DEWA BUDJANA — Dawai in Paradise (review)

DEWA BUDJANA — Dawai in Paradise album cover Album · 2011 · World Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Dewa Budjana has been releasing albums in Indonesia for many years, but “Dawai in Paradise” is his first to get some international distribution, so to Westerners this may seem like his first album, but one listen will let you know that Dewa is hardly new to this. The sound of this album is vast and scenic, much like the soundtrack to a dramatic movie, and Budjana pulls out all the musical stops while drawing on an exotic smorgasbord of styles. Album opener, “Lalu Lintas” is a modern fusion rocker, but the following cut, “Gangga”, starts off like a Talvin Singh track with tabla driven drumnbass beats and south Indian vocals. This variety continues for the rest of the album with Budjana touching on post bop, Asian fusion, artsy pop, cinematic romantic melodies and lush electro-acoustic orchestrations. The uniting factor for all of this is Dewa’s gift for melody and his ability to develop those melodies, much as a classical composer does.

Its hard to find artists to compare to Budjana, not only because his music is unique, but also because his abilities as an arranger and composer put him in a higher class. One possible similar artist might be Ranjit Barot, whose Indian influenced orchestrated fusion has some things in common with Dewa’s Indonesian/ South Asian sound. Sometimes Dewa may also reflect the current post bop work of John McLaughlin, or John’s ambitious “Visions of the Emerald Beyond” as well.

Dewa Budjana is a very talented composer and I highly recommend this CD for anyone looking for something new in the world of Asian fusion. Although Budjana is quite capable of shredding on the guitar, his main passion is for melody, development and orchestration, and he is a master of all three. Budjana’s use of rhythm is also nice, with so many modern “jazz” artists turning to heavy handed and simple rhythms, its nice to hear an artists who is finding new ways to “swing”, but not just swing, as Budjana’s music often soars.
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