DEWA BUDJANA — Surya Namaskar (review)

DEWA BUDJANA — Surya Namaskar album cover Album · 2014 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
kev rowland
Budjana is certainly making the most of being involved with a label boss who allows his bands to release material as often as they like, as he is already back with his third album, recorded with Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta. This time around Dewa is showing his harder more frenetic side, with loads of distortion and the use of fuzz. This provides a real edge to the music, but as always he is aware of the need for light and shade to provide the contrast and he often takes the back seat and lets Jimmy provide some well placed fretless bass before continuing back into the melody. There are also plenty of times when he and Jimmy are actually being very restrained, but the driving force that is renowned session drummer Vinni Colaiuta can’t keep still for long and provides plenty of force and angst.

Apparently most of the songs on the album are first takes, and although they were mostly charted it appears that Vinnie often didn’t follow the charts but stayed with Dewa and Jimmy, while the longest song on the album, “Kalingga” (just over nine minutes) was improvised. The title of the album means “Salute To Sun”, which is fitting as many of the songs are homages to various of Budjana’s guitar heroes, so “Campuhan Hill” was inspired by Ralph Towner and uses open strings, while “Capistrano Road” relates to his meeting with Allan Holdsworth.

Musically this is just stunning, a fusion masterpiece, and it is all credit to Leo Pavkovic that the packaging stands up to close investigation as the fold out digipak contains an essay by John Kelman about the recording of the album which I would have loved to have copied out and used as the review as it is so well-written. Budjana is making lots of friends in the Western world with his incredible techniques and love of the genre, and I’m sure that it won’t be long until he is back with another winner, but until then, if you enjoy fusion, then you will love this.
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