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DEWA BUDJANA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Indonesia


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Dewa Budjana biography
Dewa BUDJANA is a guitarist and composer from Waikabubak. Influenced by both popular music as the leader and songwriter of the band GIGI and jazz rock from his earlier background, BUDJANA started his solo career in the late 90's after almost 20 years of his musical career.

His earlier band like SQUIRREL was already more inventive in the 80's by relying on BUDJANA's original compositional skills rather than working on covers like most of the other local jazz bands. One of the award winning works in that time was a composition called 'Nusa Damai' which would later become the name of his first solo album. Throughout the 80's he would also work as a session player and with other bands until 1993 when he founded GIGI which has a major success to this day.

Besides being a producer as well, BUDJANA has been working on his solo career that mixes fusion the likes of other known guitarists like John MCLAUGHLIN and Bill FRISSELL with traditional music of Indonesia, making his approach to world fusion experimental but also approachable at the same time.

Dewa Budjana official website

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DEWA BUDJANA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEWA BUDJANA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 4 ratings
Home
2005
3.56 | 16 ratings
Dawai In Paradise
2011
4.10 | 23 ratings
Joged Kahyangan
2013
3.92 | 74 ratings
Surya Namaskar
2014
4.10 | 44 ratings
Hasta Karma
2015
4.04 | 62 ratings
Zentuary
2016

DEWA BUDJANA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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DEWA BUDJANA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEWA BUDJANA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

DEWA BUDJANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Zentuary by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.04 | 62 ratings

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Zentuary
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Despite all the globalisation, it may take a very long time for an extremely gifted musician to break into the knowledge of Western music consumers, if (s)he comes from a faraway country such as Indonesia. I hadn't ever heard of composer and guitarist Dewa Budjana when I received his latest album. He has made a musical career (between rock and jazz) for over three decades, and that's easy to believe when listening to Zentuary. Besides, one has to be somebody special to recruit well-known top musicians (drummer Jack De Johnette, our beloved bassist Tony Levin, keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband, etc). On top of that, Zentuary is a double album of 101 minutes in total. But there certainly are no compromises when the quality is concerned.

The naturally flowing music functions both as an object of dedicated listening and as a background music for e.g. reading. On the twelve tracks there's plenty of dynamics, nuances and, most of all, seamless team work in which the doubtless virtuosity never gets the bad taste of self-indulgence. As a guitarist Budjana has been compared to Bill Frisell and John McLaughlin, but in the end that's not an essential information, because the music gives pretty equally room for the other musicians. Numerous guest appearances add for example saxophones and instrumental or vocal contributions that increase the Far East exotism.

Both of the preceding reviews here have given full five stars. I'm extremely close to follow them ( -- what? there are even one star ratings, what the f*** were they thinking?), but here's my tiny word of criticism. Even though there are differences between the tracks, concerning both compostions and arrangements, in my personal listening experience I started to miss some more variety. A few side-steps into more ripped-down, individually oriented playing would have made the massive whole perfect.

I bet it takes several listening times to pick one's favourites. Most tracks are fairly long and it's not easy to remember where exactly was that brilliant bass solo or whatever highlight moment. On 'Crack in the Sky' at the end of Disc One, Risa Saraswati sings her Sundanese translation of Tony Levin's lyrics, and the compact, brief title track finishes the whole album in a spirited manner with the presence of Czech Symphony Orchestra. A strong recommendation for Jazz/Fusion listeners.

 Zentuary by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.04 | 62 ratings

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Zentuary
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars For his tenth solo album Dewa signed with Steve Vai's label, and brought together a stellar group of musicians to realise his vision. Although this album was only a year after 'Hasta Karma' he has again completely switched things around, and none of those who were involved in the last album are involved with this one. His core band this time was Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel Stick Men), Gary Husband (John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce and others) and the incomparable Jack DeJonette (Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis). If that wasn't enough he then added some further guests in Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Steve Wilson, GPS), Tim Garland (Chick Corea, Bill Bruford), Danny Markovich (Marbin) as well as some cameos from the Czech Symphony Orchestra as well as Indonesian musicians Saat Syah, Ubiet and Risa Saraswati. Given that amount of talent is it any surprise that they have combined to produce yet another stunning piece of work?

