Dewa Budjana - Zentuary,
For his tenth solo album Dewa signed with Steve Vai’s label, and brought together a stellar group of musicians to realise his vision. Although this album was only a year after ‘Hasta Karma’ he has again completely switched things around, and none of those who were involved in the last album are on this one. His core band this time was Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel Stick Men), Gary Husband (John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce and others) and the incomparable Jack DeJonette (Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis). If that wasn’t enough he then added some further guests in Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Steve Wilson, GPS), Tim Garland (Chick Corea, Bill Bruford), Danny Markovich (Marbin) as well as some cameos from the Czech Symphony Orchestra as well as Indonesian musicians Saat Syah, Ubiet and Risa Saraswati. Given that amount of talent is it any surprise that they have combined to produce yet another stunning piece of work?
Dewa has a wonderfully fluid style that always reminds me of John McLaughlin, and although there are huge amounts of fusion within this album, it is also quite experimental, bringing in progressive sounds that wouldn’t be out of place with keyboard pioneers like Vangelis as well as local sounds and styles from Indonesia: it is fusion and progressive music in its truest sense. Some numbers, such as “Lake Tangengon” wear me out just by listening to them – there is an amazing amount of work and styles being displayed in the melody lines, and then at the back of them all Jack is killing the kit. How he keeps it up throughout the whole song is beyond me. Just twelve songs on this double CD set, but the 100 minutes’ pass by quickly, and one must jerk oneself back into the real world at the end.
This is music that covers a great deal of musical areas, with multiple layers and threads, but it all combines into an incredible majestic whole. Yet again he has produced an album that is totally indispensable, essential, complex and challenging yet easy to listen to, and a sheer delight from the first note to the very last.