After releasing the burning studio albums “New dark age” and “A night for Baku” on Cuneiform Records, the fans where also delighted by the “Live at Nearfest 2001” (Nearfest Records) album. Now there is a new studio album (their 16th!) “Recollection harvest” that can be devided into two parts . The first half is “Recollection harvest” and the second half is entitled “Indian summer”. The second half is an additional EP that focuses on the more acoustic and atmospheric side of their work.
Gayle Ellett - organ, mellotron, acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars, electric 6 & 7 string guitars, 8 string lute (bazuki), Ebow, analog and digital synthesizers and programming, Theremin, field recordings and effects; Mike Henderson - acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars, electric 6 & 7 string guitars, slide guitar, Ebow, analog and digital synthesizers and programming & sequencing, percussion and effects; Chuck Oken Jr. - Drums and percussion, analog and digital synthesizers, soundworlds and sequencing; Aaron Kenyon - Electric bass, Mellotron, digital synthesizer and bass drum; Henry Osborne - electric bass, acoustic guitar and percussion.
“The march to the sea of tranquility” (7:18) opens slow with Mellotron and a singing electric guitar. The band is now focusing more on the melody. Later on the acoustic guitar and organ are joining while the synths and the electric guitar are providing the melodies. The track is ending again with a mysterious sounding Mellotron.“Dr. Money” (7:12) has more tempo. The bass is nicely lying in front of the mix. The dual guitars are most of the time together with the organ a kind of layer in between, because the synth and guitar solos are on top of everything. Later on delicate acoustic guitar appear and the tempo is slowing down. I know Djam Karet as a burning and steaming rock quartet/quintet. But this time the music is more down to earth and melody is the main factor. “The packing house” (11:11) has an Robert Fripp like soundscape opening. The band is using analog and digital synthesizers more than ever before. Four of the five members are playing synthesizers on this album. The organ gives the piece a little bit of a '70s feel. And it also has a Spacey sound like a band as Porcupine Tree. You can float away on the music. The next one is called “The gypsy and the Hegemon” (9:20) where the Mellotron is accompanied by the bazuki. A surprising combination. The Mellotron, organ and a melodic guitar solo reminds my of the Dutch bands Focus and Solution. In the second part the tempo is going up and the music becomes more jazzy and there are some synth solos. The brooding atmosphere of the music also reminds of Mahavishu Orchestra. One of my favorite pieces of the album. The last song of this first half is the title track “Recollection Harvest” (10:06). The long guitar pieces are in the style of Robert Fripp. Again a mix between jazz fusion (delicious bass) and Spacey soundscapes. There are a lot of rhythm changes in this track.
The second half of this album is an EP entitled “Indian Summer”. This is a more introspective work in which Djam Karet explores a variety of electro/acoustic sounds. Sweeping electronic soundscapes who sometimes reminds of the Berlin school “Indian Summer” & “Requiem”. “Open roads” has with the acoustic guitar a Steve Howe like opening. It is refreshing that the band combines acoustic instruments with the electronic soundscapes. The music has also influences out of world/ethnic world. This 30 minutes long EP shows the atmospheric side of Djam Karet. See it as a bonus part. I like this music but it will not attract to every Djam Karet fan.
We are a little bit spoiled with the fantastic previous albums. But I think this album is a first attempt to develop the sound of the band even more. They have a an amazing pallet of sound textures and styles to choose from. And the band is mixing all these sounds into a big melting pot. The music of Djam Karet is still innovating and the universe called Djam Karet is still expanding. It's always a pleasure to review their music.