Dewa has a wonderfully fluid style that always reminds me of John McLaughlin, and although there are huge amounts of fusion within this album, it is also quite experimental, bringing in progressive sounds that wouldn't be out of place with keyboard pioneers like Vangelis as well as also bringing in local sounds and styles from Indonesia: it is fusion and progressive music in its truest sense. Some numbers, such as "Lake Tangengon" wear me out just by listening to them ? there is an amazing amount of work and styles being displayed in the melody lines, and then at the back of them all Jack is killing the kit. How he keeps it up throughout the whole song is beyond me. Just twelve songs on this double CD set, but the 100 minutes' pass by so quickly, and one must jerk oneself back into the real world at the end of it.

This is music that covers a great deal of musical areas, with multiple layers and threads, but it all combines into an incredible majestic whole. Yet again he has produced an album that is totally indispensable, essential, complex and challenging yet easy to listen to, and a sheer delight from the first note to the very last.

 Hasta Karma by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.10 | 44 ratings

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Hasta Karma
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars One of the real joys of following the Moonjune career of Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana, is that one is never sure quite what to expect with each release, as he often changes the musicians he is playing with which has a direct impact on each album. This time he has brought in NYC vibraphonist, Joe Locke, and Pat Metheny Unity Group's bassist, Ben Williams, with drummer, Antonio Sanchez, and Indonesian keyboardist, Indra Lesmana. There are so many wonders and delights contained within this 2014 album that it is hard to know where to begin. In many ways Dewa has taken something of a back seat with this release, and it has a much stronger band feel than the others, as he shares the melody lead with Joe. I used to regularly see Poli Palmer (ex Family) play with Steve Waller (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) and his touch on vibraphones was great, but he never sounded anything like this! Gentle touches, or blistering speed, Joe can do it all and consequently is incredibly relaxed as there is nothing left for him to prove. This has allowed Dewa also to relax and just go with the flow, not always having to be the centre of attention. With Ben and Antonio playing their part to perfection, the result is a fusion album that is mind-blowing in just so many ways.

From the cover artwork of the digipak, through the sleeve notes of John Kelman, and then into the fifty-two minutes of the album itself, this is the complete package. If I had to pick one track to showcase the beauty of this majestic album, then it would have to be "Desember" where Dewa provides some stunningly quick runs, and then leaves the song for bars at a time to allow the rest of the guys to build new rhythms and melodies, returning when the moment is right. When it comes to modern instrumental jazz fusion then it simply doesn't get any better than this. Faultless.

 Zentuary by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.04 | 62 ratings

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Zentuary
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Oh my gosh, what an incredible album!

A couple of years ago thanks to Mr. Moonjune I was introduced to Dewa Budjana's magnificent guitar realm, expanding my musical knowledge and boundaries with a top-notch player who re-defines the concept of world-guitar, since he creates a wonderful blend of traditional music (Indonesian) with jazz fusion that believe me, deserves to be recognized worlwide as one of the best and most innovative musicians of the underground scene.

I've been listening to his music in a regular basis since I first listened to his albums which by the way are always complemented by amazing renowned musicians such as Antonio Sánchez, Ben Williams, or Vinnie Colaiuta to name a few, and this time, in a new and incredible album entitled Zentuary, he gathered monsters such as Tony Levin, Gary Husband and Jack Dejohnette, true legends that put their best to give us a sublime release, a two-cd album that has to be one of the best records of 2016.

Zentuary is an exquisite work of art, it is amazing how these musicians elaborate songs that seem to represent a joyful journey through what they love, the spirit of the music revelates the soul of the musicians themselves, so that joy is spread and our ears and souls receive it with positive vibes, so it is a virtuous circle in which we (the listeners) are luckily involved. Personally I prefer short (40-55- minute albums) that long ones, but man, this one is tremendous so one can enjoy every single track without saying a negative word, because what they create here is a trip in which any human being would like to be invited.

There are 12 songs, eleven of them are from 8 to 11 minutes and believe me, the minutes fly! And only the last song is a short 3-minute closer. The traditional reminiscences appear since the first track "Dancing Tears", a wonderful opener with pretty good voices, percussion and background; I think this particular track is a great example of Budjana's exceptional skills as composer. "Solas Pm" brings a delicious jazz passage in which saxophones get involved with a major role, bringing new nuances to an already interesting piece of music. The word "fusion" is wonderfully represented in "Lake Takengon", in which Jack Dejohnette makes a great contribution (as he always does), interplaying greatly with Husband on keyboards. I love Budjana's style, alwasy accurate and with a low profile, he doesn't have to be bombastic to get noticed, he is subtle but profound.

