Celebrated Southern Californian progressive-rock band Djam Karet has extended the scope of its Firepool Records label by signing Herd of Instinct. With the ensemble's sophomore release for the label, Karet guitarist Gayle Ellett augments the core trio by performing on a vast array of keyboards, and uses the Mellotron as a vehicle to summon a classic '70s prog sound, at times sparking remembrances of vintage King Crimson.
This electrifying unit translucently morphs the days of prog-rock yore with an ultramodern scope. No doubt, the artists tread lots of fertile ground and abide by a polyrhythmic manifesto, shadowed by wide-ranging guitar articulations and keys driven textures. The musicians also render wraith-like atmospherics and bone-crunching riffs, disseminated with brief micro-melodies and a soundscape of opposing cadences and shifting paradigms. The outing is supplemented by guest artists, including bassist Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree fame.
Mike Cook's touch-style, Warr guitar lines are prominent throughout. He either employs streaming, extended notes and legato phrasings or crosscuts through the deep bass parts and variable metrics, but not certain if Cook or guitarist Mike Davidson are responsible for the Robert Fripp-like sustain voicings. Regardless, the King Crimson element veers in and out, yet the band's holistic muse also bridges world music, largely evidenced on "Solitude One, " and features drummer Jason Spradlin's tabla programming that generates a steady Indo-fusion vibe. Here, the band entwines ambient electronica with a pulsating rock groove while implicating a many-sided and borderless environment, surging forth with glittering hues.
"Vargtimmen" kicks off with Cook's slinky electric fretless bass incarnations, followed by a moveable feast of symphonic electronics effects and mystical spoken word. Moreover, Ellett's Mellotron choruses beckon a hint of antiquity within the classic prog vein, equating to an affable vibe that softens the power-packed assault. They finalize the multifarious festivities with the somewhat ominous "The Secret of Fire," rooted on a thriving progression of guitars, synths and keys. Overall, it's a meticulously formulated and superlatively executed engagement that discloses newfound trinkets on subsequent listens. Indeed, a top-shelf product.
Track Listing: Praxis; Dead Leaf Echo; Brutality Of Fact; Alice Krige pt.1; Solitude One; Ravenwood; Mother Night; Vargtimmen; Malise; New Lands; A Sense Of An Ending; The Secret Of Fire
Personnel: Mark Cook: Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar and programming; Mike Davison: guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar and guitar synth; Gayle Ellett: Moog, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Rhodes and dilruba; Jason Spradlin: drums and programming. Guest musicians - Joel Adair: trumpet (4); Joe Blair: lap steel guitar (4); Colin Edwin: fretless bass (1, 11); Bob Fisher: flute (1, 4); Lisa Lazo: keyboards (5).
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.