Review Round Up – The Oculist, Jim Griffin, Henrik Fevre, Kindred Spirit Band, Lalu & Gayle Ellett and The Electromags

Here are reviews of six albums diverse in flavour and delivery but ones that have piqued my interest and resonated with me a lot recently. That’s the beauty of music, the variety of choice is never ending but the outcome is always the same!

The Oculist – Cautionary Tales

The Oculist is a boundary-pushing prog metal project that defies conventions. With their unique fusion of musical styles and genres, The Oculist is set to make a mark in the metal scene with their debut album ‘Cautionary Tales’.

The Oculist was formed by two longtime musical collaborators, Adam Dunn and Çağrı Tozluoğlu (aka Philamelian). The duo embarked on their journey for this release with instrumental recordings, drawing influences from the vast waters of metal, fusion, and prog. These demos evolved with the addition of further themes and developed arrangements.

The idea of adding vocals arose during one of the writing sessions when discussing common interests such as politics, true crime, and altered states of consciousness. Adam came up with the first lyrics for the project in the next session, and everything written up to that day took on a new form, transcending The Oculist to the next level.

‘Cautionary Tales’ is epitomised by the duo’s outstanding songwriting ability culminating in an eclectic musical playground with elements of heavy guitars, electronics, orchestra, ambient textures, and drones. The project’s rhythmical backbone features two extraordinary musicians: Simon Fitzpatrick on bass and James Wise on drums.

I’m a big fan of quality progressive metal and The Oculist do it with style and a flare not often seen in the genre. The whole album is a triumph but the highlights for me are the three singles released. The first single from the album, Swan Dive, is six minutes of a modern metal and electronic soundscape, ebbing and flowing as Adam’s precise vocals deliver a stentorian, primeval assault. Çağrı’s mellifluous keyboards fly around incessantly, it’s a full on musical onslaught with Adam’s thunderous, monumental guitars and James’ dynamic drums a superb driving force. The electronica and ambient textures blend perfectly giving a feel of a manic melding of Threshold and Machinae Supremacy to my ears, and that is definitely no bad thing! Following on from the dynamic prog-metal of Swan DiveThe Oculist show a more measured and thoughtful approach with the symphonic wonder of Lavender. A wonderful, near eight minutes, of musical drama where the amazing vocals of Kerry O’Dowd add an almost Celtic vibe to the song. Scintillating musicianship is a given, of course, and the whole track just leaves a feeling of immense wellbeing coursing through your very soul. There’s the more pragmatic prog-metal of opening track Twelve Step Sentence, which wouldn’t be out of place on an early Dream Theater or Haken album. Dynamic drumming and razor sharp guitar riffs adding real substance and Adam’s great vocals central to proceedings, his ability to move from clean to fierce vocals is just brilliant. All through this Çağrı’s keyboards guide the music on its searching journey.

‘Cautionary Tales’ is one of the freshest sounding albums you will hear this year, it is prog-metal for the thinking music fan and has real heart and soul at its core. I for one am intrigued to see what this talented duo come up with next.

Released 8th December, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Cautionary Tales | The Oculist (

Jim Griffin – Marginalia Suburbia

James (Jim) Griffin is a musician who’s work I have reviewed (and admired) for a long time. While away in London recently, he sent me a link for a new album, released by the independent Australian label, Ramble Records.

Jim’s words about the album, “It’s a very different kind of thing – something acoustic and instrumental, designed for chilling out in a busy world. It’s a kind of “quiet” release I suppose. Not “Prog” at all really but I thought you might enjoy it. I recommend listening with a nice beer or perhaps a cup of tea!”, really intrigued me as I am open to listening to any kind of music and this sounded chilled, ambient and right up my street!

This album occupies a place somewhere between the urban and the rural. In Ireland, it’s never too hard to get from one to the other. Dig a flowerbed, find an old horseshoe. Get chatting to a neighbour, find a connection to your Granny’s people. Drive for half an hour and visit the neolithic tombs of The Burren, then back home for a cup of tea in the back garden. Or around the kitchen table if the day is soft.

