Stomu Yamashta's Go / Stomu Yamashta

Go Too

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With the departure of Steve Winwood from the Go collective, Stomu Yamashta seized the opportunity to radically shift the group's sound and direction. A coterie of vocalists and backing singers, led by Jess Roden and Linda Lewis, were brought in, along with former Headhunter Paul Jackson and the extraordinary orchestra of Martyn Ford. Go Too, Go's resultant album and their grand finale, was a curtain-closer of magnificent proportions. A majestic set where organic soundscapes merge with soulful funk fusion, the entire album is glossed with a superb cinematic sound that earned arranger Paul Buckmaster and co-producers Dennis MacKay and Yamashtu deserved acclaim. The set is bookended by the instrumentals "Prelude" and "Ecliptic," the former a space-age extravaganza of sounds and cracking thunder, the latter echoing of the deep, mimicking whale song, but with hints of a storm rumbling above, looping back to the album's opening. The deeply romantic "Mysteries of Love" and introspective "Beauty" are also twinned numbers, wed by their cinematic sweep, Al di Meola's haunting guitar solos, and gorgeous, emotive vocals. The rest of the set is given over to funk in all its glory and possibilities, from the "Shaft"-ish soul of "Madness" to the hip-swaying funk-pop-soul delight of "Seen You Before," which effortlessly melts into jazz-funk fusion and features another stunning di Meola solo. That number's poppy edge is mirrored by the orchestral pop that fires up the simmering funk of "You and Me," while the prominent and complex rhythm of "Wheels of Fortune" sidles straight up to jazz. But even these funk fusion songs are laced with more organic elements -- the whale song that opens "You and Me," the calling sea gulls that close "Fortune," and the sweeping waves breaking over the last minute of "Madness" included. These natural and elegant touches help weave the album's highly diverse elements tightly together, giving the set cohesion and each track a sense of a grander scheme, one that joins East to West, space rock to classical music, and fusion to rock in its broadest sense. A sensational album, which continues to impress to this day.

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