ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]




Click on the panels to download artwork

Stomu Yamashta's Go
Europe 1976 [SEIDR 026]
Live at Royal Albert Hall [?], London, England, May 29, 1976.

A relic from the prog-rock years, Stomu Yamashta’s Go was quite a superstar band of its time in 1976. It had Steve Winwood, dragged out from hibernation following the collapse of Traffic, Michael Shrieve the drummer from Santana, Al DiMeola the hot guitarist from Chick Corea’s Return To Forever and the German electronic musician Klaus Schulze [Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Temple]. How on earth they all gathered to report to work under Japanese jazz-rocker Stomu Yamashta is probably buried under a mountain of mouldy UK music weeklies.

This concert, said to be recorded on May 29, 1976 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, was probably the first public performance of Go. Nobody is certain whether this date or venue is correct. This recording appeared in the late '80s/early '90s on a bootleg label Kiss Deluxe. They claimed the year as 1976 in Europe. Hardly helpful but the sound quality is exceptional and from the stereo soundboard.

As The Guardian’s Robin Denselow wrote in April 1976, the Go album is a rock-classical hybrid with a rock opera thrown in. To complicate matters, the story actually starts on side two of the LP. This concert opens with the album’s side two - Ghost Machine, Surf Spin, Time Is Here, Winner-Loser then heads over to side one with Crossing The Line. It’s about a cosmic battle between Kurata and Fu-shen and we presume an abstract of the old good versus evil rivalry since the beginning of time. Set in the cosmos, the story gives lots of space for the musicians to exercise their imagination. Note the number of percussionist and keyboard players in the group. Yamashta himself was a student at Boston's Berklee School of Jazz where he studied jazz drumming. But it was not to be.

Like all the bands from this period, it was a struggle to find the right balance between commercial appeal and artistic endeavour. While Go wanted to be artistic, the results are mixed. Ghost Machine really is hand-me-down Traffic with Winwood a bit lost about what it’s about. He sounds a bit more himself on Winner-Loser, the only song on Go that he composed.

Otherwise, the rest of the rock-hybrid songs [Time Is Here, Crossing The Line and the unreleased Make Up Your Mind and Go] all have Al DiMeola’s jazz-rock touch also known as the Mahavishu approach to fusion. The 15-minute long Crossing The Line attempts at Pink Floyd’s majestic Dark Side with singer Karen Freedman doing her best Clare Torry imitation.

The only track here that goes to outer space is Surf Spin which has Klaus Schulz and Yamashta’s ambient techniques for a brief six minutes. Here was probably what Go should have had more of. The contest between Schulz’ spiralling synth and Yamashta’s revving sounds are much more interesting than the rest of the performances cliched rockisms.

But cliched rockisms are what’s still required for that standard record contract. Interesting music will always start at the fringes of the scene. As you will hear in this short series, prog rock could hardly break away from the sound established by Yes, Pink Floyd and ELP. The further they tried to "progress", the more they sounded the same.

All the songs on Go are composed and arranged by Stomu Yamashta with lyrics by Michael Quartermain. Steve Winwood only wrote one.


- Professor Red

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain none of the tracks have been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at mybigo@bigozine.com if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

 
Track 01 Ghost Machine 7.42m #
Track 02 Surf Spin 6.33m #
Track 03 Time Is Here 7.32m #
Track 04 Winner-Loser 5.00m #
Track 05 Crossing The Line 15.53m #
Track 06 Make Up Your Mind And Go 9.57m [unreleased]

# from the Go album

Lineup
Stomu Yamashta - percussion & synthesizer
Klaus Schulze - "space machine"
Al Di Meola - guitar
Steve Winwood - keyboards and vocals
Michael Shrieve - drums

plus
Pat Thrall [?] - guitar
Jerome Rimson [?] - bass
Brother James - congas
Karen Freedman - backing vocals

Click on the link to to order Stomu Yamashta's Go albums.
Or visit Raven Records for the albums.




For more... email mybigo@bigozine.com with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."

 









 

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