I mean, who can resist a build up like that?

Eleven songs that just seem to blend regally into each other, forty-five minutes of music that requires no input from you and takes you to a place of serene calm and wistfulness. Music at its best sometimes just needs to be simple and uncomplicated and without a care in the world. There’s pain, suffering and tragedy in the world and I for one occasionally need to step out from all that, press pause and just have a moment of contemplation and calm and that’s what ‘Marginalia Suburbia’ gives you.

The songs relate to Jim’s day to day life in Ireland as he recounts here,

“And the days are often soft here in my hometown. A city actually (but only by Irish standards), Limerick sits wistfully at the mouth of the Shannon River. Her sinewy tidal estuary loops through our centre and gently blurs the edges between countryside, street, and suburb. It’s suburbia where you’ll find me, usually. Working a small garden as if it were the Bull McCabe’s field. Hoovering the house like a demon, cursing the tyranny of crackers. Feeding a cat who flatly refuses to love me like she should. Pretending we need milk so I can pop into town to walk by the waterfront.

And occasionally, sometimes stealthily, I retreat to the attic and noodle fragments of folky tunes on a loyal and sympathetic acoustic guitar. Birdsong bleeding onto the tape if it’s early morning. The neighbour’s dog barking at passers-by, creeping into the mix at night. Capturing the happy accidents that might get recorded from time to time, in the margins of the day.”

You feel like you are living that lazy, laid back Limerick life or certainly wish you were and that is the wonder and glory of this release that it transports you to another, simpler life.

Released 26th October, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Marginalia Suburbia | Jim Griffin | Ramble Records (

Kindred Spirit Band – Mechanophobia

I do like it when new music just blows me away unexpectedly. I was approached by Elaine Samuels, the power behind Kindred Spirit Band, as to whether I’d be interested in reviewing their new E.P. and, after just one listen to Morrigan, the lead track, I was hooked!

Exploring themes of greed and human exploitation by technology and the system, ‘Mechanophobia’ is performed by singer-songwriter and bandleader Elaine Samuels, with Piers Hogg’s lead guitar and Stevie Mitchell’s flute, saxophones, and cello weaving complementary melodies and supporting textures throughout, and co-produced by the band’s drummer Paul Austin and bassist Keith Buckman, the latter also writing one of the songs.

Boy, does that sound like music you can get your teeth into or what!?

There’s elements of rock, folk and prog all blended into a hyper addictive soundtrack. Opening track, The Machine is all darkly cool with its theme of modern technology. It’s a cautionary tale of humanity being lost to “the machine”. Elaine’s vocal demands your attention and the rhythm section of Paul and Keith take the track in the right direction, leaving Piers’ fiery guitar and Stevie’s epic sax and glorious flute to give substance to the tale. The Morrigan is a piece about the decimation of tribespeople and take over by the greedy modern societies, The Morrigan is actually a Celtic Goddess, whose task is to watch over and protect the land. She is said to shape change into a crow or raven as an omen to warn of danger. There is a definite Celtic feel to this elegant piece of music as Elaine’s husky vocals and the ever so sweet flute add a mysterious atmosphere. The gentle acoustic guitar adds the rhythm and the required gravitas and the occasional flashes of Piers’ guitar evokes the fierce patriotism of the Celtic tribes. It is a fine, moving and emotive song that really hit me hard.

