(2019 - MoonJune Records - USA)
If you already know how great Dewa Budjana's music is, just imagine adding Jordan Rudess (keyboards), Marco Minnemann (drums), Mohini Dey (bass, konnakol), every step of the way with the master himself, Dewa Budjana (guitars, soundscapes), along with guests John Frusciante (vocals on 'Crowded' and 'Zone', and guitar fill on 'Crowded' coda), Mike Stern (1st guitar solo on 'ILW'), and Soimah Pancawati (lead vocal on 'Hyang Giri'). If you buy the vinyl edition, you get a bonus track called 'Mahandini Acoustic', with additional musicians Dimawan Krisnowo (cello) and Adrian Muhammad (vibraphone). Seven songs (CD or download version) to break even the high water mark that Dewa has already established. A big gasp of breath. This is spectacular!
The expecting listener is contained and focused on the opening cut 'Crowded' with John Frusciante's grounded vocals. The surrounding musicianship is instantly recognized as top shelf. While songs of 'Mahandini' reach out as a more accessible project, to both world and fusion lovers, the calibre is peerless. A beautiful mixture of Holdsworthian explosion, big doses of Indonesian (where Dewa was born) knock out injections, and compositions to marvel at throughout. A sure Top Choice of 2019 for this writer, the priceless moments of this rare jewel are enough to bring about a speechlessness.
Soimah Pancawati gives a flight of an angel vocal performance on 'Hyang Giri' (track 3). Dewa is generous to introduce new vocalists to the world. You soon realize the majestic and tremendous level of artistic skill these musicians are spreading over you. Mohini Dey pulls off some bass riffs in the realm of Jeff Berlin or Jimmy Johnson (fantastic bassist on Allan Holdsworth's 'Metal Fatigue' and more) and the likes. Most progressive rock devotees already know both Marco Minnemann and Jordan Rudess and their elite status. On the title cut 'Mahandini' (track 6) Minnemann displays one of his most earth shaking drum parts in all his career. Rudess is immaculate on every song, and Budjana performs his commanding soaring guitar work to perfection.
The combination of talent here is no holds barred, and all out onslaught in every great way possible. Solo number 11 is a winner. As with each offering by Budjana, the selections vary from high density world fusion to dreamy intoxication and gifts that don't leave your memory for months, or at all. Compositions arranged by illustrious musicians who build castles in the sky, and leave them for audiences to imbibe, like one of a kind nectar produced by rare flowers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 27 - 2019