Ukab Maerd – The Waiting Room

Ukab Maerd is a side project of Djam Karet members Chuck Oken Jr. and Gayle Ellet. Ukab Maerd is “Baku Dream” spelled backwards, a reference to Djam Karet‘s 2003 release A Night for Baku. For their first album The Waiting Room, they are joined by French electronics luminary Richard Pinhas (of Heldon) who contributes Frippian guitar loops that act as a backdrop against Oken‘s drums and Ellet‘s electronic keyboards and guitar of his own.

The Waiting Room turns out to be pretty easy to describe … it sounds most like earlier, more experimental (as in “less new-agey”) Tangerine Dream, with a fair amount of Fripp and Eno thrown in for good measure. The second part is due to Pinhas‘ guitar loops, but in most places they’re so subtle they’re hard to separate from the synthesized sound washes. Some call this style ambient, but to me one of the requirements of ambient is that it can go into the background and be successfully ignored. I do not find The Waiting Room to be ignorable … there’s so much interesting stuff happening that I really want to pay attention to it. Probably not actual fare for a waiting room (I’m not sure I would have the same sentiments about Eno‘s Music for Airports, which actually might sound pretty good in an airport). This ain’t rock by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly progressive and very interesting for those of us who know how to listen to this style. The recording is also much better than those old ’70’s recordings in its clean, high-presence recording quality and lack of (unintentional) noise.

The bottom line is that if you’re a fan of Tangerine Dream or Fripp and Eno, or more specifically, Richard Pinhas, Heldon or the more “ambient” offerings from Djam Karet, then this will be right up your alley. I think this is a great album, and will happily recommend it to any fan of the style. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Ukab Maerd‘s page on the Djam Karet web site (click on “Present” door)
Click here for Ukab Maerd‘s MySpace page
Click here to order The Waiting Room from CD Baby


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