instruments and drums and bass removed, creating a greater focus on the remaining electronic soundscapes that underlie these compositions. And the second: “The Crows Of Dust Fall At Night” has nearly all of the electronic synthesizers removed, creating a greater focus on the remaining acoustic instruments.
The album opens with “Beyond The Frontier” and after the first guitar solo that is lying on top of a swirling electronic soundscape the sitar of guest Todd Montgomery appears. Halfway the song develops into a beautiful melodic electronic soundscape with some amazing melodies. Later on the sitar returns but that middle section is for me the highlight ... why, just listen to those melodies! The second track is called “Long Ride To Eden”. Before the rhythm, the space rock elements and the jazzy acoustic guitar kicks in the opening is like a Tangerine Dream song. That opening becomes later an underground soundscape for this song with great diversity. “West Coast” has an intriguing electronic opening before a relaxed guitar tune appears but the music ebbs and flows ... guitar into synth melodies and back to guitar and mandolin... it all blends together to form something new. Interesting and relaxed piece of music. The longest piece of the album is the title track “A Sky Full Of Stars for a Roof”. The music is like standing at the shoreline watching the waves rolling in. The band uses some interesting and unusual instruments. This results into flashes of Middle Eastern atmospheres on top of the electronic soundscapes. Talking about progressive music ... Djam Karet is exploring new territory here. “Dust In The Sun” is a much shorter piece with nice percussion and fine melodies. A relaxed piece of music with a lot of instruments that are providing all the colors. Just see the long list of instruments that Gayle is using on this album. The sitar and bouzouki can be heard in the track “On the Third Day Arrived the Crow”. But the music stays laid-back. This is also the case with the last two songs “Specter Of Twilight” and “Night Falls”. Both little gems with quietly rippling synths and nice melodies of the acoustic instruments. “Night Falls” is a worthy ending of the album. Nice acoustic guitars, delicate percussion and beautiful synth melodies. This track develops into one of my personal favorites of this remarkable album. In the end the music flows smoothly into field recordings of nature.
Wow ... I just love this album. The overall atmosphere is relaxed and mellow. Great album to listen to after a hectic workday. The band is exploring new territory here. The combination of the warm acoustic world instruments and the analog and modular synthesizers for the electronic soundscapes is unique. The exotic acoustic instruments blend perfectly with the electronic synths. Djam Karet continues to surprise me. Nothing more to say ... highly recommended by progVisions.