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Djam Karet - 2014 - "Regenerator 3017"

(41:01, HC Productions)


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


Gayle Ellett  guitars, bouzouki; vintage keyboards; recordings
Chuck Oken Jr. - drums, percussion; keyboards
Mike Henderson  guitars; percussion
Henry Osborne  bass; keyboards
Mike Murray  guitar 
Mark Cook  Warr guitar

Prolusion. The US band DJAM KARET was formed back in 1984, and since then they have charmed both progressive rock fans and those who enjoy rock music with more of a sophisticated edge in general through a grand total of seventeen albums. A renowned unit at this point, well regarded both within and outside of the progressive rock community. "Regenerator 3017" is their most recent studio production, and was released through the band's own imprint HC Productions in 2014.

Analysis. The somewhat curious name of this album reflects upon the fact that 2014 saw Djam Karet celebrating a 30-year long existence as a band, and that the album was in fact their seventeenth album. As far as regenerator goes, this points to the full original line-up assembling for the creation of the album. Personally I'll have to admit that I wasn't quite as charmed with this album as I was with the previous one I reviewed, "Recollection Harvest" from 2005. This is at least partially because this most recent CD by the band explores a different territory altogether, one more deliberate, careful and ethereal in nature. The disc opens nice enough though, with what is my personal favorite among the compositions here. This composition has been named Prince of the Inland Empire, and alternates between a pace-filled, elegant disco-tinged affair of the kind that made me think of the old British band Quantum Jump and slower paced sequences closer to smooth jazz in expression. This latter aspect is continued on next track Living in the Future Past, but now alternating with more atmospheric, elegant sections of music of a nature that makes them if not similar to then at least comparable to classic Camel in expression. Following a darker, intriguing, but slightly repetitive excursion into similar landscapes on Desert Varnish, a more ethereal, careful and atmospheric excursion into what I'd have to describe as Camel-oriented landscapes follow. The guitar soloing is careful, deliberate and dream-laden, keyboards are used to produce smooth, elegant surges emphasizing the careful overall nature of the compositions, and the general mood is one of reflection and melancholia. A generally positive landscape mind you, but with darker details here and there as one of the key details that makes these creations comparable to rather than similar to the aforementioned British band. Concluding compositions Empty House and On the Edge of the Moon, while similar in many ways to the aforementioned songs, then take on these landscapes with a stronger and more distinct contrast applied, making these two compositions somewhat more compelling than the previous ones, at least according to my personal taste. I'll also note that the mix and production are impeccable throughout this album, and those with a fascination for well produced albums should find "Regenerator 3017" to be an interesting one due to this aspect alone. Those fond of well produced albums will probably also note with pleasure that compression has not been applied when this album was produced.

Conclusion. Instrumental progressive rock of the careful and dream-laden variety is what Djam Karet provides on "Regenerator 3017". Some jazzrock oriented escapades, a touch of Canterbury and a few select instances of space-inspired details can be found, but the greater majority of the material is of a kind and character that can be regarded as comparable to the more atmospheric material Camel crafted in the mid '70s. Those who treasure music like that should also find this CD to be a compelling one.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 4, 2015
The Rating Room

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