Stomu Yamash’ta - Go [Esoteric/Cherry Red - 2008]Stomu Yamash’ta is a hugely talented Japanese percussionist, keyboardist and composer. He came to fame in the mid 70’s for his seemingly effortless mixing of musical genres, with world music elements. Go was his super group that brought together the impressive talents of: Steve Winwood(Traffic, Blind Faith & solo work), Klaus Schulze(Tangerine Dream & Ash Ra Tempel), highly respected fusion guitarist Al Di Meola, and American drummer/ percussionist Michael Shrieve.
This self titled debut appeared in 1976, at the height of Stomu Yamashta fame. And it’s a truly a breathtaking example of effortless musical genre blending, epic composition, and a highly varied yet very accessible soundcraft. This 2008 reissue brings this wonderful album back into print, and adds in a colour inlay booklet with full lyrics & new liner notes.
The theme/ concept behind the album is change, death & rebirth, and things changing to their opposite- which is very apt for the shifting & varied sonic landscape of this forty minute album. The albums 14 tracks move from ambient textural rises. To elegant & moody mix of oriental melody tinged flute & piano work-outs, which rises to spacey orchestral highs. Expansive yet brooding R & B layered prog with the soulful vocals of Steve Winwood, over to female gospel layered funk struts, through to spacey electronica weaves & interstellar darts. Onto descending & disorientating mixers of jazz brood & banks of classical swoon, which are lined with malevolent & complex ritual meets rock percussion. Onto soulful singer songwriter pop-rock sprinkled with mixed genre elements. The tracks timings run between just over the one minute mark to just under the seven minute mark, but mostly the tracks hit around the three to four minute mark- so the album never really stays in one sonic place for long, yet you feel like your going on a sonic journey with each piece of the album working to create an epic yet approachable suite of songs.
The 15 page booklet takes in a four page write-up about Stomu Yamashta career in genreal, and the Go album. Also there’s lyrics & instrumental credits. Then we have another four page article about Go, it’s concept & themes.
All told “Go” is a truly breathtaking display of musical multi genre mixing – that’s all executed with wonderful sonic prowess, masterful composition skills, and an approachable flair. Really if you have any interested in 70’s prog, fussion music, or just adventurous yet accessible composition this is a must have item.Roger Batty