In the fourth track "Suniakala" the tempo is a bit calmer, so one can even feel relaxed here in some moments, in spite of Guthrie Govan's guest appearance with a wondeful guitar solo that gives a rockier mood, but at the same time, it keeps the calm spirit of the song. "Dear Yulman" keeps me calm and satisfied, the revolutions don't increase here, so we can take deep breaths and let the music embrace us. Levin's bass playing is fabulous, working as a wonderful couple of the drums while Budjana's guitar give us heartfelt solos. "Rerengat Langit (Crack tin he Sky)" is one of my favorite tunes here, bringing a kind of world-music spirit with folk elements such as a wonderful flute, complemened by a sensual female voice and the disarming guitar riffs. Levin's work here is also extraordinary (as usual) but Budjana takes the whole cake here, because he and his guitar create countless feelings, touching our deepest nerves. Beautiful!

One of the beauties of this album is its vast amount of sounds, rhythms and textures, I love how different can be from one song to another, however it is the same Dewa Budjana and co. giving us moments of pure quality. I am saying this because i love the contrast between "Rerengat" with "Pancaroba" the 7th track (1st track of the 2nd CD) which has an adventurous sound that gathers jazz fusion and rock. A provocative track that will make you want to move your head and body at its rhythm, one can easily fall in love with its charm. "Manhattan Temple" is another joyful piece of jazz fusion that has some passages full of cadence and some others with an even romantic style. "Dedariku" is a feast of sounds, atmospheres and styles since we can enjoy a soft and tender jazz complemented by some folkish arrangements and cool fusion moments provided by keyboards.. Of course, there are some killer guitar riffs by the maestro Budjana that you cannot miss.

"Ujung Galuh" is a fresh and happy track, impossible not to be infected (in the positive sense of the word) by its mood. A fusion track with great keyboards, reminiscent of some 70s monsters such as Return to Forever but with a true XXI century spirit and with the magnificent addition of a saxophone which is played by Danny Markovich who plays in Marbin. "Uncle Jack" is the last long song of the album. It is a great long jam in which piano takes a good role, in fact, I would say this is THE piano song, despite the relevance of guitar and the others instruments. The album finishes with the short "Zentuary", a nice short track that works as the "ending credits" theme, nice acoustic guitar-driven track that finishes an outstanding album. A masterpiece!

Highly recommendable!

 Hasta Karma by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.10 | 44 ratings

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Hasta Karma
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian guitarist and composer Dewa BUDJANA is a veteran artist, who has been active as a musician for just about three decades at this point. Besides being active in different bands, he's also a fairly productive solo artist, and the last few years have seen him release a new solo album on a yearly basis. "Hasta Karma" is his eighth solo album, released in 2015 by the US label Moonjune Records.

"Hasta Karma" comes across as a well developed production where a lot of thought and many emotions have been invested into the material, with top-notch musicianship seeing to it that the subtle nuances that appear to be a key feature of Dewa Budjana's compositions are all explored expertly. Instrumental jazz rock with an emphasis on jazz is the style of choice, smooth and easy on the ears on a superficial level, but with added depths and streaks of darkness to be revealed for the careful listener immersing themselves in the material. A polished, well made album all in all, and one easily recommended to those with an affection for instrumental jazz rock.

 Hasta Karma by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.10 | 44 ratings

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Hasta Karma
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the most recent album from Indonesian guitar icon Dewa Budjana, who has been in this musical scene for long time, creating high quality music with a clear tendency to jazz fusion. Once again under the Moonjune Records label, he released his new child entitled "Hasta Karma" which features six compositions that make a total time of 55 minutes. Here, Budjana chose some top-notch musicians that are featured in the album, so it is a guarantee of bliss to listen to this man with the company of Joe Locke, Ben Williams and the amazing Mexican drummer Antonio Sánchez.

