Band: Djam Karet

CD Title: “The Heavy Soul Sessions”

Label: Independent Release

Label Website:

Release Date: 2010

Band Website:


There are many constants in the universe; the sun always rises in the east, rain always falls down, and Djam Karet are going to release another great record. And this is their 15th CD entitled The Heavy Soul Sessions. For a band that’s been around as long as they have they continue to produce some mind-blowing stuff. The five-piece known as Djam Karet consists of Gayle Ellett (organ, analog synth, Mellotron, digital synths), Mike Henderson (guitars, ebow, effects), Chuck Oken Jr. (drums, altered voices), Aaron Kenyon (bass, effects) and Mike Murray (guitars, ebow, effects). All the sonic hallmarks are here, but this time there’s just a little bit more musicality. And I’ll tell you why.


There are 6 tracks on The Heavy Soul Sessions, a total of 65-minutes of music. The first thing that should be noted is that all of this music was played live on the floor of the studio with no overdubs, so you get a real sense of performance. The band launch into the first track, “Hungry Ghost” [8:32] at full tilt. Guitars, bass, drums and Mellotron establish a solid percussive, almost funky riff, which soon evolves into a kind of jam session. However it’s easy to see that everyone knows their place, organ lays down the foundation, while guitar leads are swapped leaving room at times for bass and drums. Everything comes to a grinding halt at the 4:00 mark and then the song picks up steam once again with a completely different heavy riff. Track two “The Red Threaded Sexy Beast [12:41] starts off with a chunky guitar line with the rhythm section providing the solid foundation and Mellotron strings floating in and out to contrast the searing guitar lead sections. Like much of Djam Karet’s music the guitar’s emphasis is on angularity, playing a kind of counterpoint while it wails away. There is almost a hint of the Italian symphonic prog approach running through these pieces; that kind of serious, furrowed brow complexity. A number of times in each composition the band scale back the playing, allowing for a bit space, the mood becomes spacey or almost ambient, showing yet another side of the band. Here they get a real psychedelic vibe happening; rolling bass and drums, softly strummed guitar lines, thick Mellotron and synth burbles all mixing it up. The most unusual track is “Consider Figure Three” [9:44] which is mostly spacey ambient musical textures interspersed with what sounds like vocals from an anatomical audio text book. It’s haunting and quite bizarre.


Djam Karet continues to find new ways to express their musical vision. The hard-driving intensity is still very much present on The Heavy Soul Sessions, but it is tempered by expressions of ambience or softer psychedelic segments. This creates a wonderful balance to their music. This is without question a great addition to their catalog and your collection. For new fans it’s also a great place to start your investigation into this amazing group of musicians.