Keith Buckman wrote Algorithm Paradise about the lure of the web software which promises us something wonderful but traps us and takes control with it’s algorithms. This uber-cool track has a reel feel of late 70’s/early 80’s Fleetwood Mac style rock to it with Elaine’s vocal, Piers’ fine guitar playing and the addition of Toby Gehring’s classy trumpet. In fact the trumpet and Stevie’s alto and baritone sax playing give a really jazzy edge to the song too. With All About The Money Elaine has written a song about how money separates us from the reality of what we are doing to our world. She talks about the rich and the poor and how money drives the greed in society and fuels the destruction of our planet. There’s a serious message to this song and it has a very serious demeanour at heart too, all delivered within the framework of one of the best modern blues-rock tracks I’ve heard. Piers’ really gets to let loose on this excellent track, his guitar playing is utterly sublime and Stevie’s sax adds another coat of blues grandeur too.

‘Mechanophobia’ is the best E.P. I have heard this year, a wonderfully absorbing and entertaining twenty minutes that just leaves you wanting more and, thankfully, Kindred Spirit Band have a new album in the pipeline, due for release in 2024. While we wait for that, I am going to have another listen to this sublime musical gem!

Released 27th October, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Mechanophobia | Kindred Spirit Band (

Henrik Fevre – Quite Unusually Quiet

‘A man of many talents, Henrik Fevre  has delivered a vocal masterpiece that is nearly flawless. When things get too much for you or you just want a moment of reflection, shut yourself away from the outside world, put this little gem on the stereo and press play, there is no better antidote.’

I wrote those words about Henrik Fevre’s 2015 release ‘A Summer Can Change Everything’. When Henrik contacted me a couple of months ago to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing his latest album, I didn’t actually realise it was eight years since I’d reviewed his work! How time flies! Well, I had a quick listen and went back to him with an emphatic yes…

“After yesteryears solo pop album ‘Cityzen’ and this year’s very critically acclaimed prog metal album ‘Interference’ with Anubis Gate I found myself diving into a genre that I have always been fascinated by, but only sporadically touched myself: Ambient Music – with hints of jazz improvisation and classical chamber music. Out of it came ‘Quite Unusually Quiet’, 70 minutes worth of instrumental music, grouped in 12 moods, which by titles and sound form a kind of death mass – the aging process that we all go through in life with death as the inevitable ending.”

Now, while some may think that death is a somber, disquieting subject for an ambient jazz album, this glorious release is also celebrating life and everything that we do and go through in our time on this planet. This absorbing, introspective musical creation is more like a work of art than just a mere collection of tracks. Imagine your whole life, from the day you are born up until the day your soul leaves your body and you leave this mortal coil, set to a gripping and absorbing musical soundtrack and you will have some idea of what wonder Henrik has created.

We can go to the cinema and lose ourselves in an epic movie that runs at over three hours and this album leaves me in mind of that, a spellbinding, wistful journey that we all must take and there is hope at the end as Henrik talks of the Afterlife, what happens to us when we die, are our atoms and molecules scattered into the cosmos or do we carry on, not just as memories but as beings of light and energy.

This incredible release is hugely thought provoking and gets you wondering, ruminating and thinking abut that age old old question of life, the universe and everything. Consume this powerful, emotive and atmospheric listening experience in one sitting, let it wash over you and lose yourself in the mysteries of life, death and whatever may come after…

Released 3rd November, 2023.

Available on Amazon Music:

Play Quite Unusually Quiet by Henrik Fevre on Amazon Music

Gayle Ellett and the Electromags – Friends

I just love it when I get an album to review that just oozes fun, joy and bonhomie and this latest album from Djam Karet mastermind Gayle Ellett and the Electromags does just that. Fifty-two minutes of feel good music, blues-rock, swamp rock, boogie woogie, southern rock, they are all there on this brilliant album.

“I wanted to capture that feeling of hanging out on your deck, playing music with your friends under the stars all night long”, says Ellett of his lockdown inspired desire to jam with pals. Only Ellett, the acclaimed Prog musician of Djam Karet, took the “Friends” concept one step further, inviting pals from all corners of the globe to make music together, virtually.

