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Dewa Budjana - Mahandini CD (album) cover


Dewa Budjana


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.30 | 136 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Where to start with this one. I discovered Dewa Budjana a couple of months ago through this highly rated album from 2018 called "Mahandini" and soon found myself wondering why I hadn't heard of this virtuoso guitarist before. He will be 60 next year so he's been around the music scene since the 80's gaining the attention of other World class guitarists and musicians in the process. I went back through some of his other recordings and I mean we get names like Gary Husband, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Levin and on and on guesting on his stuff. Obviously a well respected guitarist and he's from Indonesia. On this one we get the main 4 piece band of Budjana, Marco Minnemann, Jordan Rudess and Mohini Dey with guests John Frusciante, Mike Stern and Soimah Pancawati helping out. The album is dedicated to John McLaughlin who he calls his "guruji" and I smiled seeing him state "We are all in the hands of gods and goddesses". Wow Asia still believes in worshipping wood and stone still but the funny thing is that Dewa has released a Christmas album(haha). He thanks many guitarists like Allan Holdsworth, Jimmy Haslip, Steve Vai, Jason Becker and more. By the way Dewa named his two sons Mahavishnu and Shakti.

The packaging will go down as one of my favourites. The pictures of the beautiful bass player Mohini Dey(wow) and of course the other band members including John Frusciante who sings on the opener and closer and wrote the words and composed the songs. How talented is this man! The cover has an Indian theme with basically what is supposed to be the throne cart of one of their many gods carrying here Dewa's gold guitar. Pretty humerous and beautiful with the colours being a theme throughout the packaging. I had a lot of fun showing the many Indian girls I work with this cd cover. First listen revealed a guitarist who is taking a back seat to his band for the most part and I think his talent as a composer, arranger, producer can't be overlooked because he has blown me away on many levels with this album. This was actually recorded in LA except for Soimah's vocals which were recorded in Indonesia. She wrote the lyrics for the song she sings on.

One of the best songs I've heard in a while is the opener "Crowded" with Frusciante's character filled vocals and that melancholic sound. When John gets passionate vocally in that one section it's so good. It's hard to put this one into words because it just hits me emotionally everytime. Very meaningful. John composed and sings on the closer "Zone" as well and it's more jazzy sounding, lighter with piano but we do get some depth. A good way to end the record. A couple of other major highlights includes "Hyang Girl" with that Indonesian female singer blowing my mind. Such a high pitched voice yet not shrill. This third track is the first where we get some of the band members featured with their solos including a bass solo at 4 minutes. I like when we get the multi vocals before 2 1/2 minutes then Soimah comes vocally in over top. So cool. She has an otherworldly voice I'll say that.

The song "Queen Kanya" has this section called "kannakol" which is like an Indian rhythm language. Like scatting almost but different and arranged my Minnemann and Dey. Just one of many really interesting parts of this album. The first three songs are perfect so the rest is just gravy really. We get a guitar solo from Mike Stern on "ILW" in fact this might be the song to check out if your right into the guitar as it is featured prominently. The title track is a really good one and at over 8 minutes the longest. Marco is punchy and upfront here on the drums while Rudess really adds to this album with the atmosphere created by synths plus piano and more. "Jung Oman" is a pleasant and beautiful piece.

Nothing less than 5 stars will do. Just following along with the other two written 5 star reviews here. This has gone into my top Jazz and related section, it's that good.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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