Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stomu Yamash'ta - 1974 - One By One

Stomu Yamash'ta 
One By One

01. One By One / Hey Man / One By One Reprise (10:43)
02. Black Flame (3:30)
03. Rain Race (1:30)
04. Tangerine Beach (3:25)
05. Superstar / Loxycycle (12:23)
06. Nurburgring (2:34)
07. Seasons (1:30)
08. Accident (1:40)
09. At Tangerine Beach (2:28)

- Stomu Yamash'ta / percussion
- Hisako Yamash'ta / violin
- Hugh Hopper / bass
- Brian Gascoigne / keyboards and synthesizers
- Sammi Abu / vocals, congas and flute
- Gary Boyle / guitar
- Nigel Morris / drum kit
- Frank Tankowski / guitar (5)
- Bernie Holland / guitar (5)
- Mike Travis / drum kit (5)

Second Stomu album under the East Wind group name, with almost the same line-up, this album has a striking artwork photo of Stomu shot by future famous Mick Rock. The m album is actually the soundtrack of a movie (I've never seen it) of the movie of the same name, which appears to be about motor racing. Most of the music comes in a continuous flow, but it can't avoid the pitfall of soundtracks: like so many of those, the music serves the image and without the images, the music seems at times completely directionless, although One By One is not catastrophic in this regard.

The album starts (purposely?) on the 200 MPH title track suite (lasting almost 11 mins), which is a fast- driving jazz-rock, while the middle movement Hey Man is sung by percussionist/flutist Sami Abu, talking a sweet funk overtone, and the suite-closing Reprise sees Boyle's guitar solo soaring like an eagle over Hopper's superb bass work, which is quite different than what he had gotten used to on Soft Machine albums. The cosmic eerie opening Black Flame contrast with the solemnity of the rest of the track, a dramatic classical theme, played partly with classic instruments than with synthesizers. Rain race is is probably the best moment of the album with a superb Fender Rhodes over a string section, too bad its so short and followed by a fairly cheesy classical string closing Tangerine Beach, even if it had started well enough with a gloomy Moog trick.

The flipside attacks on a funk guitar over a square rhythm, and Yamashta's brother's violin and Abu's vocals and congas. While the 12-mins+ Superstar/Loxycycle (the only track played by other musicians than East Wind) goes through many changes, the track veers towards a jazz-funk that had by now overtaken the previous jazz-rock in most of the international JR/F scene. Nurburgring (it was at the time the longest circuit in the world measuring some 23 km long) is a quite interesting track, probably the proggiest of the album, but it's followed by a pointless Four Seasons passage (then again without the images of the movie, who says pointless) from Vivaldi. Accident is a wild musical free-for-all completely chaotic and followed by a cheesy mock chamber quartet piece to close the debate, echoing the other Tangerine track of the other side.

Yet another interesting album like Freedom, Floating Music and the Go project, OBO is certainly in Stomu's best five albums, although for a better enjoyment of this album, I think it would certainly gain seeing the movie for which the music was composed.

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