Still based on the core group of Ellett (guitar), Craig Kahn (drums) and Mark Cook (bass), Friends features twenty-two guest musicians including members of BARAKA (Japan), Minimum Vital (France), Aisles (Chile), Electric Swan (Italy), Shylock (Germany), Edhels (Monaco), and California Guitar Trio (USA). The result is a late-night jam session full of fire and passion.

There’s nothing complicated about this music, it’s vibrant, hard rocking and just chock full of cool cuts and good time tunes. From the opening hard rock/blues edge of Viewer Discretion Advised (featuring Ted Price), with its swirling keyboards and fine guitar playing, through the stately, flowing, cinematic low down brilliance of Via Valencia (featuring Alfonso Rodenas) and the free flowing west coast grandeur of It’s All San Andreas Fault (with Marc Ceccotti, JoeeCorso), this sublime collection of brilliant songs never lets up in quality and delivery. Issei Takami and Shin Ichikawa, from the Japanese band BARAKA, are featured on the track TransPacific Highway and add power and authority to a piece that smacks of technical ability and virtuoso guitar playing.

On Splitting Hairs award winning Blues guitarist Dudley Taft adds some incredible guitar solos and pure blues power to Gayle’s towering Hammond organ and Maximum Connection just bounds along with pure abandon, aided and abetted by Thierry Payssan’s bouncing keyboards and includes tasty guitar licks and solos from high school friend Bill Polits and Topanga local Aquinas Magaña. The funky vibes and cool guitar playing on Guitar City are delivered by Paul Richards from the California Guitar Trio as he turns in his acoustic guitar for a rare chance to fire up his electric guitar and Sons Of Sebastien features the scorching hot (incandescent even!) guitar solos of the guys from Italy’s Electric Swan and Chile’s Aisles.

‘Friends’ is simply magnificent and a grin inducing musical masterpiece! I used to be a huge blues fan before I really got into Prog and I’ve never stopped smiling since I heard the first note!

Released 20th October, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Friends | Gayle Ellett & The Electromags (

Lalu – The Fish Who Wanted To Be King

The brainchild of French composer/keyboardist/producer Vivien Lalu, Lalu was founded in 2004 and ‘The Fish Who Wanted To Be King’ is their fourth album, but the second released via Frontiers Music. A major step forward musically, it takes a contemporary approach to Progressive Rock and incorporates elements of Prog Metal.

The band’s line-up includes singer Damian Wilson, Joop Wolters on guitar and bass, Jelly Cardarelli on drums and keyboard duties shared between Matt Daniel and Lalu himself.

“I never make the same song twice, let alone the same album,” states Lalu. “For this new record, I wanted to approach things differently, adopting a process to more closely mirror the dynamics of a band. I began recording my ideas on synths and piano, which I then shared with my regular collaborator, Joop Wolters, who crafted the guitar and bass parts. We then gave the other group members the freedom to express their creativity, which fostered a sense of unity and cohesiveness. It was an opportunity for everyone to shine and bring their unique talents to the forefront.”

“The album concept draws inspiration from the spirit of the original pioneers of Dada, who vehemently opposed war and ridiculed the power structure of the time,” explains Wilson. “It challenges conventional notions and delves into the realms of hierarchy, accountability and adaptability and continues the narrative from the previous Lalu album, ‘Paint The Sky’.

‘The Fish Who Wanted To be King’ is one of those albums that comes out of nowhere and just sends you flying with its brilliance. Combining intricate melodies and thought-provoking lyrics with awe-inspiring performances, this astounding record takes all that’s great about progressive rock and just turns it up a few notches to deliver a technically stunning album but one that is full of heart and soul and one that contains seven thought provoking tracks where the musicianship is of the highest quality. I’m a huge fan of Damian Wilson and his vocals are probably the best I have ever heard them on this release.

