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View Poll Results: Kef by Aram Bajakian
Excellent 2 50.00%
Good 1 25.00%
OK 1 25.00%
Disappointing 0 0%
Awful 0 0%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-27-2013, 05:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Finally got around to giving this album the attention it deserves.

Overall I like the jazzy/ fusiony elements scattered throughout. At times reminiscent of 70s era John McLaughlin (which is a good thing for me). For some reason it took me a while to warm to the album. I started listening to it many times but only got a track or two into it. Maybe the cacophony didn't suit my stress levels? Anyway I'm glad I came back to it and gave it a good listen.

Aram Bajakian seems to have quite a resume (from his web site: Aram Bajakian) exploring a variety of genres. This album has certainly piqued my interest, though there doesn't seem to be many actual recordings of his work.

All up this album gets an overdue excellent from me.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I´m glad you enjoyed this album, stp; I was hoping you would ! Like you suggested, it´s not for relaxing to, and I found that a problem a few times too, although in the end I was won over.

I admire they way they stick to just a handful of instruments, but cover a wealth of moods and textures. I don´t know McLaughlin´s music well enough to pick up on the comparison that you noticed. In fact, with the driving, anarchic guitar on the track Raki I was reminded of Interstellar Overdrive and thought that Kef might have this in common with early Floyd material; bold experimental tracks by artists who enjoy playing around, discovering what they can do while still figuring out what they want to do.

A couple of tracks I particularly noticed:-

> Sumlinian features a guitar workout of the kind usually described as "blistering", and I wonder if the title is a reference to Hubert Sumlin.
> On Wroclaw and Karasalama they dip into some upbeat, almost cheesy, gypsy music, but in keeping with the album in general, they´re just using that as a springboard to head off in some unexpected direction.
> The track 48 days seems to borrow something from And I love her by the Beatles - or am I imagining things ?

So altogether; not an album I´m playing round the clock, but one that impresses me every time I listen to it - Kef gets an "excellent" from me. And thanks for the link, btw, I´ll be checking that out.

Edit: just looked at Aram Bajakian´s modest website and it looks like "Kef" is the name of the band, and not the album, so this thread should really read, "Self-titled album by Aram Bajakian´s Kef". Also surprised to see that AB has played with a whole bunch of famous people, although as stp says, there isn´t much material under his own name.
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Last edited by Lisnaholic; 03-19-2013 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I've listened to the album again, so here are my belated thoughts.

When I was listening to Kef, I initially thought that the guitarist Marc Ribot was playing the guitar part. However, this was incorrect. The guitarist (Aram Bajakian) has an extraordinarily similar style to Ribot, and I was hoping that the album would go beyond Ribot worship. Fortunately, Ribot is one of my favourite guitarists and the Ribot worship is lauded, even if it comes with the distaste of something that sounds so fresh ending up to have a stale sound.

Luckily the album progresses and the song "Karasalama" lets Bajakian's unique style seep in without seeming like an attempt to emulate Ribot. It clearly takes a skilled musician to play some of these songs, some of which are damn catchy.

When I first gave the album a listen, it sounded as if John Zorn had a hand in this album due to the similar sound quality to Book of Angels and the Klemzerish style of it all. Considering that this album was released on Zorn's label Tzadik, isn't it odd since Ribot is the house guitarist for Tzadik records. Maybe Ribot was one of the leading influences on the album, possibly?

The bass is fun, unique and refrains from creating much cacophony. There were a few songs where I thought that the textures of the instrument didn't quite fit together that I noted when I first listened to the album, but when I listened to it again, I found that they blend together quite nicely. Hopefully Kef can be a group on a John Zorn series similar to Book of Angels, which this sounds like to me.

Overall I'd say that it's a good album, although it did take a little time to warm up to it. Now I feel as if it's something that I would make if I played with a middle eastern based bassist. 7/10
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Last edited by Frownland; 03-31-2013 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks, Frownland - it´s good to have some input from someone who knows what he´s talking about when it comes to guitarists and guitar playing.
I´m planning to check out the Book of Angels that you mention, and maybe Marc Ribot too. I remember you mentioned Marc Ribot when we talked about Frantz Casseus. Well, that was a style I wasn´t inspired to explore further, but if MR also plays like this Tom Swafford* then, yes, I´m curious.

* I assumed that Aram Bajakian was the principal guitarist, but you´ve clearly done more homework than I did. So what did AB contribute, or did he just sit around and take all the credit !?
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Oops, Swafford's the bassist. It's just Aram on my guitar.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:56 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland View Post
Oops, Swafford's the bassist. It's just Aram on my guitar.
^ OK - you realize that I have to cancel your homework points though.

My guitar ? Do you and Aram play the same instrument, Frownland ?
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:26 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisnaholic View Post
^ OK - you realize that I have to cancel your homework points though.

My guitar ? Do you and Aram play the same instrument, Frownland ?
Words such as "the" and "my" are far too similar before I've had my coffee . The many typos of Frownland aside, I'd definitely recommend Ribot as you had mentioned in your other post. His album Asmodeus has the same type of high energy guitar that comes out at points throughout the album. He's also played with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Lounge Lizards among many others, so you may have already listened to him in a group context. His style usually shines through in these side projects, but I think that most of his solo work is astounding.
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