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Djam Karet: Regenerator 3017

To celebrate 30 years together, California instrumental progressive rock band Djam Karet has released Regenerator 3017, their 17th full-length album. The line-up for this recording includes Gayle Ellett (electric guitar, Rhodes, moog etc…), Mike Henderson (guitar, percussion), Mike Murray (guitar), Henry Osborne (bass, piano, keys), Chuck Oken, Jr. (drums, percussion, keys & effects).

To be cliché, I will say that their name precedes them as I've been reading about Djam Karet for at least 15 years and finally heard them for the first time with their previous release The Trip. That CD was one long composition so the change from that to Regenerator 3017 is quite stark.

"Prince of the Inland Empire" is a jammy/dance track with a cool spliced midsection with a slower tempo. Some notes in the guitar solo don't sit right with me, sounding out of tune but not in jazzy way but that's my opinion. There is a cool Wakeman-esque synth lick to end the song.

"Living in the Future Past" is a slow funk track featuring a slick Warr Guitar solo w/ wah-wah pedal by Mark Cook (see: Spoke of Shadows review). This sounds like it belongs in a spy movie.

By Track 3, "Desert Varnish," I detect a default composition structure. I've been in a band that played lots of instrumental music and quite often these structures are a reflex but they can also be a crutch.

"Wind Pillow" is a refreshing track at the half-way point.

"Empty House" is as early-1970s-Rush as could possibly be (The Fountain of Lamneth; III. No One At The Bridge?). Even the flange-laced rhythm guitar tone is there. Add the flute and it does become a different song. I have the same issue here as with track one: not all notes of the guitar solo sound in key.

The bass performance and sound is outstanding. The production of the whole CD is not compressed as a counterpoint to the current practice of making everything so loud and therefore is very pleasant to listen to with no extra loud spots and all instrumentation breathes together instead of fighting each other. There is a great selection of keyboard/synth/mellotron/piano textures which should be praised.

Listening to a new CD from a band that has been together 30 years and 17 recordings is quite like looking at one new painting from an artist that has been honing their craft for a lifetime. I can only critique Regenerator 3017 and while it is a fine recording I can't see myself re-listening many times.

Track Listing
1. Prince of the Inland Empire 5:35
2. Living in the Future Past 4:50
3. Desert Varnish 7:18
4. Wind Pillow 4:39
5. Lost Dreams 3:49
6. Empty House 6:07
7. On the Edge of the Moon 8:36

Added: April 26th 2014
Reviewer: Ryan Good
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1736
Language: english

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