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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dewa Budjana

Dawai In Paradise

Review by Gary Hill

Perhaps this doesn’t fit as progressive rock. Surely, the rock end of the equation is under-represented. Still, this combination of world music and fusion fits to my ear. Most of this is essentially instrumental, although one track has lyrical vocals and many have non-lyrical ones. Whatever you call this music, though, it’s captivating and intriguing. It’s also entertaining.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lalu Lintas

Noisy space rock opens this. The cut works through a few variants in that theme before shifting to some killer fusion. As this continues there are some cool melodic journeys. At times the mix feels closer to the rock end while at other points it’s closer to jazz. There are definitely some moments that make me think of King Crimson here. There are some mellower moments later. The bass really shines at times. Then it gets quite crunchy for a time. There is some dissonance, too. There is some smoking hot guitar soloing as this continues. Melodic fusion takes it again after that point. They keep dropping the tempo to seemingly end it, but there’s a burst of powered up fusion that actually takes it to the close.

Gangga

Mellow acoustic instrumentation and world music vocals open this. The cut gets more energy and tempo, but those elements remain. Then it shifts to some more melodic and mainstream fusion from there. Some hints of that world music are heard as this continues, but overall it’s more energized fusion. There are some more mainstream vocals on this, too, but also some scat singing. It works out to some space fusion from there and gets pretty intense. The earlier modes return after a time, bringing it into more mainstream territory.

Masa Kecil

There’s a mellow melody that seems to combine world music and almost a “down home” sound as this opens. Then it starts to modulate out to something closer to fusion and those two sounds get merged into one tapestry from there. There is definitely a Celtic vibe to a lot of this. It’s an energetic jam that’s quite tasty. Some harder rocking fusion takes over after a time. There is a bit of world music later with some non-lyrical vocals. That gives way to a return to the main musical themes of the piece.

Kromatik Lagi

Some cool keyboard sounds open this. Then after a time it fires out into a frantic, rather off-kilter jam that’s quite tasty. This is classic fusion. They take it through some changes and variations. Then, around the minute a half mark, it drops way down to continue. The bass really drives this while the rest of the sound is more atmospheric. Then guitar rises up, too. We’re taken through some changes and the guitar really starts to own this piece after a while. This gets quite energized and the frantic, swirling jam from early on returns as part of the later sections.

Back Home

Keyboard sounds start this and world music is added to the mix after a time. The cut works out in a joyous kind of melody after that. This is a pretty consistent piece with variants on the main themes as the central changes. There are some non-lyrical world vocals in this one. Some nice melodic guitar soloing is heard later, too.

Malacca Bay

A rather classical sounding piano solo opens this. After a time the cut moves out into some great fusion as it continues. Later there is some scat singing. Some world music elements also emerge as subtle aspects at points. This is another that follows a pretty straight line, but works through variants on the main themes. The guitar weaves lines of fusion soloing for a time. Piano returns to solo beyond that point. They really take this into some great old school jazz as that continues. This is a melodic festival of sound. They work back out later to the earlier stylings to eventually take it to its conclusion.

Kunang Kunang

The melodic fusion that’s on display early in this piece makes me think of Pat Metheny. It works out from there into something a bit more rock like, but still quite melodic. The cut alternates between those two flavors as it continues. This is a great tune that is accessible and entertaining.

Caka 1922

This song is so pretty. Melodic guitar opens it and the number grows slowly. There is a real melancholy feeling to it. Variations on the theme emerge as this continues, but the tone and melody remain fairly constant. This cut by itself is worth the price of admission. It’s that good.

Rerad Rerod

Dramatic melodies and world music vocals are heard on the opening here. This works through that and a more melodic fusion jam. Again this piece works through quite a few changes, but remains much more constant than the first couple tracks were. There is some great jamming.

On the Way Home

Tuned percussion and what sounds like some kind of animal sounds open this. That sound holds it for a time. Then melodic music takes over from there. A definite world music sound is heard here. There’s a killer melodic rock jam further down the musical path. This is one of the more dynamic cuts, working through a number of changes. There’s a jazzy jam later that has a definite flamenco guitar vibe to it. There’s also a tasty keyboard solo later. While this one works through so many changes and variants (there are a couple Asian sounding sections) it never seems really freeform or random.

Dancing Tears

There’s almost an Al Di Meola vibe as this opens. As it continues, there are bits that call to mind classical music and others that land closer to rock, but it’s all very powerful fusion. This one shifts and changes like crazy. At times there are some non-lyrical vocals. Some of this feels quite like triumphant progressive rock, while other bits are more experimental fusion.

Devananda

Atmospheric keys and the sounds of an unhappy baby open this cut. Guitar joins and starts weaving a mellow tune. This remains a mellow tune and it seems to have pleased the baby because at the end the child is back making happy sounds.

 
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