Dewa Budjana: extremely talented Balinese guitarist releases Surya Namaskar

The seventh solo album from Indonesian progressive guitar legend Dewa Budjana (his third for MoonJune Records) sees the maestro cast aside the dense, meticulously-arranged approach that defined his previous MJR releases (last year's critically-acclaimed efforts: Dawai In Paradise, and Joged Kahyangan), in favor of a more streamlined set that burns with a rare intensity and squarely places Dewa's formidable chops front and center. Supported by progressive fretless bass legend Jimmy Johnson and the undeniably world-class rhythms of renowned drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Budjana's fretwork is as delightfully unpredictable as it is soulful and compelling.

Full of twists and turns you could never see coming, Surya Namaskar provides ample evidence that Dewa is just as much at home in moments of pure spontanity, ripping over a killer groove, as he is in denser, more orchestrated settings. Exploring previously-unrevealed facets of his artistic mystique, this album highlights a more instinctive, uninhibited approach to both his guitar playing and music making. Served up just-out-of-the-oven fresh and delivered with conviction and urgency, each song is its own unique, engulfing cosmic voyage.

While this is unquestionably more of a "guitarist's album" than his previous MJR output, Dewa proves that he is more than up to the task of dawning the six-string superhero cape -- making a strong case to not only be included among the world's most elite axemen, but also among its most diverse and accomplished. There is an expansive palette of styles on display here in a set that's brimming with playful abandon, but never at the expense of either emotion or cohesion. This is polished progressive music, at its most brilliantly creative, far-reaching and convincing.

Featuring inspired guest performances from Allan Holdsworth' and John McLaughlin's veteran sideman, Gary Husband (on synth), and L.A. studio guitar icon, Michael Landau, Surya Namaskar is the most personal statement yet from one of the world's most complete guitarists and unique composers -- a brilliant, vital release.
Dewa Budjana: Surya Namaskar
1. Fifty (7:28)
2. Duaji & Guruji (6:55)
3. Capistrano Road (5:32)
4. Lamboya (6:16)
5. Kalingga (9:07)

6. Campuhan Hill (5:30)
7. Surya Namaskar (7:45)
8. Dalem Waturenggong (7:20)


DEWA BUDJANA: electric and acoustic guitars
JIMMY JOHNSON: bass guitar
GARY HUSBAND: synthesizers (Track 1)
MICHAEL LANDAU: electric guitar solos (Track 7)
Dang Hyang Story (from "Joged Kahyangan" album, MoonJune Records)

Dang Hyang Story (from "Joged Kahyangan" album, MoonJune Records)