Forever Digital is a dynamic, thunderous opening where symphonic prog rules the roost and sets the stall for what is to come. Title track The Fish Who Wanted To be King is one of two suitably epic tracks on the album, coming in at over ten minutes, and combines some excellent songwriting and outstanding musicianship to deliver a powerful tale. There’s no weak link on this ever impressive album, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA to you and me!) and Is That A London Number continue the intricate, captivating storytelling with Wilson’s instantly recognisable vocal the key. The music is elegant and wistful at times and, at others, monumental and mind-blowing.

Amnesia 1916 brings poignant melancholy and contemplative nostalgia within its fourteen minute running time. This is edgy, symphonic progressive rock at its best and is a contemporary approach to the genre. Always to the point, it is a powerful piece of music delivered with intent and skill. The album’s final two tracks carry on what has gone before, A Reversal of Fortune flows beautifully, the gorgeous keyboards delivering a soundscape for the rest of the song to be written on and everything comes to a close with The Wondering Kind, a stylishly handsome track with a funky vibe engendered by the classy music and Damian’s polished vocal.

There’s a joy in music that’s just waiting to be discovered and when it comes out of nowhere, like this superb album, I don’t think life can get much better. ‘The Fish Who Wanted To be King’ is one of THE musical surprises of 2023 and just leaves a huge smile on my face after every time I listen to it. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Released 20th October, 2023.

Order the album here:

Lalu – The Fish Who Wanted to Be King (

Progradar Recommends – Episode 5 – Frequency Drift, Hillmen, Deafening Opera & Weend’ô

Here we go again folks, another episode of my recommendations and have we got some pretty powerful and intense stuff for you this time so, without further ado…

Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro

Intense and complex cinematic art rock with a heavy progressive feel, that has been the core of German band Frequency Drift’s sound for a long time. Their previous album ‘Last’ (2016) is a case in point. With a penchant for the dramatic and sophisticated these impressive musicians have always delivered very emotive albums.

‘Letters to Maro’ takes that succesfull format and builds on it impressively with the addition of the soulful vocals of Irina Alexa to the core of Andreas Hack, Nerissa Schwarz and Wolfgang Ostermann. Irina also adds a subtle influence with her writing style and lyrical implementation.

Where ‘Last’ was underpinned by the heavy guitars, this new album is much more rounded sonically and there’s an inherent melancholy and lightness to the soulful and emotive music and it results in a vivid, melodramatic musical experience that will leave a long lasting impression on you.

‘Letters to Maro’ is more than just a collection of songs, it is a hugely involving, artful and immersive experience that everyone one should experience at least once.

Rating – 87/100

Released 13th April 2018

Order ‘Letters to Maro’ from bandcamp here

Hillmen – The Whiskey Mountain Sessions Vol. II

“Recorded in a smoke filled private studio high in the coastal mountains of Southern California, ‘The Whiskey Mountain Sessions Vol. II’ is forty minutes of contemporary instrumental music at its dynamic best. Hillmen features the talents of Peter Hillman (Kiss The Frog) on drums, Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet) on keyboards, Jeff Smith (Insects vs. Robots) on bass and Lito Magana Jr. (Mestizo Beat) on guitar.” – so says the press blurb for this intriguing album of so-called Free Improvisation music.

This is raw, unfiltered music written without even a score and recorded in one literal ‘jam’ session. Opener The Long Way Home is full of psychedelic guitar, dreamy Minimoog synth stylings and incredibly laid back jazz drumming. Whiskey soaked, smoke filled bar nights come to mind on this super laid back track. Rhodes electric piano, Minimoog, vintage guitars and amps are combined with state of the art recording technology to generate a warm, unique sound.

The vibrant feel continues throughout the rest of the album and leaves a permanent grin on your face, nostalgic and yet forward looking this release showcases the magic that can come from improvised music, music that can grow and evolve over time.

Get your hands on this exceptional and singular release, you won’t regret one minute of it!

Rating – 80/100 

Listen to an edit of The Long Way Home here

Released 16th march 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here

Deafening Opera – Let Silence Fall

I was a fan of the last Deafening Opera album ‘Blueprint’ which was a real progressive feeling record so I was very happy when this new release popped through my letterbox. ‘Let Silence Fall’ promised to be an evolution in every regard which did make me a bit nervous but after the first listen this excellent German band had delivered superb musical theatre once again.

