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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dewa Budjana


Review by Gary Hill

This album has some vocals, but they are world type things, more as instruments. The double disc set occupies a space between world music and fusion. At times it leans more toward one end or the other. We generally put fusion under prog, so this one lands there, too.  The musicians on the disc include Gary Husband and Tony Levin.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 1 at
Track by Track Review
Disk 1

Dancing Tears

World music drives this is some cool directions. There are vocals that fit into that category. While that segment makes up the opening, this works out into some powerful fusion from there. While the vocals bring both weirdness and world sounds, the music is purely intense. Acoustic guitar drives a weird drop back section later in the piece.

Solas PM
Much more of a mainstream fusion cut, I love the driving percussion at the heart of a lot of this piece. There is some tasty piano at times, too.
Lake Takengon
This is a powerhouse cut. It's got some non-lyrical vocals. It makes me think of a cross between Focus and Frank Zappa a lot of the time. There is world music built into it, too, though. There is some particularly intense and powerful stuff here.
Melodic and quite intriguing, this has a great balance of prog and fusion.It gets pretty intense at times.
Dear Yulman
In some ways this feels like soundtrack music to me. That said, it's very powerful and intense. The percussion is often driving. There is some exceptional soloing over the top, too. The piano gets into some weird, but intriguing territory later.
Rerengat Langit (Crack in the Sky)
This is brought in with some serious world music. It feels tribal in a lot of ways as it works forward. The vocals on this are sort of whispered or spoken and bring more world music to it. The cut does get some fusion infused into the mix as it continues. We get some great rocking melodic music as it continues to move forward.
Disk 2


The world music of the first disc is gone. Instead we get more of a prog rock based fusion. I can make out some Zappa on this tune, along with plenty of other fusion trademarks. It's a powerhouse jam.

Manhattan Temple
Still set in the same general territory, there is definitely more of a melodic fusion vibe to this cut. It works through shifts and changes and really manages to evolve nicely. I love the horn soloing, for certain. I particularly enjoy some of the keyboard soloing here, too.
Coming in mellower and dramatic, some hints of the world music return on this number. This has a lot more of a mellow fusion sound informed by that world element as it pushes forward. There are some more electrified fusion things later in the piece, though. Some of this gets extremely intense. It goes to more full on world music based fusion again at the end.
Ujung Galuh
There is some killer jazz at the start of this. It really feels like you just dropped into a piece that was already under way. This is a rather melodic and straightline kind of track in a lot of ways. There is still some world music here, though. It does get into more powerful jazz jamming later.
Uncle Jack
Piano starts this piece. Other instruments join and the cut turns very strange. The piano becomes chaotic and rather dissonant. Then, after the minute and a half mark, it shifts to more melodic fusion territory as it continues. This is very definitely jazz. It's also very definitely free form and a bit chaotic jazz. I suppose you could say that it has quite a bit in common with the Rock In Opposition movement. It lends itself to being more melodic at times than that might suggest, though. The melodic resolution movement later is great stuff, too.
Acoustic guitar creates a dense tapestry. The piece builds in a mysterious kind of way over the top of that. It gets a bit noisier before it ends.


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