It starts with "Saniscara", and I have to admit, the first thing that caught my attention was the drumming, I am fan of Sanchez, and am happy to see him collaborating with amazing musicians such as Budjana. The music is clearly in the progressive-jazz-fusion vein, guitars are soft and friendly, the bass is delicious, and the addition of vibraphone simply outstanding. The composition is pretty clean, it perfectly flows so one have only to enjoy what is listening to. Another point I love, is that each musician has its moment, so all are equally important.

"Desember" brings a slower track. The first couple of minutes are full of peace, but then they make a pretty interesting change, the mood becomes darker and a bit heavier, and then, Budjana gives an excellent guitar solo while the other guys produce a very cool variety of sounds as background. To be honest, there are moments where the name of Pat Metheny's bands comes to my mind, however, Budjana here adds more power to his solo, which is great. Then, it slows down again, vibes take leadership for a while, and the song flows once again.

"Jayaprana" has that inherent fusion tune and mood, so since the very first seconds it is normal to move the head, enjoy the rhythm while listening to this juicy track. Though this song passes the 8-minute mark, it is so great and friendly that all of a sudden, without noticing, it has already finished. The next one might be the magnum opus of this album. "Ruang Dialisis", a 12-minute epic that as I've read, was dedicated to Budjana's father. This track has a melancholic sound, a slow tempo mood that brings a kind of sad but hopeful atmosphere, it is like remembering good old times, like being in introspection. After four minutes, the music makes a change, and a traditional Indonesian chant appears, it was pre-recorded by his grandma, so this song has a truly personal flavor, that I assume means a lot to the guitar master. The vibes as usual are great, adding that Asian spices. Another change comes after minute 7, a chaotic passage where all seem to become a bit crazy, to lose control, so the atmosphere is a bit tense. Once again I would like to mention the musicians, each and every one of them, make a wonderful job.

The next song is "Just Kidung", and here the first thing I perceived was the piano, which is a new feature in the album, played by Indra Lesmana. The rhythm is just more into jazz fusion ala Metheny, some moments could be linked with the first couple of tracks. I enjoy it, it is sweet. After three minutes the music slows down, they are preparing something new. And it is Ben Williams who delight us with a bass solo for over a minute, and then, we have the luck of listening to a piano solo, so this combo gives nothing but smiles and satisfaction. In this moment, the name of Hiromi came to my mind.

Last but not least is "Payogan Rain", which is a relaxing, chill out track that can be enjoyed for anyone who looks for a peaceful moment. Here the new element is a melodica, played again by Lesmana. The bass sound is sensual, and the soft drums create a pretty sweet sound. Though this is a good track, I must say that to my ears, it is the weakest track of the album, and not my favorite one to finish what would have been a perfect fusion offering.

Dewa Budjana strikes again, he is a majestic composer and player, so a new album from him has to be received with arms and ears wide open. Please give it a listen, buy it and of course, enjoy it!

 Surya Namaskar by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 74 ratings

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Surya Namaskar
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian guitarist and composer Dewa BUDJANA is a veteran musician in his home country, with a history as an active artist going back more than a quarter of a century and a two decades long tenure as the guitarist of the still ongoing rock band Gigi. In the last few years his most recent solo productions have been made available through the US label Moonjune Records. "Surya Namaskar" is the most recent among these.

Guitar dominated and guitar driven instrumental jazz rock is the name of the game for Budjana's 2014 solo album "Surya Namaskar", with a general tendency to explore light toned, elegant landscapes with playful tendencies and with occasional dips into territories with something of darker touch to them, albeit without any dramatic tendencies as such. With high quality backing from a tight, jazz and jazz rock oriented bass and drums combination, this is a production that is easy to recommend to fans of jazz rock due to overall style and expression just as much as a high quality performance, mix and production. A solid album through and through.

 Dawai In Paradise by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.56 | 16 ratings

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Dawai In Paradise
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An Indonesian guitarist from Bali, born in 1963.His style was much influenced by jazz guitarists like John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny or John Abercrombie and in 1980 he started his first band Squirell with his schoolmates in Surabaya.Squirell lasted until 1985, when Budjana went to Jakarta to start a career as a session player and became a member of Spirit and Java Jazz.In 1994 Budjana opened a new and long chapter with Gigi, while from late-90's and on he recorded several solo albums.After no less than four personal records he came to the attention of Moonjune Records, which decided to release his fifth work ''Dawai in paradise'', originally launched in 2011 on the Indonesian Demajors label.Budjana plays acoustic, electric and synth guitars and he was helped by a list of 20 mostly native guests, among them were though Dave Carpenter (bass, R.I.P), Howard Levy (harmonica) and Peter Erskine (drums).

