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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dwiki Dharmawan

So Far So Close

Review by Gary Hill

Dwiki Dhamawan is joined here by Jimmy Haslip, Chad Wackerman, Dewa Budjana, Tohpati and Jerry Goodman. The music they create lands in the vicinity of prog and fusion. For me, this is great stuff with one exception. The epic length piece “Jembrana's Fantasy” falls too much into a freeform zone for my tastes. If you are a fan of Rock In Opposition, though, you will probably love it. Beyond that, I can’t complain at all about this set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Arafura

This powers out with some killer prog turned fusion. It moves back to more pure fusion from there. I love the violin on this, but the whole arrangement is great. I’m also enamored with some of the bass playing. There are some cool shifts and changes on this thing for sure. It gets powerfully dramatic at times. There is some smoking hot guitar soloing later, too. 

Bromo
A slower groove, keyboards start this and guitar joins before they really kick into it. It’s part jazz, part psychedelia and yet it has some blues and some pure prog in the mix. Although this leans on the cooler end of the spectrum, it’s powerful and magical.
So Far So Close
Fast paced, this is another great jazz meets prog groove. There are some non-lyrical female vocals on this thing. It has some great funky bass work, too. It’s energized, but still oozes cool textures and sounds.
Whale Dance
The mid-tempo jam here works through several different movements. There is some Spanish guitar in the middle of the song, but other parts are more pure prog. Yet other things get more of a fusion vibe. All in all, this is a very effective piece.
The Dark of the Light
I love this killer jam. It has some great keyboard soloing. That said, the guitar soloing is not to be dismissed either. It’s probably more purely fusion oriented, but there is a bit of a jam band groove somehow.
Jembrana's Fantasy
Almost nine and a half minutes in length, this is the epic of the set. It is definitely the weirdest thing here, too. It’s very freeform and nearly constantly changing. This is very much like the Rock in Opposition movement. It’s a bit too strange for my tastes. Your mileage may vary, though. Some strange world music singing is heard on this, too.
NYC 2050
Now, this is more my kind of thing. It’s a high energy fusion tune that is just so tasty. There is some killer guitar soloing as this works out later in the piece.
The Return of the Lamafa
There is a weird spoken/chanted kind of thing at the beginning, like some kind of ritual or something. Then they take us out into more cool fusion. There is definitely a classically tinged prog element at play at times here. There is really some pretty amazing stuff going on at various points along this musical road. The speaking returns at the end, along with a second voice.

 

 

 
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