Stomu Yamashta's Go

The Complete Go Sessions

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As the name intimates, The Complete Go Sessions (1985) is a thorough overview of the Go concept album in the truest sense of the term, fusing pop/rock with tinges of jazz and elements of classical, all linked by a central motif of space travel. Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, and Michael Shrieve lead an impressive ensemble through soundscapes unveiled in a variety of perspectives. Perhaps it is the international cast of performers that allows for such an unfettered consortium of ideas, bringing together former Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith member Steve Winwood along with Santana co-founder Michael Shrieve and mid-'70s era Santana percussionist Yamashta -- the latter of whom were key benefactors to the criminally underrated Santana long-player Borboletta (1974). Ably assisting the festivities are Return to Forever's Al di Meola (guitar), Klaus Schulze (synthesizer) -- whose contributions to Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel remain unequaled -- and Winwood's one-time Traffic accomplice Rosko Gee (bass), who also had a fruitful run with Can. Each side of the original LP contains a complete suite of interconnected and continuous music. The haunting and brooding "Crossing the Line" is reminiscent of prog rockers Alan Parsons Project or pretentious Pink Floyd [read: anything past Meddle (1971)]. Winwood's echo-laden vocals give him an almost palpably awkward quality, perfectly suited for the austere setting that is light years away from the likes of "Sea of Joy" or "Gimme Some Lovin'," yet is remarkably akin to "No Time to Live" circa Traffic's self-titled platter. Exceedingly soulful is the propellant "Ghost Machine," with di Meola's fiery fretwork at its best. The funky "Time Is Here" offers Winwood a perfect outlet for his R&B roots, while "Winner/Loser" -- boasting the project's only lyrics penned by Winwood -- concludes with what is arguably the most accessible pop excursion. If your non-musical interests include Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, and other brainiac-related activities, the two song cycles that comprise Go will definitely be right up your alley. It scored considerably well with audiences in 1976, reaching number 60 on the pop album chart. In 2004, Hip-O Select compiled both Go and the companion concert Go Live from Paris (1977) onto a limited edition (2,500 copies) two-CD package with audio remastered by Gavin Lurssen of the illustrious Mastering Lab.

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