Exposé Online banner

Dewa Budjana — Mahandini
(Moonjune MJR, 2018, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-01-25

Mahandini Cover art

Over the course of Budjana’s recent solo output, It seems he has been straddling the fence between powerful electric jazz fusion and progressive rock, with a healthy dose of his Indonesian traditional roots in the mix. With Mahandini that same mix of elements is still at work, although here the composition seems to be more at the forefront, pushing things slightly more in the progressive rock direction in a variety of ways. The opening and closing tracks on the album “Crowded” and “Zone” were written by guest singer John Frusciante, who adds some guitar on the latter as well. On most tracks the regular four-piece features Budjana on guitar, drummer Marco Minnemann and keyboard player Jordan Rudess, who should require no introduction to our readers, and bassist Mohini Dey, who has played on several of Steve Vai’s recent releases. The remaining five of the seven tracks here are Budjana’s compositions, and the powerful slow-building anthem “Jung Oman” that opens with Rudess’ piano flourish is one of the most stunning, purely instrumental pieces here with a haunting melody that shifts and changes over its seven minute duration. “ILW” is probably the album’s most smoking electric fusion piece, and features guest guitarist Mike Stern (another who needs no introduction) for the first solo; imagine Mahavishnu without the violin and you’ll be close to what’s going on here. One almost has to believe that the eight-minute title track that follows was influenced to some degree by Happy The Man, the opening guitar figure and shifting rhythm has that written all over it, and again there is an early Mahavishnu influence at work as well, not as hard-fusion as “ILW” but effective and tasty nonetheless, and Dey turns in a lengthy and impressive bass solo followed by Rudess on electric keys before the whole band gets back to business. The album’s second cut “Queen Kanya” also seems to have some of that same influence, but perhaps as much traditional Indonesian elements worked into the fabric as well via the melodies and a short break of Kecak style chanting that Minnemann follows splendidly, plus numerous wild and beautiful guitar solos. “Hyang Girl” is another heavily traditionally influenced piece that features Indonesian female vocalist Soimah Pancawati, one of the true gems of this set, spiced with elements of jazz and rock via piano, bass and Budjana’s lucid guitar solos and guidance of the everpresent Minnemann. Despite all the variety present Mahandini turns out to be a surprisingly cohesive set of compositions, even those written by Frusciante fit in well with the Budjana compositional ethos, and it is perhaps his strongest offering to date.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Marco Minnemann, Dewa Budjana, Jordan Rudess

More info
http://dewabudjana-moonjunerecords.bandcamp.com/album/mahandini-hd

Latest news

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gong - The Birthday Party – Just what the world needs, another live album by Gong!?! On some terms The Birthday Party can be compared to the live albums released by their conceptually inferior contemporaries, Hawkwind, for...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues