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Djam Karet - Sonic Celluloid CD (album) cover

SONIC CELLULOID

Djam Karet

 

Eclectic Prog

3.78 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Psych rock, space rock, jam/improv, electronic, prog-rock, ambient - American group Djam Karet can be all of these things (often in the space of a single track!), but those tags don't quite do this eclectic instrumental band enough justice! The last few years in particular have been a very fruitful period for core members Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Henry J Osborne and Chuck Oken Jnr and others with a number of standout releases, including the single forty-seven minute ambient space-rock journey `The Trip' in 2013, the retro-tastic `Regenerator 3017' a year later and a superior compilation of odds n' ends `Swamp of Dreams' after that, but `Sonic Celluloid' is their first proper studio disc in three years, and it proves to be another diverse and unpredictable collection from the talented instrumentalists, and one that's a lot more electronic-heavy than their last few.

After a moody ambient intro, `Saul Says So' springs to life with eerie Mellotron, coursing bass and trickling electronics, and some ravishing acoustic guitar flourishes are almost joyful and infectious even! There's nicely slinking programmed electronic grooves and chilled guitar licks throughout `Forced Perspective', `Long Shot' is a spacey wavering prog-electronic theme that sounds like the soundtrack to an eerie Seventies sci-fi series before its frantic Hammond organ and scorching electric guitar climax. The mix of drifting synth washes, haunting 'Tron and darker acoustic guitar in the final minutes of `No Narration Needed' might have come from Italian prog-rockers Goblin, and the bleeding and twitching deep-space electronics of `Numerous Mechanical Circles' could almost be Tangerine Dream, with tasty little teases of heroic Mellotron themes emerging as well.

`Oceanside Exterior', `Au Revoir Au RÍve' and `Flashback' are all moodier and atmospheric spacy electronic rockers with reflective guitar soloing spots that call to mind Pink Floyd and Nineties onwards-era Hawkwind, with plenty of spectral synth choirs, Mellotron fire and ticking programming between them. Piano dreaminess and reaching drowsy guitars strains purr through the toasty-mellow `Lower', and the sublime murmuring bass soloing and acoustic/electric back-and-forth of album closer `The Denouement Device' takes a darker, more mysterious turn in the second half making for a very unpredictable finale to the disc.

With plenty of releases in their thirty-plus year career together and never delivering even a slightly average one (ha, you've know they're a great band when even their compilations are superb!), `Sonic Celluloid' keeps up the strong tradition, proving to have quite a liveliness and no shortage of laid-back vibes. Exciting for long-time fans of the group and even an ideal starting point for newcomers, `Sonic Celluloid' just might even be one of Djam Karet's best to date!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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