Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stomu Yamash'ta - 1976 - Go

Stomu Yamash'ta 

01. Solitude (2:57)
02. Nature (2:32)
03. Air Over (2:32)
04. Crossing the Line (4:46)
05. Man of Leo (2:02)
06. Stellar (2:53)
07. Space Theme (3:12)
08. Space Requim (3:20)
09. Space Song (2:00)
10. Carnival (2:46)
11. Ghost Machine (2:06)
12. Surfspin (2:25)
13. Time is Here (2:46)
14. Winner/Loser (4:10)

- Stomu Yamashta / keyboards, percussion
- Steve Winwood / vocals, keyboards
- Michael Shrieve / drum kit
- Klause Schulze / synthesizers
- Rosko Gee / bass guitar
- Chris West / rhythm guitar
- Pat Thrall / solo and rhythm guitar
- Julian Marvin / rhythm guitar
- Al Dimeola / solo guitar
- Hisako Yamashta / violin, vocals
- Bernie Holland / guitar
- Lennox Langton / congas
- Brother James / congas
- Thunderthighs / backing vocals
- Paul Buckmaster / orchestral arrangements

This is the album through which Stomu Yamash'ta finally gained international recognition, not least because of Winwood's presence, after Traffic's slow demise. Although there are 14 tracks (7 aside), the album is meant to be one single work, because the vinyl shows no space between the tracks. The album's artwork is derived off the East Wind/Freedom artwork, this Yamash'ta project (the wrote all but one of the "songs") was a high profile, necessitating a full orchestra but Winwood has an all-important role on keys and vocals as well as writing the finale. Among the other stars are Michael Shrieve (ex-Santana and you can hear a bit of this influence at times on this album) and not mentioned on the album cover (or picture), Al DiMeola and Klaus Schulze.
Slowly rising from naught, first with space whispers, soon transformed into a beautiful melancholic symphonic movement, Solitude is a logical introduction to the first sung passage Nature, where Winwood's voice is probably at it's best. The first side is a succession of structured songs linked with instrumental passages, be they calm or more heroic/dramatic. While the strings can approach the cheesy, some of the songs can be Santana-esque (courtesy of DiMeola & Shrieve) with a funky touch (much more prominent a feature on next year's Go Too album), the whole thing works quite well.

The flipside gets even better, with the same spacey Schulze intro, later on a slightly dissonant movement including the orchestra and again later a wild funk track Time Is Here with the orchestra playing the rhythm. Only the closing track is not fitting as well (it's written by Winwood) and it sounds more like Traffic (Factory/Eagle era)

If you're not afraid of a little extra cheese on your turntable's stylus, Go is one outstanding album that should really be heard by everyone and certainly progheads around the world.