This is a beautiful and flexible guitar-led Jazz Fusion album with strong references to Indonesian Music, I wouldn't call it an Ethno-Fusion album by any means, because the ethnic elements are basically supportive, but their display adds a nice personal touch to Budjana's jazzy style of playing.His early influences surface here with some strong chops and solos, while he occasionally dives into melodic themes to deliver a unique listening experience with sensitive touches sitting next to more technical plays.Budjana may be the central hero of the album, but this does not mean you have to always face his accomplishment as a guitarist.Maybe as a composer would be a better expression, because with a good dose of violin, strings and flutes and the omnipresent use of piano and keyboards Budjana came up with inventive Fusion arrangements, ranging from folky parts and acoustic tunes to Electric Jazz and Prog Fusion.Some parts are much inspired by 70's Jazz Fusion and the works of PAT METHENY or BRAND X, other pieces sound closer to Ethno-Fusion with the exhibition of Indonesian Music popping up here and there, offered via some lovely tunes.The album is definitely a grower, but once you get into it, it could become an eveyday listening even for non-casual Prog fans, the deep sense of melody along with the dreamy soundscapes allow Budjana's music to become pretty friendly and enjoyable.

Thanks to the guys of Moonjune be sure to taste a different side of melodic Fusion via Budjana's ''Dawai in paradise''.Indonesian Music meets 70's and modern Jazz Fusion in a respectable way full of interesting ideas.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 23 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Really nice and smoothy album by Indonesian guitar player Dewa Budjana!

I got used to have Moonjune Records albums in a Jazz Fusion line and this kind of music really don't hold any water for me as I prefer something that was built and something with melody.

For my surprise Joged Kahyangan (2013) is one of this records! Dewa instead of trying to go on full Free Jazz do what you want wrote some really pretty melodies in a more traditional Jazz style, there's even a Vocal Jazz track on the album (As You Leave My Nest) with singer Janis Siegel.

This is the kind of album that is indeed a joy to listen to and you can enjoy it even while reading, but that doesn't make it a 'background music' album as Dewa is a great guitar player and the line up on the album is amazing.

Recommended! Please Moonjune, more of this kind of releases!

 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 23 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars I heard about DEWA BUDJANA this afternoon when I received a copy of Surya Namaskar by the Indonesian guitarist with Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta, but before going with that album , decided to try Joged Kahyangan, because I wanted to listen his own style first, so I went my collection and found this album which I heard a long time ago but didn't remembered well.

The first thing I must say is that Dewa has a more traditional approach unlike other Indonesian players as who prefer to introduce typical instruments like Kendang percussion, as a fact he's well accompanied by competent musicians like Larry Goldings (keyboards), Jimmy Johnson (bass), Bob Mintzer (sax, clarinet, bass clarinet) and drummer Peter Erskine, who support Dewa with dexterity.

The music is soft and pleasant but at the same time complex and elaborate, flowing gently from start to end, but the most interesting feature is the capacity of Dewa to play complex passages in a style that reminds me of icons as John Mc'Laughlin and Pat Metheny with a touch of Tohpati (As in Majik Blue), but also the importance to allow the other musicians to perform lengthy sections in which he keeps away, avoiding over saturation and futile shredding when unnecessary.

It's hard to choose a favorite song, because the album sounds as a complete entity where every piece is like a chapter of a book that only makes sense in the context it was recorded, but idf somebody asks me, I would mention the complex Majik Blue, wghere Dewa shows us his skills with some strong sections, not as frantic as in the magnificent Erskoman where Peter Erskine surprised me with the solid drumming impressively supported by Jimmy Johnson in the bass

But I also was impressed by his capacity to play softer stuff like the incredibly beautiful As you Leave my Nest with Janis Siege in the vocals and Borra's Ballad, a soft piece where Larry Goldings adds some delicate organ touches to enhance the oneiric atmosphere, the perfect closer for a very good album.

Maybe because I was expecting something different, I won't go with the maximum rating, but anything below 4 solid stars, would seem unfair to me.

Now I can review Surya Namaskar, being more familiar with the sound of this talented guitarist and composer.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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