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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dewa Budjana

Hasta Karma

Review by Gary Hill

In a lot of ways you know what you will get with a new Dewa Budjana album. It’s going to be a mix of fusion and progressive rock. Hasta Karma is no exception. This one, though, has some exceptionally strong stuff. When you consider how good his other releases are, that says a lot, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at
Track by Track Review

This jam has a lot of fusion and progressive rock built into it. It reminds me of Mahavishnu Orchestra quite a bit. It has some killer melodic guitar soloing. The energized groove is great, too. At times comparisons to Al Di Meola aren’t out of place, either. The drop back section is more pure jazz, though. After that segment plays through, they bring back to more fusion like territory and the guitar seriously soars. There is a bit of a drum solo at the end, too.

Coming in mellower and a bit more mysterious, this works out in some beautiful and dramatic jazz ways. Eventually it works out to much harder rocking music. The guitar really screams in soloing over the top. It works to the mellower, more dramatic stuff later, too.
There are no huge changes here, but this thing is very inspired and powerful. In fact, it has some of my favorite passages of the whole disc. It gets really on fire at times, but lands on the mellower zone at others. Parts are closer to pure rock, while others land more in the jazz end of the spectrum.
Ruang Dialisis
At nearly twelve minutes in length, this is the longest piece here. The first four minutes or so are pretty similar to a lot of the other music here in terms of general trends. Then it drops back and some Middle Eastern singing comes over the top. From there were brought into the jazzier style. It gets pretty freeform and a little strange later with the  vocals returning. It also gets pretty noisy. From there it eventually resolves back out to more melodic. Then, after a time, it drops back to mellower for more of that singing.
Just Kidung
In a lot of ways this is more pure fusion than the rest of the stuff here. It has a section with some killer bass soloing. The guitar is absolutely incendiary during another jam. This is a fairly extensive jam and quite a good one.
Payogan Rain
There is some great bass soloing on this beast, too. It also has some café styled music. As always there is some scorching guitar soloing on this piece. All in all, this isn’t a huge change, but it’s great stuff.
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