(All Album Reviews by Sean)
Djam Karet is a California based group that has specialized in instrumental progressive music for the better part of twenty years now. A Night For Baku is the band's latest cd and features a great blend of all that makes this band's music so enticing. In fact it may be the best the band has yet offered.
I am a DK fan and have especially enjoyed some of their more riff oriented material. Their 1997 album The Devouring really hit all the right notes for me in that department. The albums they made since then have all been good, but don't seem to capture that same intensity. It seems they were looking to cover some other areas for a few albums. More textural ones. Also acoustic timbres like on their excellent Ascension album.
Baku manages to merge the best of all those elements into one. "Dream Portal" is a great opener and has some really lush ebow work on it. One of my faves is "Hungry Ghost" which really covers a lot of ground musically. Funk and metal crop up here at various times, along with newer flashes of electronica. "Chimera Moon" has a great blend of bluesy guitar and electronic touches. "Scary Circus" is a really wild arrangement. I can hear why someone would say this sounds like a tune on some demented circus' soundtrack. It starts kinda mellow and then some triplets on the organ come in and this sucker kicks into overdrive!
I am a sucker for really tasteful guitar playing and I am sure that is one of the reasons I am a fan of DK. Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson are the most soulful two guitar team in progressive music at the moment as far as I am concerned. It is nice to hear adventuresome music that still has a rooting in blues. There isn't enough of that in this genre, imo. Never was. So this is refreshing, soulful stuff. Even when they get into modal or exotic scale excursions, there is a bluesy quality to their phrasing that is really appealing. Wailin' stuff!
I would suggest this cd as a great entry point to the band. It really has a bit of all that Djam Karet have to offer. One of the best instrumental bands around for sure, check them out if you haven't already. And if you have and liked their sound, this cd is a must.