Goro Ito Ensemble, Amorozsofia -Abstract João Review
by Ferell Aubre
Goro Ito (MOOSE HILL) is a composer, arranger, guitarist, and producer active as a solo artist and a member of the bossa-nova duo Naomi & goro. Along with releasing his own albums and performing in Japan and abroad, he has written music for movies. While pursuing his own music with a profound taste of Bossa Nova, Ito has played in genre-straddling styles of music such as classic and rock, etc. Besides his own work, he has collaborated with various musicians, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono, and Yukihiro Takahashi. For singer and actress Tomoyo Harada, he has produced many songs and albums. It is now releasing Amorozsofia -Abstract João, an eleven-track project featuring a chamber ensemble, originals, and arrangements on the Universal Music label.
Amorozsofia is a classically influenced composition in three movements. “I. Ghost Thistle” is the first movement of a three-part composition by Ito and features the chamber ensemble building the mood with swelling strings and broad musical gestures. “II. Virtual Glyph” has a romantic string melody over a soft piano figure and light drums. The woodwinds build the final colors as the piece flows into the third movement, “III. Distorting Visual Line.” “III. Distorting Visual Line” is more active and has a darker hue, making a fitting ending movement.
Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave” is given an exciting arrangement with the chamber orchestra coloring the well-known melody with romantic string counterpoints and pastel woodwind colors. Ito’s writing is always focused on bringing the theme to the forefront and supporting it with rich textures. The ensemble continues to grow in sound as the arrangement unfolds, there is no improvised section, but instead, the melody is repeated with varying textures. Those textures and subtle variations in the theme and harmony give the arrangement a flow and simplicity to listen to and enjoy.
Amorozsofia -Abstract João is an enjoyable crossover project that combines classical, jazz, and Brazilian sounds to form an exciting sound painting. Ito’s writing of extended works has beautiful orchestrations, mystic refrains, and revving themes. The arrangements are adorned with an assortment of shadings and sound-shaping processes that shed new light on these classics. The musicians cast stirring imagery through Ito’s writing, and this is a project that should interest any broad music lover’s palette.