With a more modern, even symphonic, delivery this concept album is a rich musical tapestry of passionate vocals and thunderous guitar riffs entwined with more delicate and emotive pieces to give an all-encompassing theatrical musical experience.

Showing a maturity and sheer complexity and depth, Deafening Opera not only prove themselves to be very proficient musicians but master storytellers as well as this involving dramatic piece of work ebbs and flows effortlessly. Showmanship as much suited to the stage as to a recorded work, it is a highlight of the year for those of a symphonic rock persuasion.

Rating – 81/100

Released 17th March 2018

Order the album direct from the band here

Weend’ô – Time of Awakening

There’s some really good music coming out of France. I’d heard of Weend’ô but it wasn’t until I’d made their acquaintance at last year’s Summer’s End Festival that I really got to see and hear how good they really were.

A group of talented and consummate musicians fronted by the amazing vocal talent of Laetitia, a singer heavily influenced by Anneke Van Giersbergen and one who has completely transcended any such comparisons now. The band’s sound has previously been described as falling somewhere between Pink Floyd’s more ambient moments and the modern riffs of Tool, a fair comparison although I feel they are ploughing their own unique musical furrow nowadays.

Atmospheric rock music with prog-tinged hues and a real under current of the blues to the fluent guitar playing, I find it totally addictive and fronted by Laetitia’s sultry rock voice it takes on a whole life of its own. ‘Time of Awakening’ is a call to humanity to keep faith and hope despite the appalling events currently afflicting the world. Discussed in the wistful and ethereal hymn Elea, nothing can stop the true evolution…

Seven songs, forty-three minutes long, this deeply engaging album will immerse you in Weend’ô’s singular musical world and it is a place you may find exceedingly difficult to leave. This wonderful album is definitely my unexpected find of the year so far for 2018.

Rating – 88/100

Released 30th March 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here




Review – Djam Karet – Sonic Celluloid – by Progradar

Djam Karet (pronounced ‘jam care-RAY) is an Indonesian word that translates loosely as “elastic time”.

Djam Karet was founded in 1984 by guitarists Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson, bassist Henry J. Osborne, and drummer Chuck Oken, Jr., and continue making new music even to this day, 33 years later! So far … they have released 18 full-length albums, including the newest release ‘Sonic Celluloid’ (as well as an additional 24 minor releases and EPs and compilations, see the discography).

Compared by the press with King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Ozric Tentacles and Porcupine Tree, they are credited with breathing new life into progressive rock, leading the way to the genre’s future growth. The California-based instrumental group has often been called America’s greatest undiscovered band.

To my ears this most inventive of bands has always been a psychedelic instrumental sounding board and their musical ideas have always expanded and evolved to give the listener a real Smörgåsbord of acoustic delights. When Gayle asked me if I would be interested in reviewing ‘Sonic Celluloid’ it was a definite no-brainer!

Sonic Celluloid includes all four founding members of Djam Karet: Chuck Oken jr, Henry Osborne, Mike Henderson, and Gayle Ellett, as well as Aaron Kenyon and Mike Murray. All six play (to varying degrees) on the new album. Everyone contributed as much or as little as they wanted to, with the huge bulk of the work being done mostly by Ellett and Oken.

This new release is as cinematic as they come, little musical-movies running in your mind as you listen to the tracks, opener Saul Says So has a really electronic, 70’s sci-fi feel running throughout. Quite dark and moody in style at the start, it has you on the edge of your seat before it opens up into something akin to a psychedelic revelation, only one that is experienced in a supremely leisurely fashion. It seems to float across your synapses, leaving a gentle memory everywhere where the intricate guitar playing touches your mind. Forced Perspective takes that soundscape and leads it on a convoluted, meandering journey with a Southern California vibe, edgy drums, funky bass and super smooth electronica transport you to vast landscapes of sound in your mind. There’s more of that psychedelia that I come to expect from this exceedingly expressive band, I just close my eyes and let the music wash over me. It brings to mind independent art movie soundtracks, cerebral music for the connoisseur.

