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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dewa Budjana - Hasta Karma

There’s a lot of a spirituality coming into the surroundings of finding the inner self. And music is an excellent and important way to find calm, patience, and the language of Jazz, easily fits into those perfect elements to find peace. You need an atmosphere where it is very relaxing and have tranquility on searching for your own true identity of who you are. Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana is back again this year with the release and follow up to Surya Namaskar with Hasta Karma from the MoonJune label and he has brought a superb line-up to help him out on the album.

He brought along Vibraphonist Joe Locke, Ben Williams (Pat Methney) on Upright Bass, and Antonio Sanchez on Drums, who received a Golden Globe nomination and won the Austin Film Critics Award, and the 19th Annual Satellite Awards to name a few for Best Score with Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). And guest musician Indra Lesmana on Keybaords to help along on the three tracks and Dewa's grandmother, Jro Ktut Sidemen  on vocals.

There are six compositions on the album to go deep into and Dewa endures the spiritual minds in the pieces. And for me, it’s hard to pick a favorite track on here, not just because it’s a great album, but it’s also a touching, pure, innovative work he has brought into. Not to mention three highlights on here. The 11-minute piece, Ruang Dialisis, is a memorial composition that Dewa wrote it as a dedication to his father.

It has a soundscape/ambient introduction that he does along with a crying solo on his guitar on the whammy bar as Joe Locke’s vibraphone’s an amazing improvisation and he and Sanchez give Budjana a helping hand. As Dewa’s grandmother, Jro Ktut Sidemen does the chanting in the styles of Mamuit as it is a traditional funeral song that she sings and originally appeared on Dewa’s debut album eighteen years ago.

It gives the composition a beautiful and mourning arrangement that gives it a moving surrounding. Desember is a transformation of a melodic turned hard rock piece. It resembles a reminiscent of Deep Purple’s Machine Head-era as he challenges the styles of both Ritchie Blackmore and Frank Zappa with a screeching solo before Locke comes in with some laid-back beauty as it ends in an ascending finale in a different minor key.

But it’s Just Kidung that is a real treat. It has this ‘80s Smooth Jazz introduction with the Eastern tone in the pentatonic scale with a beat per minute of 86. It’s a slowed down groove in the B section as Lesmana gets in those synths on his keyboard to create those funky sounds. But in the midsection, it’s very ambient and laid-back as Ben Williams takes his upright bass to a style of Avishai Cohen, Jimmy Garrison, and Charles Mingus.

Improvisation is a chance to give Williams, Lesmana, and Sanchez to go into free rein as Dewa lets them go into the area of creating different ideas in their instruments. But Lesmana, he is really playing the piano like a conductor. Almost as if he is doing a classical jazz touch of Keith Tippett and Thelonious Monk before the ending is like the rain is coming down as Dewa is in full circle with them to close off the piece with a warmth sunrise.

This is my third time listening to Hasta Karma. And MoonJune Records have knocked it out again in the ballpark for a home run with this. Dewa really has done a superb job along with both Locke, Williams, Sanchez, and Lesmana showed a lot of potential and strength in their ideas to come along for the mystical wonders. Warmth, sincerity, and internal, Hasta Karma is a journey you will embrace the adventures of Dewa Budjana’s music. 

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