Stomu Yamash'ta - Freedom is Frightening. 1973 Japan-England

Stomu Yamash'ta - Freedom is Frightening. 1973 Island (UK)

CD reissues: 2008 Esoteric (UK); 2009 Universal (Japan mini-LP)

Packaging details: While original LPs have always been relatively easy to find, this album surprisingly was absent from the CD market until Esoteric's reissue a few years back. And fortunate for all of us that the first reissue is a high quality one from a respected label. Plenty of liner notes to provide some context around the album. No bonus tracks in this case though. A year later, a mini-LP came out in Japan, though I see no reason personally to upgrade given the simplicity of the original cover. There is no LP reissue, though original copies are in abundance, thus reducing the need for one.

Notes: Stomu Yamash'ta is one of a handful of Japanese musicians who would hit the shores of England (post Yoko Ono), and in quick order, become one of those East meets West guys. "Freedom is Frightening" is Yamash'ta's West meets......... West album. Starting with a cosmic organ piece replete with fuzz bass, we might as well be tokin' up with the Berlin Krautrock masters or 1969 Pink Floyd at the very least. But it doesn't take long for Yamash'ta to move his new ensemble over to the flavor of the day - 1973 style: Fusion. And so it goes, we get Brian Auger's Oblivion Express meets Soft Machine playing the sound of Mahavishnu Orchestra. And really, what else can one ask for? I'm certainly buying! Boyle and Hopper would soon after form Isotope to exploit these musical concepts further. But Isotope missed out on the rawness that Yamash'ta provides on "Freedom is Frightening". And while you may wish for an Osamu Kitajima "Benzaiten" type album here, just pretend that Stomu Yamash'ta is a pseudonym for Billy Smith, and you'll get through the mental aspect.

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