The muted classical music inspired intro to Long Shot makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Subdued minimalistic synths bring to mind Jean-Michel Jarre and even a touch of early Kraftwerk to the 70’s nostalgia reunion that is going on in my mind. I begin to think of films like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ as the track evolves into a kind of Prog inspired sci-fi melodrama. It really is an intricate sepia-tinged cinematic delight. No Narration Needed starts with a full-on free form jazz trumpet before the music takes on a more suspenseful tone layered with atmospheric keyboards and electronica. There’s a timeless aura to this track, like a primordial beast that has lived across epochs and never notices the short lived lives of the pitiful humans who inhabit its planet. A medieval sounding guitar and flute then punctuate the stillness to add a layer of calm and collection. This is a track that engenders meditation and reflection and has dignity and character at its core. There are some great titles to the tracks on this release, Numerous Mechanical Circles being one of them and it is a musical composition that seems to grow around you, the flute sounds and electronic synthesisers forming a symbiosis with an almost alien quality to it. It moves across your mind in a slow but sure manner, all the time in the world to achieve its purpose. I can sense a slight apprehension in the occasionally caustic keyboards and the hesitant voice you hear in the background has a spooky, mystical ambience to it, it is disturbing but in a very enjoyable way.

The sounds of waves and seabirds opens Oceanside Exterior, a rhythmic and meditative piece of music that flows through space and time and engenders images in your mind of powerful oceans braking on immovable rocks, time and space standing still against the majesty of nature. This is music as an elemental force but one that has no need to be brash and in your face. The incredibly laid back guitar playing is utterly addictive and is best experienced through a pair of high-end headphones with a great quality glass of wine in your hand. 70’s synths come back strongly on Au Revoir Au Reve, a strong sentimental note can be felt all over this wistful track. Dreamy and fanciful with a Gallic undertone, you could be walking the streets of 1950’s Paris, a suavely dressed detective in the seedy underbelly of this great city. The plaintive guitar is full of angst, perhaps railing against an unsolved crime, who knows but you feel the pain. A masterful piece of music that, once again, has your furtive mind working overtime.

Pink Floyd guitar notes are very evident at the opening of Flashback, a more hard-edged track that has an incredible depth to it, like it has survived eons in the primordial soup of creation. It seems to be treading water, awaiting what, we don’t know. There is a timeless grandeur and stature to every note, especially when the powerfully cultured guitar breaks out. The synths are the stage on which Gayle’s fiery, blues infused guitar takes centre stage. Lower has a post-rock gravity to it, the elegant keyboards glide around you as the mournful guitar tells its seemingly grief stricken tale. A soulfully forlorn piece of music that propagates a sombreness deep in your heart and soul and moves you inside. Another excellently titled track closes out the album, The Denouement Device is music that stimulates a sonic journey for your body and soul, music that will have differing effects on different people. Intense and thought provoking, a wide-ranging and all-encompassing sound that fills your entire being with a feeling of wonderment and lets you see things with a childlike innocence. Genuine, contemplative and thoughtful yet it treats you with kid gloves as it strips you of any pre-conceived ideas and back to your bare soul.

‘Sonic Celluloid’ is yet another triumph for this ever inventive band. An intricate instrumental tour-de-force that takes the listener on a cinematic journey through ever-evolving soundscapes engendered in their own mind. Djam Karet are the masters of cerebral, intelligent music for the erudite listener and have delivered a superlative musical odyssey once again.

Released 27th January 2017

Buy ‘Sonic Celluloid’ direct from the band’s store

Buy ‘Sonic Celluloid’ from bandcamp