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Stomu Yamash'ta - Red Buddha CD (album) cover

RED BUDDHA

Stomu Yamash'ta

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I had always thought of Yamashta as more of a syntheist than a percussionist, but on this one it's just Stomu on percussion. I've got a couple of better percussion oriented albums - George Gruntz - Percussion Profiles (ECM not available on CD) and The New Percussion Group of Amsterdam - Go Between (with Bill Bruford). Compared to the first two Go session albums, this one's more of a novelty than essential from a prog perspective.

Interestingly enough, if you look at the CD booklet, there's pictures of the original sheet music, so it was a composed affair. He was a student of jazz drumming at Boston's Berklee School of Jazz, but this has more of a world music feel to it. It's been hard to find much more information on the internets (sic sick sick) about it.

Stomu has a decent discography, but last time I checked only the Complete Go sessions, Sea & Sky, and this one are currently in print or at least readily availabe from a U.S. perspective. RB and S&S do make nice bookends to the Go sessions. The later being an orchestral progressive electronic synthesizer dominated affair.

I've only had Red Buddha a couple of months, so maybe one day it will completely hook me. I think it suffers a little from being overshadowed by some of the new music out these days (first half 2007). If you're a percussion nut though, this might just be an excellent addition to your collection. It's been my pleasure to add to the P.A., particularly since the credits were so minimal.

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Posted Wednesday, May 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

This Japanese percussionist/keyboardist started in the early 70's, but first started working in France for avant-garde theatres, then would move on to the UK, where his real solo career would start. Red Buddha is the first document, and it is probably Stomu's least accessible, but nevertheless a stunning achievement as there is mostly just percussion instruments making the two sides of this album. Both tracks make the duration of their respective vinyl face between 15 and 16 minutes.

While the execution of the music is stunning and very impressive, the compositions are anything but easy; with the tracks often nearing "musique concrete" with all of those tuned percussion instruments. The tracks are not improvisations, the music being clearly written and it was for the Red Buddha theatre in Paris. Difficult to describe this type of music, but it's sometimes dissonant, modern classical, percussive and exclusive of those not paying close attention to it.

Interestingly there are many Yamashta albums still waiting for a Cd release, when this album has received its second release (first was on Vanguard), but it still doesn't make it any less accessible for progheads whom might have a chance at finding the album interesting for a few listen, but I doubt they'll ever get much more than the first few in, before losing interest.

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Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Oddball turns pioneer

Stomu Yamash'ta hit it big with his project GO that included well renowned musicians such as Mike Shrieve, Klaus Schulze, Steve Winwood and Al di Meola. So much so that the selftitled album from 76 is nigh on omnipresent in every household with folks over a certain age. Never fails.....even my uncle, who is famous for not giving a damn about any form of music besides the one he's dancing to at the annual family get-together - even he's got a copy....and this is a man who refers to Motown tunes as hippie music...

Well as much as I like the GO project, I am much more enthralled by this early offering of his called 'Red Buddha'. Now many of you out there probably know Yamash'ta as a synthesist, but fact of the matter is that he started out as a percussionist, a damn fine one at that!

Red Buddha is actually the name of a theatre in Paris, to which this album was recorded for. Yamash'ta had been studying the jazz traditions of the west, and they had brought him to Europe where a new explorative mindset seemed to adorn every major city's sparkling undergrowth. Paris, in particular, being one of the hot spots.

The music is all instrumental and all about the beat, the drums. There are no synths, no guitars no nothing besides a boot-full of percussion instruments, some more exotic than others. The end result amounts to something like the expression one finds in the electronic quarters with big spacious slabs of sound coming awfully close to the kind you'll find on an early Klaus Schulze record...only it's all accomplished through rhythms - snaking and twirling.

What really sets Red Buddha apart from other such proto stomp records is the way Yamash'ta seems to have fiddled around with sound treatments. Either by tuning a drum a certain way or simply by placing the mic somewhere groovy. It works though, damn how it works! Everything from soft hand drum splashes to strange modal sounding entities that flicker about like lonely candlesticks sitting on a windy field.

The first time you hear this you'll probably write it off as a late hippie project with some longhaired guy banging away on pots and pans. Please try again is all I can say. Contrary to common sense the music is fully orchestrated. The cd comes with the original sheet music. Sheet music?!?!? Oh yes. All of this rhythmic mayhem started out as a wee brainworm inside the enigmatic mind of Yamash'ta...........then again, when you return to this album you pick up new shadings - new splashes.....and woe and behold something akin to melodies. The 10th time you listen the world opens up and every fibre of your body twitches and bobs to the beat and suddenly it seems as if those elusive melodies you'd been sniffing earlier on now are way upfront, in your face and bizarrely beautiful. A vast tapestry of beats - like a thousand hearts beating in tune from obscure angles and different corners of the world.

Think of Red Buddha as one of those tricky 3D pictures you have to be cross-eyed to see: 'OH A DINOSAUR!!!'. You better believe it, and what a dinosaur! This is without a doubt my favourite Yamash'ta record. It eclipses everything that comes after. Why? Ingenuity, imagination and execution. Red Buddha should be mandatory listening to anyone interested in the early progressive scene, and here I'm talking progressive with a huge P - yet without ever becoming tedious academic music that only speaks to mathematicians and Scottish hermits. This one always manages to refuel my senses. Like a fiery phoenix or Buddha doing the jig - you decide.

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Posted Monday, November 24, 2014 | Review Permalink

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