Exposé Online banner

Djam Karet — A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof
(HC Productions HC019A, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-04-28

A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof Cover art

On their site, the band claims that this is their 19th album, but in fact their discography shows a few additional releases that they must not be counting (and that’s not even counting those Beginners Guide compilation releases either), but the important thing to note is that this marks a major departure from previous releases, a new page if you will. One will hear the differences clearly right up front on the opening track “Beyond the Frontier,” a higher profile for unusual acoustic instruments as well as synthesizers, and perhaps a turn away from some of the hard-edged dual guitar jamming that was key to their earlier material. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some beautiful electric guitar leads here (one pass through the title track will certify this), but just as many will be presented on acoustic guitar and other acoustic stringed instruments, many pan-cultural and downright exotic, which is very cool indeed. The band this time is the four original members, drummer and synthesist Chuck Oken Jr., bassist Henry Osborne, Mike Henderson on electric guitar, 12 string, slide guitar, and synthesizers, and last but not least Gayle Ellett plays a long list of at least two dozen different instruments, from regular stuff like acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers, Hammond organ, Mellotron, upright bass and ukulele, to exotic sounds like tanpura, cumbus, gopichand, tar, mbira, krakebs, surmandal, and everyting else in between. Sometimes it sounds like a collision between Djam Karet and Fernwood, and in fact Todd Montgomery (of Fernwood) guests on several of the album’s eight tracks, contributing sitar and irish bouzouki. Mike Murray is here also, playing electric mandocello on a couple tracks and acoustic guitar on “West Coast,” one of the many beautifully melodic cuts here. Micah Nelson (son of Willie Nelson) plays charango on a couple cuts, and also guesting are Mark Cook (Spoke of Shadows) who plays several different instruments on “Specter of Twilight” and Shannon Michael Terry playing array mbira on “Dust in the Sun.” The band has innovatively included two dissected remixes of the music on the album as mp3/wav downloads, the first is Beyond the Long Twilight, a layer one remix that contains all eight tracks, but only the synths and some of the percussion, which plays out (with a few exceptions) pretty much like a floating ambient album, whereas the layer two remix The Crows of Dust Fall at Night features the same eight tracks with all of the synths removed and presents mostly the acoustic instruments as an alternative to the assembled whole. What this all amounts to is the band’s most acoustic, world-influenced, and overtly melodic album in their discography, and quite possibly their best yet.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Djam Karet, Mike Henderson, Chuck Oken, Gayle Ellett

More info
http://djamkaret.bandcamp.com/album/a-sky-full-of-stars-for-a-roof

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Torn / Mick Karn / Terry Bozzio - Polytown – I always tend to be a little suspicious when any release is accompanied with as much hype and hoopla as this one was. It better well measure up to all the chatter and attention it gets. Certainly this...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues