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New Dark Age

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Album Review

Four years after their last studio album, Djam Karet released New Dark Age in April 2001. In the meantime Cuneiform Records had reissued most of their out-of-print catalog, helping build anticipation. Well, this one was worth waiting for. The quartet (still Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson on guitars and keyboards, Henry J. Osborne on bass, and Chuck Owen, Jr. on drums) picked up where it left with the 1997 CD The Devouring and beautifully developed its sound, pushing it to another level. Of course the electric guitars remain at the center of the music, but one can hear more Middle Eastern influences, textural acoustic guitar backgrounds, and most of all field recordings. The latter element eliminates the "jam band" stamp some critics have tried to impose. New Dark Age is a studio album conceived by a studio band: tracks segue one into the other, atmospheres are established and broken, and the musicians toy with the listeners, steering them into different directions throughout this aural journey. Is this progressive rock? Does it really matter? Influences from King Crimson are still distinguishable, but they have been so well-assimilated now they seem to have no relation with what was heard on the band's first album, The Ritual Continues. Some rhythm patterns have progressive-like complexity, but the band's art resides mostly in its inside-outside soloing and attention to atmospheres. The acoustic textures of "Alone With the River Man" will please any fan of good instrumental music, prog or no prog. There are also plenty of hard rock moments such as "No Man's Land" and "All Clear." On New Dark Age, Djam Karet has finally reached the perfect integration of the two aspects of its music: rock jamming and ambient soundscapes. This stage is called maturity. Strongly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Djam Karet was formed in 1984 in Los Angeles, CA, by a group of musicians who wanted to play improvisational rock music: Gayle Ellet (guitar), Mike Henderson (guitar), Chuck Oken Jr. (drums), and Henry Osborne (bass). Although the band never lost interest in instrumental progressive rock, they would later expand and experiment with droning ambient music that was years ahead of the explosion of similar styles in the late '90s. The group returned to their unique brand of atmospheric progressive rock...
Full Bio
New Dark Age, Djam Karet
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: May 22, 2001

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