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Stomu Yamash'ta - Go CD (album) cover

GO

Stomu Yamash'ta

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.18 | 24 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars When this album came out in 1976 progressive rock was in a slump and fans of the genre were looking for something new. Expectations were high for this album which featured an all-star cast and a blending of two styles that were becoming more popular in the mid-70s; electronic space-rock and funk influenced jazz-fusion. It was interesting to hear this album again after all these years, but unfortunately my impression of this album has remained the same. This is a good album, but it seems to lack depth or true passion. A lot of the progressive rock that came out in the mid-70s was influenced by an attempt to cash in on the success of Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon. Although GO certainly shows some influence from Floyd's famous album, I don't think Stomu's motivations are that cynical, yet I still wonder if possible financial success was a bit of a motivator in his choice of musicians and musical styles on this album.

The first four tracks on side one blend together to present two very Pink Floyd sounding ballads that are surrounded by ambient electronic sections. The song Crossing the Line even has a gospel styled female vocalist in its buildup that sounds like a dead ringer for the vocalist in Floyd's Great Gig in the Sky. Both of these Floyd influenced opening songs on GO have great production and feature the overly- reverbed voice of Steve Winwood, but I find their chord progressions to be trite and overwrought. In all fairness though, I think there are probably a lot of people who might find these songs to be very beautiful and moving.

These two opening ballads are followed by Man of Leo, which is a hyper-funk fusion RnB song topped by Winwood's soulful voice, that fortunately has been freed from the reverb swamp of the earlier numbers. Leo shows off the rhythmic skills of drummer Michael Shrieve and bassist Rosko Gee, and features a great guitar solo by Al Dimeola. Side one closes with more space sounds.

Side two opens with Klaus Schulze and Stomu trying to recreate Tangerine Dream's classic sound, but the two keyboardists never really come together. Finally we come to a track that shows some true originality; Carnival. This instrumental opens with a pounding double-timed high speed tympani drone that is topped by "scary" orchestral fanfares and all manner of synthesizer and guitar noises. It sounds like the avant-garde section from an Italian movie soundtrack.

Carnival is immediately followed by Ghost Machine, which is a great high speed RnB/rock song that has Winwood singing like he means it this time. Al Dimeola adds some great fusion riffs and solos to this song. The next song, Time is Here is a nice progressive funk/RnB song that features more vocals by Winwood and interesting string arrangements by Paul Buckmaster. All throughout this album Buckmaster shines as a truly original and innovative arranger. The album closes with a mellow rock song, Winner/Loser which is one of the few songs on this album that has a really strong and original melody. Winwood really digs into the melody and makes the song his own.

This is a pretty good album, just not as good as I want it to be, especially when you consider the all- star cast that is present here.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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